Why Walmart Is a Threat to Organic Food

Let me guess?

Because eating organic food will no longer have that upper class elitist thing going for it if you don’t have to buy it at Whole Paycheck?

Because it will no longer be a statusy thing if those proles who shop at Walmart are also eating organic.

There was actually a time when Walmart’s slogan was “Buy American, shop at Walmart.”

Maybe we should encourage local sourcing and organic no matter who does it.

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/food/why-wal-mart-threat-organic-food

Walmart will turn organic food into another low-cost input that shortchanges consumers, workers and the environment for a fast buck.

(The exact same way Whole Foods is currently doing.)

By Arun Gupta
May 1, 2014

Only after I decided to pursue freelance journalism fulltime, thereby joining the ranks of low-wage workers, did I enter a Walmart for the first time. It was in Southern California, in the spring of 2012, and I was trying to go easy on my wallet as I crammed my car with supplies before embarking on a cross-country reporting tour.

I reluctantly ventured inside a Walmart near San Diego, but I discovered immediately why its slogan, “Save Money, Live Better,” is a lifeline for the economically distressed. In the average superstore there’s a phenomenal 142,000 separate items at astonishingly low prices: button-down shirts for $10, a large bag of potato chips for a buck, a fat tube of toothpaste for two bucks, 25 cents for a metal fork, 10 oranges for a dollar. One former Walmart worker in California told me everyone he knew shopped there because, “Walmart is cheap as shit and it’s convenient.”

So when Walmart announced in April that it was invading organic turf by introducing the Wild Oats food line in 2,000 stores, some food-justice advocates were excited about the possibilities. They believe that Walmart’s buying power, which accounts for a 33 percent share of groceries sold nationwide, will enable it to offer lower prices for consumers, expand the market for organic farmers, and lessen the use of toxic pesticides and global-warming fertilizers. It’s a classic win-win, showing how the free market can solve problems it helped create.

It’s wishful thinking. Alarm bells should be ringing now that Walmart is going organic. One Walmart executive explains it will “disrupt” the organic market by reducing inefficiencies and encouraging consolidation. Lower prices for consumers mean fewer organic farmers, declining farm incomes and agricultural wages, and remaining farmers will be forced to industrialize further to produce more goods at lower prices.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/food/why-wal-mart-threat-organic-food

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