Courtesy of Walmart
In October, Walmart unveiled its commitment to sustainable agriculture, including a goal to double the amount of locally grown produce we sell in the United States. But what does that mean and how will we do it? To better understand where Walmart is heading, let's take a look at what we're already doing with jalapeño peppers.
When I was growing up, I didn't know anyone who ate jalapeños. But today you can't go to a party or a restaurant without seeing jalapeños, or salsa or some other dish that contains these peppers. The market for jalapeños has grown dramatically across the U.S., yet production is still concentrated in a few places: Florida, California, and Mexico. The number of "food miles" these peppers can travel is huge.
Three years ago, Walmart realized that there was an opportunity to cut costs and carbon emissions and empower more small farmers by sourcing more peppers closer to our stores. We realized that in almost every state where we have distribution centers—regional warehouses that take in shipments from around the world and distribute them to individual stores—there is a growing season that is right for jalapeños. In some cases, the farms were practically right down the street!