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I came across this article today that relates to our discussions on organic food as well as McMillian’s experiences as a Walmart employee. The article says that Walmart wants to start selling organic produce at the same price as conventional produce. For those who prefer organic fruits and vegetables but don’t normally buy it because of the higher prices, this is very good news. However, this new demand for mass production of organic crops at the same scale as conventional crops is not without its complications, especially for the farmers. As the article points out, organic crop yields tend to be lower than conventional crop yields and involve more intensive care, so their prices are slightly higher. If they are going to begin meeting these new production demands, then the intensity of labor on organic farms will have to increase dramatically. In addition, many organic grains will just end up being imported from foreign countries, and this international shipping and its environmental costs might counteract the organic farm’s initial goals for sustainability. However, to be sure, a complete Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) would have to be performed. What do you guys think? Is Walmart’s new plan plausible?

Read the article here!


3 Responses to “Walmart Pushes for Organic”

  1. kirho says:

    I think that it’s definitely plausible, but it will only worsen the situation for farmers and workers. Organic farming still needs to be more developed for it to be better for the environment and to be more efficient. As we learned, it is not much better than conventional farming in terms of environmental impact and still has lower yields. Producers and suppliers still want to make substantial profit, so if they are reducing the prices for consumers, that cost must be offset by some part of the production process. Since there hasn’t been any substantial technological breakthrough for organic farming, that could mean lowering the wages for laborers or taking up more land and scaling up (further harming the environment) to produce higher yields at the lower price. At this point, with the current inefficiencies of organic farming, I don’t think that it’s a good idea for society, but Walmart wants to make organics affordable for the average consumer(or really just make more money) and this is one way to do it.

  2. jlvan says:

    To me, this is much more of a concern that deals with economics. If there are consumers asking for it, I have no doubt that Walmart has the means to make it happen. Still, what’s interesting about this is not necessarily HOW they plan on implementing the equal costing plan, but more the lines of WHY. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the same-cost tactic was a ploy to drive consumers from the organic hubs like Whole Foods into their clutches. For forever, the “granola”-type stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joes have managed to steer Walmart away from a total monopoly on all things grocery. However if Walmart steps in as a competitive presence in the organic market too, there’s no telling how the customer base might shift. If anything, this might be a good thing for the consumer as well, to drive down artificially high prices from places like Whole Foods, and perhaps make more efficient the current organic-style processes.

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