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What ‘Local’ Really Means to Your Grocery Store

green apples, red apples and orangesThis winter, Wal-Mart announced their plans to bring more local produce to their stores across the United States. The announcement is perhaps one of the most visible indications that the local foods movement has hit the mainstream, as it gains followers for both economic and environmental reasons. Yet it is necessary to approach such an announcement with a dose of skepticism when it comes from a company that seems to be driven so heavily by the bottom line.

Some have criticized Wal-Mart’s new policy to promote local food as little more than a marketing ploy, and have accused the company of re-labeling products they already procure locally. However, in a recent Wall Street Journal article, Wal-Mart says that the consumer demand for local produce is aligned with cost-savings objectives. Wal-Mart, like many other national chains, says that they can save money on transportation by purchasing food near to its point of sale and also cut down on waste due to food spoilage. In a press release, the company announced that they hope to source up to nine percent of all produce locally.

Many grocery stores also spotlight their local produce, although the definition of “local” is depends on the store. Here is a look at how some of the major grocery chains defined local produce.

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How to Put More Fruits and Vegetables in Your Diet

By Judi Gerber for Care2.com

Did you know that June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month? And, with summer finally here, there is an increasing number of fresh fruit and vegetables to choose from each week.

Here in California, we are already starting to see the first of the season’s stone fruit, mostly apricots and cherries, but some nectarines and peaches are already arriving at my local farmers’ market.
As I have written about several times, eating locally grown or homegrown produce is the best way to get the freshest fruit and veggies.

Just last month I wrote about how eating seasonally not only saves you money, but gives you more freshness, flavor and packs the biggest nutritional punch.

The easiest way to get more into your diet is to add fresh fruits and vegetables to the meals that you are already making. I have found that if I add fresh produce to the things I already eat, I don’t ever feel like I am giving anything up and actually feel like I am getting something instead because of the additional flavor they add to things.
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Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Reminds Americans “You Deserve Better”

My favorite part of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution this Father’s Day week was Jamie’s visit back to the Barrett family to see if they have stayed away from fast food since his last visit. As Jamie strode up the sidewalk, he noticed that they were growing herbs and vegetables. The father and the teenage son answered the door in aprons, in the midst of preparing dinner for themselves and Jamie. They had even filled the living room with all kinds of produce in jest of Jamie filling their home with fast food on his last visit. The father stated that he had lost 16 pounds already and, most importantly, feels good about himself as a father now that he cooks and has dinner at the family table with his sons.

The episode started with Jamie visiting a convention for school lunch cooks. He let us know that it is not just the LAUSD, but he has also been denied access to 75 other school districts. The comments by the cooks and administrators made it clear that people are afraid of bad press.

I find it sad when we try to pretend that we are perfect and/or do not open ourselves up to improvement through real awareness. I work with people frequently who confess less than functional habits. Just because Jillian Michaels already works out daily, does not mean she is better than the person asking for help to start exercising more often. In fact, I often find that the person trying to make a change has more courage and is working harder than the person who has already developed a healthier habit. My favorite part of the school lunch cook convention was Jamie commenting on the fact that during airing of the Food Revolution, commercials for fast food or convenience food are also being aired.


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Mark Zuckerberg to Only Eat Animals He Kills

Mark Zuckerberg Headshot Black BackgroundEach year, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg sets himself a challenge. Last year, it was to learn Chinese. This year, Zuckerberg says he will only eat meat that comes from animals he’s personally killed, in an endeavor to understand the morality of eating meat.

“I’m eating a lot healthier foods. And I’ve learned a lot about sustainable farming and raising of animals,” he told Fortune in an email. “It’s easy to take the food we eat for granted when we can eat good things every day.” Reducing one’s meat consumption is also a way to reduce one’s impact on the environment, as is eating locally raised animals.

Zuckerberg made the announcement via his private Facebook page, saying he’d just killed a pig and a goat. He is getting help in his endeavor from Palo Alto restaurateur Jesse Cool, who has introduced Zuckerberg to farmers. After Zuckerberg kills each animal, it is then sent to a professional butcher, who cuts the animal apart. Zuckerberg and his girlfriend, who is also helping him with the project, are also making an effort to eat all of the animals’ parts, including the organs.


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Jake Gyllenhaal Loves the Farmer’s Market

Jake GyllenhallWe love hearing about celebrities who eat sensible, healthy diets, and we love it even more when we find out that they prepare these meals for themselves. Not only did Jake Gyllenhaal recently discuss his love of cooking, he also revealed that he’s a patron of local foods.

“I’ve always loved cooking, probably because my father and mother always cooked,” he said. Gyllenhaal also collects old cookbooks, to inspire new dishes. “I have a massive section in my library at home of beautiful old cook books. I really have a strange obsession with them.”


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