Walmart targets climate-smart suppliers

Source: Walmart targets climate-smart suppliers

Talking the talk, should small-holders worry they’ll be invisible to the biggest of Big Box Agriculture?

[su_quote]Courting controversy? Not everyone is cheering these efforts, however. As Walmart’s influence on agriculture grows, the company’s critics worry that the giant retailer will squeeze out smaller, family-owned farms, just as its retailing success often came at the expense of small-town, mom-and-pop stores. “Because of the volume they need, I fear they will drive out smaller [agricultural] producers,” says Danielle Nierenberg, president of Food Tank advocacy group. But even though its climate-smart agriculture initiative takes on the often contentious issue of global warming, McLaughlin says Walmart hasn’t seen any backlash to its efforts from customers, suppliers or even politicians, and that the company is more determined than ever to go forward. “We have very bold aspirations for systemic change,” she says. “We’re not playing small here. This is a whole company, a whole industry, a whole system effort.”[/su_quote]

Pardon me if I don’t entirely trust Walmart, the 800 pound gorilla that has been no friend to the family farm.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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