Wal-Mart's slow-food epiphany

The high price of gas is encouraging the world's biggest retailer to buy locally.

Published July 1, 2008 3:08PM (EDT)

The slow food movement -- eat locally, not globally -- has a new acolyte: Wal-Mart.

Reuters' Nicole Maestri reports today that high transportation costs are encouraging Wal-Mart to increase the percentage of fruits and vegetables it buys from local farmers.

"When we're buying local, there are less trucks on the road, less miles that that produce is traveling and therefore less fuel," said Pam Kohn, Wal-Mart's general merchandise manager for grocery.

One example -- Wal-Mart now sources its peaches from 18 states, instead of only 2.

The lesson here? The prophets of slow food can preach its benefits all they want, and as eloquently as they want, but nothing will make the case for buying locally better than price.

By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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Globalization How The World Works Wal-mart