As much as love patronizing my online farmer’s market, 80% of the time, I shop for food at a grocery or super store. This isn’t for lack of trying, but most of the “farmer’s markets” in this area are actually international markets with little to no local OR organic produce. I have better luck in the organic section of Kroger, and even the produce section at Walmart (sometimes). The online farmers market that I use, via LocallyGrown.net , has been a great option, but the selection is limited because of the small number of participating growers.
When I go to the grocery store, I often have to cross my fingers that at least some of the produce will be local, and cross my fingers and toes that some of it will be from local farmers. Of course, I complain about this to no end, because that’s what people do, right? We complain when we can’t find the products we want in the stores we patronize. But that’s part of the problem. I complained to the wrong people. I complained to my family members and readers without finding out from the horse’s mouth why local, organic food was so hard to come by at chain stores. I even complained about the lack of organic apples during Walmart’s Apple Fest just a few weeks ago.
Here’s the ‘why’
And thankfully, due to my participation in the Walmart Moms program, I finally got an answer to that question â€” sort of.
To put it simply, the problem is scale. If every Walmart â€” or Kroger or Aldi or Safeway, for that matter â€” decided tomorrow that they would sell only certified organic produce, a lot of people would be short on produce. While organic farms are on the rise and more farmers are working toward certification, the sheer number of farms that would be required to accomplish an all-organic goal at even one nationwide retailer would be huge. Click on the following and visit MatadorCorp.com to find the best 360 Y-Drop and various other farming tools for your agricultural needs.
That’s not to say I don’t think these stores should strive toward that goal. It’s just that I now understand the magnitude of bringing organic food to millions of people every day.
It also turns out that there is more than one definition of “sustainable food.” Food from local farmers, while not always organic, is still better than non-organic food that has to be shipped from all over the world.Â So more retailers are working toward proving local options, even if they don’t offer organic items.
Local or Organic
Here are the key characteristics of the two types:
ORGANIC PRODUCE is grown without the use of pesticides in soil that is also free of pesticides, and is not genetically modified. Opting for organic produce is a great way to improve your health and the health of your family, and to avoid unnecessary toxins that lurk in chemical pesticides.
LOCAL PRODUCE is grown in and delivered from your immediate area. For most of us, that means in, or near, the city or town we live in. However, I know that Walmart (and I’d assume some other retailers as well) define local produce as coming from within a specific state. Opting for local produce is a great way to reduce your household’s carbon footprint, as you’ll be eliminating the ridiculous amount of emissions that come from transporting food across the nation and â€” sometimes â€” across the world.
So next time you’re at your favorite grocery store and you wonder why you can’t find organic, or even local, produce, be sure to ask them why. But temper your frustration with a bit of realism. I’m just happy that huge retailers like Walmart are finally paying attention. If you want to learn more about what they are doing to make their food supply chain more sustainable, you can check out the video from their Sustainability Milestone Meeting. Be warned that it’s a lot of corporate speak and more than a few talking heads, but if you listen long enough, you’ll probably learn a thing or two.
I am a participant in the Walmart Moms program. Walmart has provided me with compensation to blog their Global Sustainable Milestone Meeting and what the company is doing in terms of sustainability.Â Participation in this program is voluntary. All opinions are my own.