Category Archives: Locally-Produced

Walmart Adding 500 Direct, 250 Indirect Jobs At New $36M Distribution Center in Mexico


Walmart’s current distribution centers in Mexico.

Walmart plans to invest $36 M (650 million pesos) on a new distribution center in Yucatan, Mexico. The center will be operated by the company’s Mexico and Central America division and bring total Walmart investment in that area to $171.5 million (3.138 billion pesos) and generate more than 500 direct jobs and 250 indirect ones, the company has announced.

A statement published on July 4 on the website of Yucatan Times said, the new business unit will positively impact [Yucatan’s] production infrastructure, since in addition to the new jobs, it will expand the company supply network into the states of Campecha and Quintana Roo. The activity is also expected to attract more local suppliers.

The Times said that Walmart Mexico and Central America currently has 36 business units in Yucatan; 10 Bodega Aurrera stores, 11 “Mi Bodegas Aurrera”, five “Bodegas Aurrera Express”, three Sam’s Club, one Superama, and six Walmarts. The company has said that Walmart México and Central America has generated 3,457 permanent jobs in 14 municipalities of the state: Mérida, Halacho, Hunucma, Izamal, Motul, Kanasin, Oxkutzcab, Tekax, Tixkokob, Tizimín, Ticul, Uman, Valladolid and Progreso.

AndNowYouKnow, the produce industry blog, noted that the new facility will allow the company to strengthen and expand its logistics network in Mexico.

What neither The Times nor ANYK said was whether the distribution center – with new suppliers on board – might in time facilitate an increased flow of Mexican produce into the United States. This would be a logical secondary use for the center, nopt least because that would enable trucks delivering from Walmart US to Walmart Mexico to avoid making the return trip empty. One has to assume that someone in Bentonville AR, Walmart’s global headquarters, has calculated both the logistics and the practicality of employing that potential.


Cutting Produce Waste Gains Fans, At Farm and Store Levels

produce box


There is a growing movement to reduce wastage of pre-store and store-level waste of produce that is just past its prime.

Perhaps the leader in the pre-store sector of the movement is Imperfect Produce, which sources from farms and delivers to householders through the San Francisco Bay area and, increasingly, in and around Los Angeles. Whole Foods Market introduced a program a year ago to sell “cosmetically challenged” fruits and vegetables that, despite Iooking less than perfect, are as fit for the table, lunchbox or ingredients-prepping table as their better-looking counterparts. In March of this year, Maine-based Hannaford Brothers   joined the increasing number of retailers who are offering, at discounted prices, what Hannaford calls “The Misfits – Beautifully delicious and Nutritious” but slightly over-ripe or less-than-ideally-shaped produce items.

Now, Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health has come out with a detailed primer advising shoppers and would-be eaters ways to make it more likely they will waste less of produce they buy with the best of intentions – to prepare/eat it in a timely fashion – and then don’t do so.

Whole Foods and Hannaford, no doubt like others, pull ‘misfit” produce from their own stock. Imperfect works with an assortment of farms, many of them family operated, around California. They buy what’s in season but a little “off,” cosmetically.’

Their website says, “The produce we source is rejected purely for cosmetic reasons, meaning that taste and nutrition aren’t affected. Common reasons for produce being classified as “ugly” are: too small, wrong color, misshapen. We only source the most delicious fruits and vegetables, and we have strict quality-control measures in place to ensure that what ends up on your doorstep is fresh, delicious, and nutritious. If we wouldn’t eat it, we won’t sell it. We’re redefining BEAUTY in produce, not taste!” They also have a “like it or don’t pay for it” policy in the event a client feels something in their weekly box – the program works on a subscription basis, with boxes of pre-selected sizes and mixes being delivered weekly – is too ugly, they get credit for it in their next shipment.

It is likely more such programs will be initiated in coming years, and well they should be, Anything to reduce the amount of produce being wasted is a good thing!

Minn. Ag Dept. Boosting Schools’ Use of Local Food


Winona’s Lunch Bus handed out hundreds of free lunches to kids younger that 18 during the June-August summer period. (Photo: Winona Youth Services)

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture last year gave out 83 grants to schools in support of the state’s Farm to School program, which seeks to connect school districts with local farmers and provide hands-on learning experiences for students. This year, to further promote that program, Governor Mark Dayton declared October to be “Farm to School Month.”

Last week, a number of Ag Department and elected officials visited Winona Senior High School to see how well the program, which focuses on small and mid-sized family farms, is working ‘in the field,’ as it were.

The school’s nutrition director, Jennifer Walters, led the group on a tour showcasing their community garden, the bus used for the Summer Lunch Bus program, and the newest addition to their cafeteria — a frozen yogurt machine, which the school purchased using the Farm to School grant received last year.

“We want our students to know some of the food they eat comes from local farms in the area,” Walters said. “There’s a lot of dairy farmers in the area and the frozen yogurt machine is another way to support them while providing students with local product.”

Department official Paul said it’s important to promote local agriculture and sustainable farming and get healthy, nutritious meals into students stomachs.

Andrea Vaubel, the assistant commissioner, was impressed with everything the school is doing to promote relationships with local farmers and implement locally grown food into the nutrition program. She was particularly impressed with the school’s Summer Lunch Bus Program.

“Wow, this is really great,” she said after Walters showed the group the bus and explained the program.

Walters said the school plans to apply for the Farm to School grant again this year to continue the momentum of promoting and incorporating locally grown food into the school’s lunch program and school curriculum.

The school’s community garden was started last year with help from a grant from the Winona Area Public Schools Foundation, but was only recently completed. Their Summer Lunch Bus program began last summer, serving 3,500 meals to students. And Miller said the frozen yogurt machine, purchased with last year’s $5,500 grant, has been a popular addition to the school’s lunch, according to an article in the Winona Daily News.



Oregon School Takes ‘Local-Only’ Food Campaign To Whole New Level


Photo credit: KVAL-TV, Eugene Oregon

All the food – all of it – served in the Fairfield Elementary School in Eugene, Oregon’s Bethel district last Wednesday was locally grown and/or produced in their town’s pretty immediate area, it was reported by KVAL-TV.

“Every bite was produced in Oregon,” the station declared.

Farmers and representatives from companies like Franz Bakery came to the cafeteria to serve the food to kids.

Bethel nutrition director Jennie Kolpak says the special lunch was intended to introduce students to the idea of eating locally.

Kolpak says locally-produced food is better for Oregon’s economy, and healthier for kids.

But that idea isn’t unfamiliar to the Bethel District.

“Every day, every single meal that we serve has some local items in it,” says Kolpak. “About 40 percent of the food we serve is grown or processed in Oregon.”

Kolpak says Bethel is one of the best districts in the state in locally-produced, nutritious food.

Wednesday’s food came from all over the state, but a lot of Bethel’s food comes from much closer to home.

Fairfield boasts a school garden with tomatoes, peas and other plants.

And recently, a four-acre field on district property was turned into a functioning farm.

“We harvested thousands of pounds of vegetables this summer,” says Bethel Farm manager Kasey White. “And we’re supplying fresh food to our cafeterias.”

Going forward, a goal for the Bethel district is to expand access to nutritional and physical education to give kids healthy habits.