Since 2010, Walmart has worked to buy more produce from local farms. The company currently reports that 11% of its produce comes from local producers. But it seems that most of the local farms partnering with Walmart are classified by the USDA as "very large", with millions of dollars in annual sales.
Few mid- or small-size farmers are being contracted by Walmart, let alone stocking the chain's shelves with their product. Farmers speculate that the large company is unwilling to spend the money on more expensive, higher-quality local produce. As the NPR piece notes, policy advisor LaDonna Redmond says it's a slippery slope. "That's the question: Will it actually benefit [farmers], or will the situation turn out to be one where the benefit really is transferred to Wal-Mart?"
About the Author: A student in Providence, Rhode Island, Leah Douglas loves learning about, talking about, reading about, and consuming food. Her work has also been featured in Rhode Island Monthly Magazine.