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Wal-Mart promises local food

On Thursday, Jan. 20, Wal-Mart, America’s largest grocery chain, launched a five-year Nutrition Charter that focuses on sustainable agriculture among its suppliers to provide consumers with healthier food options and to lower the cost of nutritious meals.

As part of this initiative, Wal-Mart plans to double the percentage of locally grown produce (food grown and sold in the same state) that they sell by year 2015. In addition, the company has vowed to save customers $1 billion annually by reducing the price of fruits and vegetables and by eliminating price premiums on healthier processed foods.

Wal-Mart’s healthy food crusade was intended to complement First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Campaign, an initiative to combat childhood obesity.

According to Eddie Gehman Kohan at the blog ObamaFoodorama, Mrs. Obama said that this project has “the potential to transform the marketplace and help Americans put healthier foods on their tables every single day.”

With over 140 million customers per week, Wal-Mart certainly has the potential to impact what consumers buy, and consequently, what they eat.

Despite Wal-Mart’s pledge to healthy food, critics claim that the company’s plan is more about image than measurable commitments.

So, what do you think of Wal-Mart’s push for locally-grown food?