The Wild Magazine, December 8, 2012
I never shopped at Walmart growing up, especially for food — my parents were Safeway and Target fans. Even in college, my mom warned me to stay away from their meat and produce. In New York City, I don’t even think about the superstore because the nearest location is well over two hours away. Who knew that Walmart, who has been helping customers “save money” and “live better” with its Supercenters for almost 25 years, was actually taking over the food industry.
Grist reports that one out of every four dollars spent on groceries now goes to Walmart (whaaat?). Similarly, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance put together an infographic with the reported data: Five chains account for 50 percent of U.S. grocery sales. They found that both poverty and food stamp usage rise in communities where a Walmart opens. In addition, the obesity rate increases 2.3 percent for each additional Supercenter per 100,000 residents.
How is this even possible? Unfortunately, the more Walmarts there are, the more likely food co-ops, farmer’s markets and neighborhood grocery stores will continue to disappear. To try and balance the scale, Walmart recently announced that a whole six percent of its produce will be locally grown. However, “local” to Walmart means only if it came from the state. So if you’re buying “local” peaches in a Georgian Walmart, those could still come from a corporation and not a small family-owned farm.