Most do not associate large grocery chains with helping local farmers, but this happens more often than you may think. I was in United on Saturday and noticed these signs posted above the produce section describing local producers farmers the grocery chain supports.
The United grocery chain is working to support local farming families; some that have been farming since the 1940s and others that have just started their efforts in this decade. What caught my attention in this is the fact that not only are these local farmers, but families that produce millions of pounds of produce annually. Thanks to modern technology we are able to produce these large quantities of food on the local level.
In news this week, Walmart is working on a similar effort to support local farming efforts by working to sell $1 Billion dollars in produce from more than 1 million local small- and medium-sized farming operations. Here is a portion of the story:
CHICAGO — Wal-Mart Stores Inc is planning to double the sales of fresh produce from local farms in its U.S. stores by the end of 2015, part of a strategy to revamp its global produce supply chain.The world’s largest retailer said it would also sell more than $1 billion each year in food from 1 million small and medium-sized farms in emerging markets by the end of 2015. That would help increase income for those farmers 10 percent to 15 percent in the same time frame, Wal-Mart said.
Using locally sourced agriculture and supporting small farms is one way to preserve local jobs and prevent dwindling farmland from being lost, according to environmentalists and other groups. It can also help reduce the use of resources such as fuel to transport food over long distances.
Wal-Mart joins a growing list of corporate and charitable organizations lending support to sustainable agriculture programs and small and local farmers.
Backers of such programs include the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and a host of corporations, including DuPont and Archer Daniels Midland.
Read the entire story from MSNBC here. Be sure to share your thoughts and show support for Walmart’s efforts to support local farming families by commenting on this story.
How do businesses support local farming efforts in your area? Could this move by national chains expand to supporting meat, poultry, dairy, and grain producers? What can American Agriculture do to improve consumer confidence in marketing plans that promote family farming, safe farming practices, and branded programs? Share your thoughts on the subject and maybe we can come up with a great plan to help expand these efforts for American Family Farmers.
Do not forget to connect with farmers from around the country and share your thoughts on the I am Agriculture Proud Facebook group.