Help Me Out, Folks…

Some very disturbing news came to my attention this morning, and I’m having trouble wrapping my head around the implications. Read it for yourself.

Go on; I’ll wait. It’s just one page.

Do you see what I mean? Can you appreciate the mixed emotions and weird thoughts coursing through my cortex right now? I thought they were the bad guys: low wages; bad working conditions; extortionary practices toward vendors; externalizing health care costs to the government; destruction of small-town America; a general dumbing-down and homogenization of American culture (such as it is); the list goes on . (Click those links, as always, at your own risk.)

It’s like seeing the schoolyard bully feeding stray kittens and reading to preschoolers.

On the other hand…if they use that awesome cosmic power for good…things would improve for a lot of people, right? After all, the company started an energy efficiency drive in 2005, added greenhouse-gas reduction goals earlier this year, and has gotten compact fluorescent light bulbs into millions of American homes . So, maybe they can benefit local farm producers while they provide consumers with more healthy food choices. Yet they use an odd definition of “locally sourced,” calling it something grown and sold in the same state. That sure gives Texas and California lots of leeway, but what about the Northeast? Will Maine blueberries be ostracized in New Hampshire? Or take the Northwest: will Yakima peaches make it to Oregon? Then again, there is evidence that they seem to understand regionalism.

These are topsy-turvy days in which we live.

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About poorlocavore

Welcome to one family's journey towards a smaller food-mile footprint on a small food budget. How do our choices affect the environment, and what influences our choices? Read on and find out what I'm learning.
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4 Responses to Help Me Out, Folks…

  1. captiv8ed says:

    Or will they find ways to water down the local and sustainable movement as they have done to the organics industry
    http://www.dvorak.org/blog/2006/09/17/wal-mart-enters-the-organic-milk-business-but-is-it-really-organic/

    http://www.organicfood-store.com/if-you-think-organic-food-is-organic-think-again-7/

    I am also thinking of, hmm, I think it was in a Michael Moore film?? Anyway, I remember an interview with a bike manufacturer that had to drop their price lower and lower to continue to work with WalMart. In the end, they were priced and went under. I wonder if the same sort of thing will happen with some small farms.

    Also, interesting article about the green movement
    http://www.grist.org/article/putting-wal-marts-green-moves-in-context

    • poorlocavore says:

      captiv8ed, that’s what I’m afraid of. What is the bully feeding the kittens? What’s he reading to the young ones? I’m reminded of Galactus, the comic book character who devours entire planets. Can we trust him? Not likely. But can we stop him, either? These questions keep me up at night.

  2. Patience says:

    I agree that Wal-mart’s new stance on local foods is good and bad. The definition of “local” is already being diluted by many large chains. I’m not a fan of Wal-mart, but they must have a few marketing geniuses on their staff. Did you see “Food, Inc”? Wal-mart comes out of that film smelling like a rose, compared to the evil agribusinesses. There’s a great scene at a small Vermont dairy farm where the Wal-mart representative actually looks sad when the farmer tells him she does not shop at Wal-mart.

    • poorlocavore says:

      I’m torn between wanting to believe that this can be a benefit to both producers and consumers, and fearing it’s more of the same. WM does seem to have “found religion” on some environmental issues, and surely they have some of the best spin doctors in the business, so it may be hard to find the truth of the matter. Here’s another piece on it. What concerns me in the comments is the knee-jerk reaction of the respondents. I’m trying to keep an open mind until I can gather more facts.

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