Never did I think I'd be singing the praises of Wal Mart, but I'm suggesting it now.
I read today in an article by Corby Kummer in The Atlantic that the huge conglomerate is marshalling its resources to compete with Whole Foods as a supplier of quality produce at affordable costs ~ and from local growers, no less!
From apples to zucchinis ~ Wal Mart is now offering these underpinnings of good health ~ in many cases, the organic version ~ and, according to the article, is holding its own in a taste test comparision with Whole Foods produce.
Through its new program, Heritage Agriculture, they are encouraging farms within a day's drive of a Wal Mart warehouse to grow crops that are otherwise imported cross-country.
This, at a time when many families are struggling financially as a result of job losses and high unemployment to put food on the table.
Factor now the ever-present issue of affordable health care.
Try this scenario ~
Dad's at home checking the unemployment ads, while Mom's at work and the kids are in school.
With this newest option, for not much money, he can buy a few carrots, potatoes, celery and onions and get a vegetable soup going in the crockpot before eveyone gets home. He skips the aisles displaying chips, cookies and pop. He picks up some bananas and raisins to top oatmeal or cereal in the morning ~ or to give to the kids as snacks after school.
They go to the park for some playtime before supper. They sit at the table to eat, and the TV stays off until they're done.
He's setting a course which, if repeated, means "money in the bank" because he's nurturuing his family with good food to promote their physical health. And he's spending time with them ~ quality time ~ to strengthen their emotional health.
Meanwhile, that all important community player, the farmer, gets economic support by offering a stronger, local market. (This is not to mention the huge, energy-saving benefit of eliminating transportation costs when food comes from miles away.)
As ironic as it seems, Wal Mart just might end up making a significant contribution in our communities.
It's going to be interesting to watch.