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Walmart to feature local foods

Walmart is putting a spotlight on local food with the help of four Western New York farms.

The deep-discounter announced Thursday it would partner with Pride of New York, a membership group of food producers and processors in the state.

The group labels member products with a green seal to help consumers to identify local foods more easily. Through Monday, Walmart will heighten that profile, with signs pointing shoppers to the products that are regularly supplied by local producers.

"We really want to shout to the public that we are promoting our local suppliers and buying as much local produce as we possibly can," said Adam Lech, an assistant local sourcing buyer for Walmart. "The number one thing we're trying to do is boost the local economies and support the communities where we have our Super Centers."

Among the local suppliers are Elba's Torrey Farms, Eden's Eden Valley Growers, Mayer Brothers in West Seneca and H2Gro Greenhouses of Youngstown.

"We are really proud of our environmentally friendly practices and how our company is leading the way in utilizing green energy and sustainability in those practices," said Eric Toye, head grower at H2Gro Greenhouses.

H2Gro, which specializes in vine-ripened tomatoes, uses renewable energy, recycles irrigation water and uses predatory insects to control pests instead of using toxic chemicals.

The "buy local" movement has been touted as a way for consumers and retailers to obtain fresher products at lower prices while supporting their local economy and protecting the environment.

Walmart said that by increasing the amount of local produce it buys, the company has reduced transportation costs, passed savings on to customers and saved 100,000 gallons of diesel fuel per year.

e-mail: schristmann@buffnews.com

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