Walmart Goes After New York Locavores

Your friendly neighborhood Walmart
Your friendly neighborhood Walmart

You may want to check your mailbox (the snail one) for the latest effort by Walmart to butter up New Yorkers into letting the massive chain set up shop here. Now that it has Michelle Obama proclaiming its expansion into "food deserts" part of the country's healthy-eating initiative, it's getting harder and harder to remember that Walmart is a big, evil corporation. Or is it?

The big-box retailer is sending out mailers designed specifically for New Yorkers with a message that PolitickerNY has likened to that of the Park Slope Food Co-op. It features a close-up of fresh apples with the caption: "Care about a sustainable future? So does Walmart!" The mailer goes on to describe the chain's efforts to use local producers (which it has found to be more economical), a strategy that not only reduces its carbon footprint, but also helps fight hunger by creating jobs and making healthy food more accessible.

It's not the only recent initiative on the part of the big blue box. Walmart recently donated $4 million to New York City's Youth Employment Program, which will help create 3,400 jobs. Of course, New Yorkers are still pushing back with mass protests. So, it may take more than pretty red apples and a greenwashed message to win the battle for our souls and supermarket purchases.

Have a restaurant tip or other food news? Send it to fork@villagevoice.com.

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