Local farmers want Wal-Mart to carry their produce
Wed, 26 Oct 2011 22:59:13 GMT —
Through its Heritage Agriculture Program, Walmart is buying more and more produce from local farmers.
Wednesday, farmers gathered in Albany to find out how they can get in on the action.
Cheryl Foster's family has been farming in Baker County since the 1800's.
"And that has been like a first love for me, you know, the farm and just seeing the land and watching things grow," says Foster.
Thanks to a federal grant, she is now producing organic food and sells what she grows to friends and neighbors. But she hopes to expand that clientele to include Walmart.
"But this is something that I would love, it would be a dream come true for me if I can actually get Walmart to purchase my items from me. That would just be awesome.
Through its Heritage Agriculture Program, Walmart is hoping to provide the freshest produce available. It'll also revitalize the economies of rural areas.
"Farmers need additional markets. And as they're growing their crops, they need to be assured they have someone who's gonna want to buy those crops," says Luther Jones of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's StrikeForce initiative.
StrikeForce is an initiative to help socially disadvantaged farmers, assist new farmers and retain existing farmers.
"USDA StrikeForce is partnering with some industry, some companies to work with the producers on getting more of their produce sold," says Jones.
Companies like C.H. Robinson, who boasts Walmart as one of their many clients to whom they sell local produce.
And with the help from companies like C.H. Robinson, farmers can see their produce sold in more retailers, not just Walmart.
The representative from C.H. Robinson was not able to speak to us on camera but was at the meeting to inform producers of Walmart's standards and guidelines for buying produce. Because in the end, it's about connecting the people with their growers.
"Because, you know, it's like really the backbone of America. They're the ones that keep America going," says Foster.
For more information about Walmart's program, click here.