"Wal-Mart stores in Arizona now stock Grand Canyon sweet onions while aisles in New York display state-grown eggplant, as the world's largest retailer says it has become the nation's largest buyer of locally grown fruits and vegetables.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to purchase and sell $400 million worth of produce grown by local farmers within its state stores this year, an effort the company says will only grow. Academic studies show buying locally cuts down on transportation mileage while also assuring customers of a product's provenance amid mass recalls.
'Wal-Mart would not be the first' to buy local, said Rich Pirog, associate director of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University. 'But they're obviously, without question, the largest retailer to go down this route.'"