Walmart buys more United States agricultural products than any other retailer in the world, and we realize the important role that American farmers play in today’s society — both in terms of ensuring our high-quality food supply and supporting the local and national economies. Walmart is committed to purchasing food from local growers for distribution to stores in their areas. This commitment reflects our ever-important goal to provide consumers with quality, affordable, home-grown agricultural selections.
What Are "Food Miles"?
As the largest grocery retailer in the United States, we feel we have a responsibility and an opportunity to promote more sustainable practices in the food and agriculture industries. One of the most important steps we can take is reducing food miles by selling locally grown produce in our stores.
In the U.S., it is estimated that produce travels an average distance of 1,500 miles from farms to the homes of customers. This not only results in higher fuel costs, but can hurt rural communities where agriculture is the backbone of the economy.
To help reduce the number of miles food travels and help support rural communities, Walmart has introduced a “Food Miles Calculator,” which allows our buyers to enter information on each supplier and product, determine product pickup locations and select which of our 38 food distribution centers the product will reach. With this information, the calculator computes the total food miles, which the buyer can use when making buying decisions.
To further reduce food miles, we’re buying more produce locally, especially items like potatoes, tomatoes and peaches. We are also working with state departments of agriculture and suppliers to develop growing areas for products like corn in Mississippi and cilantro in Southern Florida which had not grown there before. Not only will these efforts save food miles, but they will provide our customers with fresher products.
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