Locally Grown

Wandering through the produce aisle these days, you have a lot of choices to make: fruit or vegetable, organic vs. non-organic, and now: local vs. non-local. Hmmm, now I have the choice between supporting local farmers – and therefore my local community and/or region and its businesses – or buying an apple from “somewhere” and feeling no connection whatsoever to its origin. I think I’ll go with locally grown.

Tom Thumb has started to provide posters (shown here) in their produce section to not only raise awareness for their Locally Grown produce, but also provide consumers with information about the local agricultural environment. As you can see, this is a poster for the state of Texas. Next time I’m in Carrolton, I’ll be sure to check out the fields of Russet potatoes. Or when I’m down in Austin next,maybe I’ll take a side-trip and stop by a watermelon stand. This poster makes me want to travel and tell my friends about the variety of produce that’s grown around the state. Who knew? I certainly didn’t before I wandered into the produce section of Tom Thumb.

Tom Thumb/Safeway has this to say about their policy on locally grown produce:

“In addition to the quality benefits buying locally grown fruits and vegetables reduces greenhouse gas emissions by limiting transportation miles. Sourcing locally ensures the vitality of regional farms, which translates into economic opportunities and development for a broad range of related businesses in the communities Safeway serves.” You can read more about their policy here.

Do you know of other produce retailers that celebrate the cities and farms that grow their produce? If Tom Thumb/Safeway started to have Saturday farmers markets, would you go?

Further, what happens if/when this trend continues around the store? We already see similar messaging in some meat departments. What does retail look like when this thinking becomes pervasive in center-store? How will the future of retail balance local community interests with global sourcing?

-Contributed by Erin Middleton