³It¹s very impressive,² said Margaret Mellon, director of the food and
environment program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. ³It¹s
encouraging that Wal-Mart understands that the path forward in
agriculture isn¹t through making the big bigger, it¹s really through
encouraging the small and medium-sized farms,² she said. Still, she said
she was disappointed that goals around organic food were not included,
and surprised that Wal-Mart did not address genetically modified seeds
The agricultural sustainability index was particularly noteworthy, said
one academic who worked with Wal-Mart on the goals.
³The index represents a real number that will mean improvement on the
ground: improving ecosystem health, soil health and food quality,² said
Marty Matlock, a professor of ecological engineering at the University
of Arkansas, which ³will move agricultural producers en masse.²
Whole Foods still uses the factory model of agriculture; buy from a
large producer, store in warehouses, and ship when needed to individual
If Wally World can make sustainable, healthy food, available, I say good
for them. Of course, prices at Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
should be lower (less overhead). Hopefully, you should be able to shop
as you will, and still find fresh, local food.
"the current farm bill helps commodity farmers by cutting them a check
based on how many bushels they can grow, rather than, say, by supporting
prices and limiting production, as farm bills once did. The result? A
food system awash in added sugars (derived from corn) and added fats
(derived mainly from soy), as well as dirt-cheap meat and milk (derived
from both). By comparison, the farm bill does almost nothing to support
farmers growing fresh produce. A result of these policy choices is on
stark display in your supermarket, where the real price of fruits and
vegetables between 1985 and 2000 increased by nearly 40 percent while
the real price of soft drinks (a k a liquid corn) declined by 23
percent. The reason the least healthful calories in the supermarket are
the cheapest is that those are the ones the farm bill encourages farmers
. . .
"To speak of the farm bill¹s influence on the American food system does
not begin to describe its full impact ‹ on the environment, on global
poverty, even on immigration. By making it possible for American farmers
to sell their crops abroad for considerably less than it costs to grow
them, the farm bill helps determine the price of corn in Mexico and the
price of cotton in Nigeria and therefore whether farmers in those places
will survive or be forced off the land, to migrate to the cities ‹ or to
the United States. The flow of immigrants north from Mexico since Nafta
is inextricably linked to the flow of American corn in the opposite
direction, a flood of subsidized grain that the Mexican government
estimates has thrown two million Mexican farmers and other agricultural
workers off the land since the mid-90s. (More recently, the ethanol boom
has led to a spike in corn prices that has left that country reeling
from soaring tortilla prices; linking its corn economy to ours has been
an unalloyed disaster for Mexico¹s eaters as well as its farmers.) You
can¹t fully comprehend the pressures driving immigration without
comprehending what U.S. agricultural policy is doing to rural
agriculture in Mexico."
" . . . the ³farm bill² is a misnomer; in truth, it is a food bill and
so needs to be rewritten with the interests of eaters placed first. Yes,
A step in the right direction. The implications are that high oil and
it's dependences just don't make sense and dealing with that issue in
the market place seems to be how change occurs here.
Being me I'd like viable wages for the folks that toil there too. God
can I say a union?
Bill S. Jersey USA zone 5 shade garden
This really is a big deal.
A brother-in-law was working with a company working with Walmart on
this. WalMart has caved in to customer pressure and dedicated themselves
to a clean up-stream process. That means all their suppliers will have
to verify that THEIR sources are also environmentally 'green'.
Since WalMart controls such a large portion of the market, what they
demand will impact all their suppliers who want to continue doing
business with them (or just about everybody). These suppliers also
service other distributors. Cleaning up their acts so they can sell to
one supplier cleans up others, too...
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