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A Break Down of Walmarts Urban Food Strategy: Using Three Analytic Perspectives

Introduction As understood through their well known slogan, save money, live better, Walmart claims that by saving money, one lives a better life. But Walmart does not explain why they are able to sell such cheap products and consequentially consumers dont see those whose lives are actually made worse through contracts with Walmart. While Walmarts website outlines their important objectives such as community giving, diversity, and sustainability, they dont show the whole picture. Through various pledges such a being sustainable, buying more local produce and selling more organic products, Walmart is taking initiative to improve their image as they expand their market. Walmarts recent moves into urban areas--as a result of having saturated the rural and suburban ones--provide an opportunity to assess their methods and the effects of their entry on urban neighborhoods. In this paper, I analyze Walmart through three lenses: food justice, sustainability and the treadmill of production in order to show that Walmart is perpetuating the treadmill of productionnot contributing to food justice or sustainability. I focus on Walmarts move into the urban sector by exploring its potential new location in East New York. Although Walmart is making an effort to sell healthier food and to buy locally, I will show that a number of Walmarts practices still disadvantage both the consumer and the grower. I draw my data regarding Walmarts impact on other urban U.S. sites in Chicago to gauge the likelihood of whether Walmart will be beneficial to East New York as a low income area with high unemployment. Given the tension between profit and sustainability, the two things that Walmart is attempting to achieve, I anticipate that it will be difficult if not impossible for them to maintain their market share. The problem is that there is a deep inequality that is reflected in poor communities suffering from food injustices. Walmarts public claims to help alleviate this are not adequate and are not

A Break Down of Walmarts Urban Food Strategy: Using Three Analytic Perspectives

likely to be unless they change their policy and profit seeking. This paper uses research to demonstrate the indignity of the current Walmart policies. There is a misconception that Walmarts recent green initiative demonstrates a transition in their business practices. I will show that Walmarts attempt to remake their image does not demonstrate a change in their business model. Their bottom line is still their only concern. Further examination into Walmarts promises demonstrates that Walmarts business model will not actually allow for them to be a part of the solution to our broken food system. Despite tactful public relations work, Walmart remains one of the problems with our food system. The inequalities of our food system are systemic and disproportionately impact low income communities and communities of color. A Gallup poll conducted over the course of two years, 2008-2009, asked more than 530,000 people across the county, Have there been times in the past months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?1 According to the survey, New Yorks 10th Congressional District, including neighborhoods in Brooklyn like East New York and Bedford-Stuyvesant, ranked sixth in the survey in which about 31 percent of residents identified as being food insecure. While hunger and obesity are linked, other issues such as poverty and minimal access to supermarkets are also components of minimal food access and demonstrate the severe need for increasing access to fresh affordable food in underserved communities. Included in Walmarts green initiative is a pledge to supply healthy food to areas that have limited access such as East New York. My paper will begin with a background on Walmart followed by a background on East New York in order to contextualize my argument. Following the background is my literature review, methodology, urban strategy, analysis of Walmart and the illusion of going green. I do this in

1 Dolnick, Sam, The Obesity Hunger Paradox, The New York Times. March 12, 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/14/nyregion/14hunger.html. 2

A Break Down of Walmarts Urban Food Strategy: Using Three Analytic Perspectives

order to show that while Walmarts new campaign advertises an attempt to comply with racial and social justice, they do not succeed. My research demonstrates that Walmarts urban strategy does not comply with food justice and does not fit within a sustainability model and is thus unlikely to lead to food justice in New York City. It is not based on profit seeking alone that prohibits Walmart from complying with food justice and sustainability. Rather, Walmarts business model and consequentially their need to dominate the market lead to unjust practices which this paper will explain. History and Background of Walmart I have not found there to be much debate over the history of Walmart. Since the history of Walmart provided by the Walmart corporation offers a basic timeline of events without providing much detail or assessment, I have decided to provide both the Walmart corporations description of their history and a more detailed and critical description of the history of Walmart outlined by T.A. Frank, who does not contradict the story told by Walmart but rather adds to it.2 According to Walmart, Walmart, Kmart and Target all opened their first stores in 1962 but Sam Walton, the creator of Walmart, had a chain of stores in the 1950s selling discounted products. The first Walmart store was opened in Rogers Arkansas, with the idea that American consumers were looking for a new type of store.3 By the end of the 1970s, there were 276 Walmart stores in 11 states and their stock went public on the NYSE. The first supercenter opened in 1988 which included a grocery and 36 other departments. By the end of 1980s there were 1402 Walmart stores and sales had grown from 1 billion to 26 billion throughout the decade. Today there are 9759 Walmart stores in 28 countries. According to Walmart, Our history is a perfect example of how to

2 T.A Frank, A Brief History of Wal-Mart, was first published in the April 2006 issue of Washington Monthly. I quoted the article from http://reclaimdemocracy.org/walmart/2006/history.php. 3 http://walmartstores.com/aboutus/297.aspx 3

A Break Down of Walmarts Urban Food Strategy: Using Three Analytic Perspectives

manage growth without losing sight of your values. Our most basic value has always been, and always will be, customer service.4 In his autobiography, Sam Walton explained that in order to maintain your profit margin you have to fight overhead and payroll. He hired as few people as possible and paid them as little as possible which meant staying away from unions. According to Frank, Sams employees accepted it because Walmart was creating a better life for all Americans.5 Walton was concerned with the experience of his employees and expressed the idea that working as a Walmart employee provided a person with limitless opportunity.6 Although Walton rejected unions, his employees were treated well and they did not protest their low wages because they felt like they had a part in the company. When Walton died in 1992, a shift emerged in how Walmart was perceived. The first bad press Walmart received was on Dateline NBC which exposed how Walmarts made in America line was actually made in sweatshops outside the country. This announcement resulted in a decline in Walmarts stock and a loss in investors. Walmarts business practices also changed after Sam died. While Sam was able to keep costs down while making his employees happy, the company began demanding that managers make changes to their payroll which worked to increase their stock value and their growth. From this developed two different perspectives: one which admired Walmarts innovations and the other which opposed their business practices. With Walton gone, Walmart became concerned solely with cheap prices and disregarded their employees interests.

4 http://walmartstores.com/aboutus/297.aspx 5 A Frank, A Brief History of Wal-Mart, was first published in the April 2006 issue of Washington Monthly. I quoted the article from http://reclaimdemocracy.org/walmart/2006/history.php 6 Ibid. 4

A Break Down of Walmarts Urban Food Strategy: Using Three Analytic Perspectives

A study done by Arindrajit Dube and Steve Wertheim of the University of California's Berkeley Labor Center in 20057 found that, Wal-Mart pays its hourly workers an average hourly wage of $9.68, while other large retailers average $11.08. (The study adjusts for the fact that WalMart stores tend to be in lower-income areas.) As for health benefits, Dube and Wertheim found that Wal-Mart offers its hourly workers benefits worth 73 cents per hour, while other large retailers offer $1.8 Walmart employees often work off the clock in order to finish the tasks their manager assigned knowing they could not get it done on the clock. This method allows for more work to be completed without having to pay for the labor. As a result, Walmart had to pay $50 million in 2000 in order to settle a law suit regarding working off the clock that involved 69,000 employees in Colorado.9 Part of Walmarts strategy is eliminating competition through selling their products at a cheaper price than their competitors. But since Walmart is continuously opening up new stores, they are essentially taking business away from themselves. Mike Duff refers to this as cannibalization.10 Walmart attributed the decline in their sales to a difficult economy, price deflation and a decrease in consumer spending.11 As a result of Walmarts loss in sales, its stock has been downgraded. According to Duff, Unless the retailer can convince Wall Street to look at it in a new way or a wave of consolidation takes a large number of retail stores out of the marketplace, making comparable store sale gains in the U.S is going to be difficult for Walmart.12

7 Figures for Walmart were gathered from information released from a sex-discrimination lawsuit, and relying for the rest of the large retail sector on numbers from the March 2005 "Current Population Survey. 8 T.A Frank, A Brief History of Wal-Mart, http://reclaimdemocracy.org/walmart/2006/history.php. 9 Ibid. 10 Duff, Mike, Walmart: Too Big to Succeed? CBS Interactive Business Network, http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505123_162-42649191/walmart-too-big-to-succeed/. 11 Kavilanz, Parija, Wal-Mart suffers sales decline in key quarter, CNN Money, http://money.cnn.com/2010/02/17/news/companies/walmart_results/index.htm. 12 Ibid. 5

A Break Down of Walmarts Urban Food Strategy: Using Three Analytic Perspectives

This is an important perspective because it demonstrates that Walmart makes decisions from a market perspective serving as a reminder that their concerns go beyond the food market and into Wall Street. Duff also alludes to Walmarts desperation to increase their sales and to upgrade their stock which is one of the main reasons they need to move into the urban market. Walmart will need to do everything they can to increase their sales. Redlining and Blockbusting in East New York13 East New York is located in Eastern Brooklyn and has been made up of working class immigrants from Eastern Europe, Germany and Italy since the mid-nineteenth century. An immigration shift took place after World War II bringing displaced African Americans and Puerto Ricans to the city. These two population groups were forced to relocate due to policies that favored economic growth over the livelihood of its citizens. The African Americans were facing racist policies in the South and the Puerto Ricans were facing exploitation from the U.S forcing them to leave. In addition to the policies of economic growth, the racist policies of real estate agencies and banks made a dire situation worse through redlining and blockbusting. As this new wave of immigrants entered into East New York -- a community already lacking necessary resources and funding-- jobs and housing were hard to come by. In addition to unstable housing and the lack of community resources, African Americans and Puerto Ricans came to the city with few urban skills, all contributing to riots and conflicts that exploded in the 1960s. This provides the backdrop to the formation of the ghetto that was constructed through public policy and racist loan practices. A population shift took place in East New York during the 1960s where 85 percent of the population was white in 1960 and was 80 percent black and Puerto Rican by 1966.14 An intention-

13 All of the information in the East New York section is taken from Walter Thabits book, how East New York became a ghetto. 14 Thabit, Walter. how East New York became a ghetto. New York and London: New York University Press, 2003, 1. 6

A Break Down of Walmarts Urban Food Strategy: Using Three Analytic Perspectives

al transition began to change East New York from white to black. The Federal Housing Authority (FHA) were indicted for lying about East New York homebuyer incomes, appraised values, and housing quality in the service of unscrupulous mortgage brokers who were buying them off.15 As the white population took off for the suburbs, the available jobs went with them. While the few resources the working class community had disappeared, no new resources were provided to this booming community, particularly schools for the thousands of children now living in East New York. In the 1960s, the average age was only 18 years, compared with the twenty-five to thirtyfive years in typical city neighborhoods.16 With high unemployment and limited seats in the classroom, the youth had no constructive outlet. Towards the end of the 1960s, 40 percent of East New York households were living in poverty.17 East New York was one of the few areas in the city where the African American and Puerto Rican immigrants were able to move into. Minorities have been excluded from the suburbs for decades. The 1935 FHA Underwriting Manuel included guaranteed mortgage insurance only for segregated developments.18 While people flocked to the suburbs after WWII and the federal government had subdivided some 10 million units by 1965, only 2 percent of those were made available to nonwhites, and much of this housing was on a segregated basis.19 Thabit, an urban planner and an activist explains: The actual process started with bank redlining and property neglect as blacks and Puerto Ricans began to move in, continued with blockbusting and vicious exploitation, resulted in the undesirable concentration or welfare and poor families, and ended by overwhelming

15 Ibid., 2. 16 Ibid., 83. 17 Ibid., 7. 18 Ibid., 38. 19 Ibid. 7

A Break Down of Walmarts Urban Food Strategy: Using Three Analytic Perspectives

the communitys ability to cope with the resulting problems.20 This process included the banks and FHA directing upwardly mobile, predominantly white families with male heads of households out of the city and pushed low-income, into the central cities.21 predominantly black and minority families

According to Thabit, redlining is the withdrawal of mortgage money from a community. Banks prefer to lend their money (the deposits of their urban customers) to suburban borrowers and generally restrict lending in older urban neighborhoods.22 As soon as it appears that black or other minorities are moving into an area, the banks promptly redline it, whether or not it conforms to their loan requirements. While redlining has been outlawed, the discriminatory practices continue.23 The banks determine the success and failure of a community when they decide to provide loans or take them away. When money is withdrawn from a community, that community will deteriorate. The racist process of redlining began during the New Deal when expanding home ownership was considered good for the economy because it would create stability. The Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC) enabled homeownership by working with banks and realtors but homeownership eligibility was determined by race. The government wanted the banks to feel more comfortable making loans so HOLC created a grading system where every neighborhood was given a grade. HOLC rated on a scale of a, b, c, d and they were also color coded. D was red (redlining) meaning it is dangerous to invest here because you wont get a good return on your money. Gradings were determined by public services, transportation, the condition of buildings, homogeneity
20 Ibid., 37. 21 Ibid., 39. 22 Ibid., 42. 23 Ibid. 8

A Break Down of Walmarts Urban Food Strategy: Using Three Analytic Perspectives

and growth potential. Bay Ridge was the only Brooklyn area that got an A due to location, race and growth potential. Another tactic used in the creation of the East New York ghetto was blockbusting which has multiple dimensions but can be explained as instilling fear in white homeowners and encouraging them to sell their homes and move. Through encouraging white renters to move, landlords were able to charge more rent for black and Puerto Rican renters because they have nowhere else to go. Eventually, whites looking to rent or buy were no longer brought to East New York by real estate brokers. Once white renters moved out, building conditions and services quickly deteriorated. For example, a blockbuster might purchase a house worth $15,000 for $12,500, resell to a black family for $17,500, and pocket the difference.24 Over one million African Americans immigrated to the city in the 1950s resulting in overcrowding and garbage pile ups. The cities were not accustomed to the amount of garbage being produced and the city services were not following the increase in population. As a result, these neighborhoods declined even more. The local businesses and places of worship were not able to withstand the changes taking place in East New York. The citys public services were not willing to provide the community the resources it needed to succeed including schools, proper sanitation, housing, community centers and public recreational space. All of this contributed to the instability in the area resulting in vandalism, crime and a general lack of safety. Policies created the condition of segregation and pollution but the people who live in the neighborhoods were blamed. East New York has made dramatic improvements since the 60s and 70s but it still faces high levels of poverty including unstable housing and unemployment. Bedford- Stuyvesant and East New York together contain 21 percent of New York Citys homeless population. More than 88

24 Ibid., 45. 9

A Break Down of Walmarts Urban Food Strategy: Using Three Analytic Perspectives

percent of all shelter residents are black or Latino.25 Of the 18 community districts in Brooklyn, East New York contained the second highest number of welfare recipients. In 1996, it also registered 1,648 foster-care placements and 1,880 cases of abused and neglected children. With its AIDS incidence more than doubling each year, East New York counted more AIDS cases than seventeen states. The infant mortality rate was comparable to that of Panama.26 The black circle on the map I have included highlights the East New York section of Brooklyn, with one of the highest number of poor people in New York City (2005 American Community Survey). See image 1 in appendix.27 The crime rate has decreased and community services have increased. These developments include child-care centers, afterschool programs for local youth, community-based health service (including an AIDS residence and treatment center), industrial business retention programs, employment and job-readiness training, and an area-wide community security initiative.28 In addition, community gardens have emerged in East New York as a way to facilitate community empowerment, autonomy and food security. Farmers markets and gardens such as East New York Farms have developed on vacant plots of land that are now being put to good use. Literature Review A debate has emerged around whether Walmart should be welcomed into New York City and more specifically welcomed into East New York. In assessing the capacity of Walmarts green initiative to increase food access, three main debates have emerged around what constitutes food justice, what are the different strategies for creating food justice, and what role does sustainable development play. These strategies have been addressed in the literature with regard to how we ob25 Ibid., 231. 26 Ibid., 230. 27 United Way of New York City, Mapping Poverty in New York City: Pinpointing the impact of poverty, community by community, http://www.cssny.org/userimages/downloads/Mapping_booklet.pdf. 28 Ibid., 221. 10

A Break Down of Walmarts Urban Food Strategy: Using Three Analytic Perspectives

tain food justice/urban sustainability. This debate can be analyzed within these frameworks in environmental sociology regarding the merits of the treadmill of production and the ecological modernization theory.
Background: What is Food Justice?

The concept of food justice has become a goal in emerging food movements. Due to the recent application of a food justice framework within social movements, scholars and activists are closely linked together in the food justice debate. This debate consists of a focusing on a racial and class based framework regarding food justice and another framework focusing on the production and quality of food. Food justice seeks to ensure that the benefits and risks of where, what, and how food is grown, produced, transported, distributed, accessed and eaten are shared fairly.29 In addition, food justice also seeks a transformation in the food system.30 That definition outlines the criteria for complying with food justice. To be clear, the debate does not center on the definition of food justice itself; rather it centers on the implementation of a race and class based framework within the analysis of our food system. As explained by Alkon and Norgaard (2009), food justice serves as a theoretical and political bridge between scholarship and activism on sustainable agriculture, food insecurity, and environmental justice.31 Concern has been escalating over issues relating to the production and consumption of food. As modern agriculture departs from traditional modes of food production, scholars and activists have raised questions regarding what this means for our health, for our environment, for our economy and for our future. One model manifested by the food movement encourages people to

29 Gottlieb, Robert, and Anupama Joshi. Food Justice. U.S.A.: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2010. 30 Ibid. 31 Allison Hope Alkon and Kari Marie Norgaard, Breaking the Food Chains: An Investigation of Food Justice Activism, Social Inquiry Vol. 79, issue 3 (2009): http://ehis.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.brooklyn.cuny.edu:2048/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=26ecdfd9-db52-413f-89ce0a76a48b57c4%40sessionmgr104&vid=4&hid=120. 11

A Break Down of Walmarts Urban Food Strategy: Using Three Analytic Perspectives

stay away from processed foods and to eat fresh, local and organic products. These are not simply personal or health issues, they are also political. According to this, Alkon and Agyeman (2011) explain that it is a vote for environmental sustainability, as local, organic producers cultivate biologically diverse polycultures and avoid the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. It is also a vote for small, family owned farms, as opposed to their large, corporate counterparts, and for creating local communities filled with rich interpersonal interactions.32 But through this framework, empowerment is constructed through economic means, through the purchasing or not purchasing of certain goods and is critiqued as being a model that emphasizes the position of privilege. Through this construction of privilege, the position of race in relation to food is overlooked. Alkon and Agyeman (2011) cite Michael Pollans 2007 list of food rules as an example of such blindness. When Pollan begins his first rule by telling us not to eat anything your greatgrandmother wouldnt recognize as food, he ignores the fact that our great-grandmothers come from a wide variety of social and economic contexts that may have informed their perceptions of food quite differently.33 Alkon and Agyeman point out that the issues and ideas expressed by the food movement are crucial but the process of addressing them needs to change. This discourse needs to shift in such a way that everyones cultural relationship to food can be included. Freudenberg, McDonough and Tsui (2011) identify food activism literature to present a heterogenous view of a food movement, emphasizing its roots on both social justice and cultural alternatives to mainstream food practices.34 Similarly, they cite Michael Pollans list of food related activism but not one issue on his list addresses race.
32 Alison Hope Alkon and Julian Agyeman, Cultivating Food Justice, U.S.A,:Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2011, 2. 33 Ibid., 3. 34 Nicholas Freudenberg, John McDonough and Emma Tsui, Can a Food Justice Movement Improve Nutrition and Health? A Case Study of the Emerging Food Movement in New York CIty, Journal of Urban Health: Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine Vol. 88, No. 4 (2011): http://ejscontent.ebsco.com.ezproxy.brooklyn.cuny.edu:2048/ContentServer.aspx?target=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Espringerlink%2Ecom %2Findex%2FN7413G50112472RQ%2Epdf. 12

A Break Down of Walmarts Urban Food Strategy: Using Three Analytic Perspectives

In transitioning away from language that focuses on production and quality of food, a sociological approach to food can develop in which we see food as being more than an individuals choice but rather a decision that is made based on social constraint. According to Alkon and Agyeman, race and class are factors in access to food and need to be incorporated into the food narrative so that those who are more negatively impacted by the food movement can be a part of reforming it. This approach is manifested in the food justice movement. This narrative has emerged in poor urban areas across the country such as the South Bronx, New York, Milwaukee and many more cities where low income residents and residents of color are now taking a proactive role in the transforming the food through mediums such as urban farms, community gardens and farmers markets. As race is incorporated into food discourse it is essential to also include a groups cultural ties to food or food practices. Slocum (2011) points out that there is a connection between race and food where one can not understand food without incorporating race.35 By introducing race theory to the study of food, we gain new insight and understanding into food production and consumption. This framework looks at how race gets made in relation to difference. Food not only serves to sustain us, it serves as a symbol of culture both bringing people together and setting them apart (Slocum). According to Slocum, scholars understand food preparation and consumption as central to the development and preservation of racialized identity and belonging for women, diasporic populations, immigrants and the displaced, enslaved and impoverished.36 Alternative food systems are framed and defined according to white cultures ideals of what good and healthy food should be.

35 Slocum, Rachel, Race in the study of food, Progress in Human Geography Vol. 35, issue 3 (2011): http://ehis.ebscohost.com.ez-proxy.brooklyn.cuny.edu:2048/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=0db8e622-3b00-4ba79fef-fb8a5a010054%40sessionmgr114&vid=4&hid=120. 36 Ibid., 305. 13

A Break Down of Walmarts Urban Food Strategy: Using Three Analytic Perspectives

This extends beyond food choices to food production which gets whitened through the emphasis on farming without regard for the forced agricultural history of African Americans (Guthman 2008).37 Without analyzing vigilantly, it is easy to overlook the whitening of the alternative food system because whiteness has been constructed to be invisible (Slocum 2011). Another place where race intersects with food is in the development of the food desert discourse. The phrase food desert was first used in the early 1990s in Scotland and is used to describe populated urban areas, where residents do not have access to an affordable and healthy diet.38 The use of the word desert to refer to an area that lacks resources dates back to 1973 when J BAINES wrote, The large suburban estates that are a recent feature of the townscape are epitomised by the regular rows of similarly styled houses that have earned for themselves the title of suburban deserts. They often lack the shops, churches, public houses, and social centres that allow a community life to develop.39 Residents living in food deserts often attribute their inability to access healthy food to the lack of supermarkets in their neighborhoods. Supermarkets are also criticized for not entering into markets where low income residents live resulting in their inability to purchase healthy food at an affordable price. A report put out by the USDA to congress defines food deserts as an area with limited access to affordable and nutritious food, particularly such an area composed of predominately lower income neighborhoods and communities.40 While not included in the USDA definition of food deserts, people of color are disproportionately impacted by the lack of affordable fresh produce. As
37 Guthman J (2008a) If they only knew: Colorblindness and universalism in California alternative food institutions. The Professional Geographer 60: 387397. Guthman J (2008b) Bringing good food to others: investigating the subjects of alternative food practice. Cultural Geographies 15(4): 431447. As stated in Slocum 2011. 38 Cummins, Steven, and Sally Macintyre, Food Deserts: Evidence and Assumptions in Health Policy Making. British Medical Journal. August 24, 2002. Vol. 325, No. 7361. http://www.jstor.org/stable/25452163. 39 www.fooddeserts.org/images/whatisfd.htm. 40 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). 2009. Report to Congress: Access to Affordable and Nutritious Food: Measuring and Understanding Food Deserts and Their Consequence. Washington, DC: ERS/FNS/CSREES. 14

A Break Down of Walmarts Urban Food Strategy: Using Three Analytic Perspectives

supermarkets retreated from urban areas, they were replaced with fast food places and convenience stores selling cheap food with low nutritional value. This transition contributed to the increased rates of obesity, diabetes and other health related illnesses in low income communities. Liquor stores also emerged as a food source for communities but no produce could be found there. In addition to the lack of healthy and affordable food sources in low income minority areas, low income residents are also less likely to own their own means of transportation that would allow them to travel outside their neighborhood for food. Given that the nature of food shopping involves either transporting multiple shopping bags or making more frequent shopping trips, the mobility strategies for food shopping among low-income families will exacerbate the barriers to a limited number of available local area supermarkets, in particular chain supermarkets.41 Similarly, Shaw points out that in addition to transportation, there are several factors that influence a persons ability to access food including physical ability to get to a food source, financial resources to travel and purchase food and the ability to bring the purchased goods back home. Importantly, the mere existence of an accessible supermarket does not necessarily mean residents will shop there. Shaw explains that the residents may not find the food options desirable or ethnically appropriate and therefore even with the existence of a supermarket, residents may still feel they lack access to food.42 Alkon, Agyeman, Gottlieb and Joshi attribute the emergence of food deserts to decision making on locating grocery stores,43 which is often marked by supermarkets abandoning low in41 Ibid. 42 Shaw, J. Hillary, Food Deserts: Towards the Development of a Classification, Human Geography Series B Vol. 88, no. 2 (2006) : http://www.jstor.org.ez-proxy.brooklyn.cuny.edu:2048/stable/3878390? &Search=yes&searchText=development&searchText=food&searchText=classification&searchText=towards&searc hText=deserts&list=hide&searchUri=%2Faction%2FdoAdvancedSearch%3Fq0%3Dfood%2Bdeserts%253A %2Btowards%2Bthe%2Bdevelopment%2Bof%2Ba%2Bclassification%2B%26f0%3Dall%26c1%3DAND %26q1%3D%26f1%3Dall%26acc%3Don%26wc%3Don%26Search%3DSearch%26sd%3D%26ed%3D%26la%3D %26jo%3D&prevSearch=&item=1&ttl=1046&returnArticleService=showFullText. 43 Alison Hope Alkon and Julian Agyeman, Cultivating Food Justice, U.S.A,:Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2011, 152. 15

A Break Down of Walmarts Urban Food Strategy: Using Three Analytic Perspectives

come areas in search of wealthier customers. Throughout the second half of the 20th century, supermarket size was on the rise creating a growing incentive for markets to move out of urban areas and into suburban ones. Even though cities had a high population density and were in need of supermarkets, the cities high rent, small lots and limited car access contributed to the disappearance of supermarkets from urban centers. The trend of supermarkets moving out of urban areas and into suburban neighborhoods as well as their business practices in general, is referred to by some as supermarket redlining.44 Widener, Metcalf and Bar-Yam expand on the idea that food deserts exist due to the communities abandonment of supermarkets by explaining that an urban communities access to food can vary so greatly throughout the course of a year that it may be lacking access to food for only part of the year. They attribute this change to the presence of farmers markets that tend to be seasonal and that this seasonal aspect of food availability is often overlooked when accessing food deserts.45 Gottlieb and Joshi prefer to use the term grocery gap to explain the lack of fresh affordable food in low income areas. Grocery gaps are defined as the lack of full-service food markets with affordable items, including fresh food, within walking distance.46 Criticism emerged from food justice activists that the term food desert itself provided a poor reference point for assessing food availability in communities that lacked full-service supermarkets but had a disproportionate share of fast food outlets and otherwise lacked access to fresh, healthy food.47 Unfortunately, there is

44 Bennett, 1992; Turque, 1992 as stated in Eisenhauer, Elizabeth, In Poor Health: Supermarket Redlining and Urban Nutrition, Geojournal Vol. 53. issue 2 (2001): 128. http://140.234.1.9:8080/EPSessionID=5211256fbc1a5e9ebd279ea9a2c31d8/EPHost=www.jstor.org/EPPath/stable/4 1147594. 45 Michael J. Widener, Sara S. Metcalf and Yaneer Bar-Yam, Dynamic Urban Food Environments: A Temporal Analysis of Access to Healthy Foods, American Journal of Preventative Medicine Vol. 41, issue 4 (2011). 46 Ibid., 41. 47 Ibid., 245. 16

A Break Down of Walmarts Urban Food Strategy: Using Three Analytic Perspectives

limited literature corresponding to this emerging opinion held by activists but it is essential to the food desert dialogue and needs to be represented in the literature. The use of the phrase food desert to define an area lacking healthy food can be offensive to residents of those particular communities who are being told they live in such environments- the phrase should be reconsidered. Additionally, these proclamations are being made by people who live outside of the communities by people who are unaware of what the need of the residents are including access to food. If the intention is to work with communities traditionally underserved, than those communities must not be excluded from the process rather they must be the leaders in making the changes their community needs. Furthermore, the majority of food desert literature emphasizes access to be the main contributor to food deserts instead of focusing on cost. It is not enough to place supermarkets in low income areas if the community cannot afford to buy healthy produce. It is important to emphasize a sociological approach to the study of food insecurity, where we can view the purchasing of food as a societal function and not an individual one. This also allows us to see trends amongst populations where a systemic problem emerges in need of a systemic solution. There is an emerging debate and critique of the definition and existence of food deserts amongst activists that is starting to emerge in scholarly literature but needs to be further exemplified. Gottlieb and Joshi (2010) expand on the food justice discourse. They state that by combining food and justice, the potential for a new social movement has emerged in which activists can form a common language around their desire for political and social change relating to our food system. But food justice in itself, although a compelling concept, does not itself set the trajectory for accomplishing food reform and for bringing allies together. Joshi and Gottlieb explain that as a

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A Break Down of Walmarts Urban Food Strategy: Using Three Analytic Perspectives

relatively new discussion, food justice is still understood to be multiple things and needs further analyzing and exploring in order to understand how it can be used to change our food system. Even as the language of justice is embraced by a growing number of food groups, exactly what constitutes a food justice approach still remains a moving target.48 These perspectives allow room for critique. While I agree with those who incorporate a race and class based framework into their approach to food justice, it is not enough to push a race and class based narrative that is absent from those who emphasize production and quality; rather there needs to be one model that works towards reforming our food system with a race and class based framework. Exclusion can exist even through a racial framework and the literature needs to emphasize a community based approach to food justice where the residents decide what they need to be a healthy community instead of having health defined for them by non-community members. There is a difference between wanting to help others because you believe you come from a superior position and wanting to work together with others in order to create equality and this difference needs to be made more explicit in food justice literature. Both perspectives still rely on a market based solution to increasing food access where even with a race and class based framework, those most in need may be left out. Without incorporating a model for reforming our agricultural system, urban food justice programs that sell fresh food to communities are still selling food that costs more than the subsidized processed foods sold at the corner store. One of the most crucial elements to come out of the literature is expressed by Gottlieb and Joshi when they explain that the food justice discourse still needs time to develop before it can fully analyzed and understood. My intention is to present the different perspectives on food justice in their application to an urban landscape as a way to further the discourse in an attempt to bring real reform to our food system.
48 Robert Gottlieb and Anupama Joshi, Food Justice, U.S.A.: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2010, 6. 18

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Activists Strategies for Food Justice

Scholars and activists are also linked together in the debate over different strategies for creating food justice. Two activist strategies have emerged from the literature: state based/policy initiatives and community initiatives centered on creating alternatives to the current food system. Alkon and Norgaard, (2009)49 explain some of the general initiatives currently taking place as an alternative to the food system. These include farmers markets, community supported agriculture (CSA), urban farms, community gardens and policy initiatives that take form in food groups and advocacy around the farm bill. Activists hope that through their support of local agriculture, small to medium size farms will be able to thrive. But not all agree with this approach. In contrast, Buttel (1997) points out that the consumer practices that some activists are promoting will not change agribusiness itself. Another critique is brought by Gunthman (2004) who explains that the demand for organic produce -- a method seen as an alternative to industrial agriculture-- has come with increased use of industrial practices to make the organic produce. Similarly, as activists advocate for more organic products and advocate for the importance of supporting farmers, low income communities who cannot afford to pay more for their food are further marginalized (Allen 2004). Through incorporating food justice into the literature as a theory and application that situates food access and healthy food within a framework of institutional racism, we gain the ability to link the sustainable agriculture movement and the environmental justice movement (Alkon and Norgaard 2009). Freudenberg, McDonough and Tsui (2011) look at the methods of the emerging food movement in New York City for increasing health. They address the existence of a debate between community based change and policy based change. As mentioned previously, some examples of com49 Allison Hope Alkon and Kari Marie Norgaard, Breaking the Food Chains: An Investigation of Food Justice Activism, Social Inquiry Vol. 79, issue 3 (2009): http://ehis.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.brooklyn.cuny.edu:2048/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=26ecdfd9-db52-413f-89ce0a76a48b57c4%40sessionmgr104&vid=4&hid=120. 19

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munity based change include farmers markets and food coops while some examples of policy based change include improving the quality of school food, and ending subsidies for unhealthy goods (Freudenberg, McDonough and Tsui (2011). Activists in favor of community based change are attempting to alter the food system without using a bureaucratic model while those in opposition claim you cannot change the food system through a community approach. Similarly, the authors point out that some people join the food movement with an interest in changing food policy while others are seeking kinship and community and are able to build this through food. Over the last few years, success has come from both ends. For example, the FRESH program was created in 2009, EBT cards are now accepted at farmers markets and the Mayor appointed a food policy coordinator. Additionally, activists contributed significantly towards some food related changes, such as the posting of calories at chain restaurants and the Green Carts program (Freudenberg, McDonough and Tsui (2011). Similar to Alkon and Norgaard, Winson (2010) outlines both civil society (analogous to community) and the state (analogous to policy) as places where activists advocate for a change in the food system where corporations are considered to be responsible for the perpetuation of unhealthy food. Winson further explains how the struggle for healthy food has the capability to alter neoliberal policy. With respect to the state level, Winson addresses the ongoing skirmishes between the forces that broadly speaking act in the public interest with respect to food, nutrition, and related health matters and those pursuing more narrow corporate or sectoral interests.50 This example of the relationship that exists between the public, corporate and state sector can be applied to the treadmill of production theory which I will expand on in the following pages. Public health

50 Winson, Anthony, The Demand for Healthy Eating: Supporting a Transformative Food Movement, Rural Sociology Vol. 75, issue 4 (2010): 587, http://ehis.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.brooklyn.cuny.edu:2048/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=26ecdfd9-db52-413f-89ce0a76a48b57c4%40sessionmgr104&vid=6&hid=120. 20

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workers have been able to establish legislation requiring the listing of nutritional labels on food and drink. Winson also draws on another space for food activism- school- because they constitute a major site today for meeting the nutritional needs of children and youth.51 Sustainable Development

Various explanations and implementations of sustainable development exist in scholarly works. Some scholars argue for a transition in how sustainable development is typically defined and outline the barriers to achieving sustainable development. According to Agyeman, sustainability refers to the need to ensure a better quality of life for all, now and into the future, in a just and equitable manner, whilst living within the limits of supporting ecosystems.52 The concept of sustainable development is prevalent throughout my research because it explores the tradeoffs that exist between the environment, the economy and society. In order for a society to be sustainable, humans need to act within the means of their surrounding ecosystems where issues of social welfare and economic development are addressed. Sustainable development therefore needs to address the three pillars of sustainability: equity, environment and the economy, to ensure that our current and future needs are assessed within the limits of our ecosystems. Incorporating all these components allows us to conceptualize how our society impacts our natural environment. I have included a diagram that shows sustainable development as a composite of the 3 component areas: economic development, environment protection and social equality. See image 2 in appendix.53 Giddings, Hopwood and OBrien recognize that sustainable development is typically described as the intersection of society, economy and the environment. However, they argue that the
51 Ibid., 589. 52 Julian Agyeman, Robert D. Bullard and Bob Evans, Just Sustainabilities (London: Earthscan Publications Limited, 2003), 5. 53 Diagram provided by Kennedy, Louis, Sustainable Development, JUST ANOTHER WORDPRESS.COM SITE, http://louiskennedy.wordpress.com/2011/01/26/back-again/. 21

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three pillars, are not unified entities: rather they are fractures and multi-layered and can be considered at different spatial levels.54 Furthermore, they state that when negotiating sustainable development, it is the environment or the economy that is given priority.55 They feel that human life has been separated from the environment as well as from production and consumption resulting in a lack of awareness of where our products come from and how they are made.56 Therefore, they claim that sustainable development requires a new approach to how humans view the world which includes an interdisciplinary framework of the world.57 They suggest principles such as futurity, equity, participation and the importance of biodiversity which would, move society beyond present approaches based on monetary cost/benefit analysis or a utilitarian view that can justify the suffering of some by the benefits of others.58 Similarly, Welch believes that sustainability incorporates an interdisciplinary approach. Interdisciplinary methodology operates by formulating a complex problem, gathering insights from multiple disciplinary perspectives, and then critically evaluating and creatively combining them into a more holistic understanding.59 For example, there is a connection between social and environmental justice60 which can be analyzed further through implementing an interdisciplinary approach- an approach that must accompany any approach to sustainability.61
54 Bob Gibbings, Bill Hopwood and Geoff OBrien Environment, Economy and Society: Fitting Them Together Into Sustainable Development, Sustainable Development (2002): http://jpkc.swu.edu.cn/data/gjzrzygl/web %20prepare20110608/paper/Giddings%202002%20SD_4.pdf. 55 Ibid., 189. 56 Ibid., 195. 57 Ibid. 58 Ibid., 194. 59 Welch IV James, Sustainability and Social Development: An Integrative Examination, International Consortium for Social Development (2012): 57, http://content.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.brooklyn.cuny.edu:2048/pdf27_28/pdf/2012/SDV/01Jan12/71522467.pdf? T=P&P=AN&K=71522467&S=R&D=ssf&EbscoContent=dGJyMNHr7ESeprQ4y9f3OLCmr0qep7dSsqi4TbWWx WXS&ContentCustomer=dGJyMPGutFCyprVMuePfgeyx44Dt6fIA. 60McKinnon, J. (2008, September). Exploring the nexus between social work and the environment. Australian Social Work, 61(3), 256268. As stated in Ibid., 58. 61 Wall, G. (2010). On physics and engineering education in sustainability de- velopment. UNESCOs Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. Retrieved from http://www.eolss.net.As stated in Ibid. 22

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According to Hopwood, Mellor and OBrien, the concept of sustainable development is an attempt to combine growing concerns about a range of environmental issues with socio-economic issues.62 They look at our world as a model for sustainability.63 Hopwood, Mellor and OBrien outline the relationship between ecosystems and humans. The authors explain that humans rely on the earths natural resources, but human action has negatively impacted the planet.64 This is identified as environmental sustainability. Sustainability also relates to the economy where the concept of unlimited growth is challenged.65 The relationship between sustainability and corporations is also referenced by the authors. They state that many businesses hesitate to incorporate environmental strategies in their business plans because the initial investments needed to adapt sustainable methods are expensive. Corporations are a major stakeholder in sustainable development, and although government policies can provide incentives to corporations that are willing to be more responsible, those can act only as catalysts toward the more fundamental goal of transforming the business paradigm itself.66 Our current economic system views both people and nature as tools for economic productivity-- a perspective that infringes upon the implementation of sustainability. Castro highlights the differences between mainstream sustainable development and the critiques of mainstream perspectives by cultural theorists and ecological Marxists. Castro points out that currently, neither perspective is entirely true. A combined approach of both methods is needed that would challenge the current paradigm.67 In the mainstream approach to sustainable develop-

62 Bill Hopwood, Mary Mellor and Geoff OBrien, Sustainable Development: Mapping Different Approaches, Sustainable Development (2005): http://upenn-envs667660.webs.com/Readings/Sustainable%20Development %20-%20Mapping%20Different%20Approaches%20-%202009.pdf. 63 Ibid., 60. 64 Farrell & Hart 1998 page 6. Farrell, A., & Hart, M. (1998). What does sustainability really mean? The search for useful indicators. Environment, 40(9), 431. As stated in Ibid. 65 Ibid., 63. 66 Ibid. 67 Carlos J. Castro, Sustainable Development: Mainstream and Critical Perspectives, Organization Environment (2003): 195, http://oae.sagepub.com.ez-proxy.brooklyn.cuny.edu:2048/content/17/2/195.full.pdf. 23

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ment, governments decide what projects to implement based on cost benefit analysis.68 Critiques of the mainstream approach to sustainable development include both philosophical arguments (whether nature should be made into a commodity; whether nature is a subsystem of the economy) and methodological arguments (whether there is a way of setting a price on nature).69 Carlos opposes mainstream sustainable development and explains, The main shortcoming of the mainstream approach to sustainable development is that it is driven by the rapid accumulation requirements of the capitalist economy, which means that it is about sustaining development rather than developing sustainability in the ecological sense. The priority is to ensure that environmental conditions are managed so as to ensure maximum long-term capital accumulation (which necessitates rapid economic growth).70
How do we achieve urban sustainability/food justice?

Different activists strategies have been addressed in the literature with regard to how to attain urban sustainability and food justice. There is a major debate in environmental sociology about the relative merits of the Ecological Modernization approach and the Treadmill of Production approach. In this model, food justice is a subset of urban sustainability. The debate in how we achieve urban sustainability is rooted in both theories: the treadmill of production and the ecological modernization theory.
The Treadmill of Production

The treadmill of production is the central framework for explaining the relationship between production, capitalism and the environment. The theory emphasizes the development of a sociological understanding of society through understanding the constraints and choices within

68 Ibid., 205. 69 Burkett, 1999; Escobar, 1995, 1996; Foster, 2002b as stated in Ibid., 206. 70 Ibid., 220. 24

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which individuals and institutions exist71 for the purpose of formulating solutions. The theory was introduced in 1980 by Schnaiberg to answer the question, why U.S. environmental degradation had increased so rapidly after World War II.72 When this theory was introduced in the 1980s, American politics were conservative, as the Reagan Administration was not interested in social and environment theories like the treadmill. The treadmill refers to our economic system in which growth is the solution to social, ecological and economic disruptions. This theory links continuous economic growth to environmental degradation and the perpetuation of inequality. Actors in the treadmill of production also known as the growth coalition: the state, corporations and citizen- workers. The state is concerned with accumulation and legitimization; corporations with profit, reinvestment and technology; and citizens and workers need jobs, want consumer goods and need government aid when displaced. I have devised a diagram to demonstrate the relationship between the growth coalition, growth and their environmental impact. See image 3 in appendix. With Americas prosperous economy after WWII, an increase in available capital led to an increase in the need for natural resources with little to no consideration for future need. Opportunities for economic expansion seemed limitless. An increase in capital was being used to replace human labor with machine technology in order to increase profit. As the treadmill expanded so did the profit for the shareholders. As profit increased for the shareholders, so did their political power, which allowed them to promote the use of more technology, more natural resources and more energy. Gould et al. explain, The treadmill theory presented an image of a society running in place

71 Gould, Kenneth A., David N. Pellow and Allan Schnaiberg, Interrogating the Treadmill of Production Everything You Wanted to Know about the Treadmill but Were Afraid to Ask, Organization & Environment 17, no. 3 (2004), http://oae.sagepub.com.ez-proxy.brooklyn.cuny.edu:2048/content/17/3/317.abstract, 299. 72 Ibid. 25

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without moving forward.73 This demonstrates how truly unsustainable our economic model is. The path we are on requires continuous extraction of natural resources without regard for the impact this has on our environment. The impact of production on the worker is also considered. Gould et al. explain that even though machines were replacing workers, this capitalist system of production became synonymous with economic progress and therefore workers still felt it was necessary to support this process for the sake of social progress. Instead of workers becoming disillusioned with the system, they felt it was necessary to keep supporting it as more investment was made into the treadmill of production, instead of investing resources in reform.74 Any resistance to this change was labeled as antediluvian, Luddite, old-fashioned, reactionary, and doomed to failure.75 The treadmill of production theory allows us to look at our economic system as a system of inequality where the environment and the worker suffer and leaves us to question if we can reform our society while maintaining our capitalist system. Everything comes back to the economy because in a capitalist society it all comes down to capital. For each disruption that occurs, an adjustment is needed. All the adjustments that have typically been made are pro economic growth. Growth is a logical solution to all stakeholders in our economic system but it creates more disruptions than it does good. According to Schnaiberg, the logic of the treadmill is that of an ever-growing need for capital investment in order to generate a given volume of social welfare- a trickle-down model of socioeconomic development. From the environment, it requires growing inputs of energy and material to create a given level of socioeconomic welfare. When resources are constrained, the tread73 Gould, Kenneth A., David N. Pellow and Allan Schnaiberg, Interrogating the Treadmill of Production Everything You Wanted to Know about the Treadmill but Were Afraid to Ask, Organization & Environment 17, no. 3 (2004), http://oae.sagepub.com.ez-proxy.brooklyn.cuny.edu:2048/content/17/3/296.full.pdf+html, 297. 74 Ibid. 75 Ibid. 26

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mill searches for alternative sources rather than conserving and restructuring production. The treadmill operates in this way to maintain its profits and its social control over production.76 According to the treadmill theory, we know that as production increases extraction of resources increases and these withdrawals of resources lead to environmental problems that may result in the inability for production to keep expanding. This has been termed the socioenvironmental dialect because it explains the relationship between increased production and limited environmental resources. Schnaiberg has outlined three possible future outcomes within a range of social welfare situations that vary from very regressive to very progressive. Each of these is assumed to follow from a given change in social policy regarding the treadmill of production, though the connections are by no means definitive.77 The three options are broken down into economic, managed scarcity, and ecological, with the ecological option being the most beneficial and hardest to obtain. The main features of the economic model are explained through the continued production expansion, with future vulnerability with a future society likely to be authoritarian and unequal if environmental degradation increases quickly Managed scarcity can be explained as limited environmental protection: pollution control and recycling with persistence or expansion of present inequalities, with reduced production expansion. Lastly, ecological can be explained through appropriate technology and increased surplus share to labor and increased equalities and decreased commodity consumption and production.78 According to the theory, we are currently in the managed scarcity synthesis where we avoid the root causes of environmental degradation and focus on bandaging superficial disruptions with policies such as recycling.
76 Schnaiberg, Allan, The Environment: From Surplus to Scarcity, U.S.A.: Oxford University Press, 1980, 418. 77 Ibid., 424. 78 Ibid., 425. 27

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Although I believe we need to question our model of economic growth, this model can be critiqued for its reliance on a systemic transformation of our current economic model. This model contains limitations because it does not address approaches for reforming our current economic model rather explains why our current model is not sustainable. I am of the opinion that in addition to critiquing our current economic model, we need to establish concrete pathways to change. In addition, the treadmill of production focuses on production rather than consumption as the root of the problem. I think it is necessarily to address consumption as well in order to fully understand how economic growth impacts the environment.
Ecological Modernization Theory

In Contrast to the treadmill of production, the development of the ecological modernization theory symbolizes a transition away from other theories that were developed in the middle to late 20th century. EM theory is an environmental sociological perspective that challenges the treadmill of production because it assumes that sustainable growth is possible without exploring the contradictions that exist. This theory emerged in the 1980s in Europe by a group of scholars in Berlin. EM can be understood and applied as both a theoretical framework and as a map for understanding environmental policy. Rather than seeing environmental protection as a brake on growth, ecological modernization promotes the application of stringent environmental policy as a positive influence on economic efficiency and technological innovation (Gouldson and Murphy, 1997, p.74).79 Spaargaren and Mol state that ecological modernization can be interpreted as the ecological restructuring of processes of production and consumption80 This move, towards restructuring

79 Gerald Berger and others, Ecological Modernization as Basis for Environmental Policy: Current Environmental Discourse and Policy and the Implications on Environmental Supply Chain Management, Innovation Vol. 14, No. 1 (2001): 57-58, http://www.drkresearch.org/Research/Sustain/ecology_supplychainmgmt2001.pdf. 80 Adua, Lazarus, "The Ecological Modernization Reader: Environmental Reform in Theory and Practice - Edited by Arthur P. J. Mol, David A. Sonnenfeld, and Gert Spaargaren," Rural Sociology 76, no. 4 (December 2011): 582584, Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed April 7, 2012). 28

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the production and consumption of goods around the environment is considered good for the economy. According to the ecological modernization theory, the interests of the economy and the environment can be combined so that both benefit. This combination would result in what today know as green production and consumption. Other examples include increasing energy efficiency and using sustainable methods of supply chain management. By following these measures, industry and production can continue to strive as humans remove fewer resources from the environment and emit fewer pollutants into it. Todays Green production and consumption can also be understood according to Schnaibergs ecological synthesis as previously explained. This is because we are currently in the managed scarcity synthesis where green production and green consumption would be considered examples of green initiatives. Some scholars view EM as an optimistic alternative to the treadmill of production81 because it does not rely on a fundamental transformation of our economic system in order be successful. EM has a diverse set of applications and cannot be understood through only one meaning. Buttel has identified several usages for EM. One of its usages is a notion for depicting prevailing discourses of environmental policy.82 Another usage explains that EM is often used as a synonym for strategic environmental management, industrial ecology, eco-restructuring, and so on.83 Lastly, there are some scholars who use the notion of ecological modernization to pertain to almost any environmental policy innovation or environmental improvement.84 Mol states that, first, the most sophisticated and persuasive versions of ecological modernization revolve around the notion that political processes and practices are particularly critical in enabling ecological phenomena to be moved into the modernization process'' (Mol, 1995, p. 28).
81 Buttel, F.H., Ecological modernization as social theory, Geoforum 31 (2000): http://www.ic.ucsc.edu/~rlipsch/EE80S/Buttel.pdf. 82 Ibid., 58. 83 Ibid., 59. 84 Ibid., 60. 29

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EM theory as expressed by Mol demonstrates the belief that ecology efficiency can occur along with modernization and technological advances. This concept puts the responsibility for ecological protection in the hands of businesses and relies on the free market to moderate the inefficient use of resources. In opposition to the previous scholars, Connelly and Smith (1999)85 explain ecological modernization to be green capitalism86 that supports industrialization and our current societal practices while maintaining a basic view of sustainability- one that focuses solely on increasing economic wealth. Connelly and Smith also claim that through EM, more progressive forms of environmental reform and sustainable development are ignored. EM reduces environmental protection to being energy efficient, reducing pollution and to reducing waste- all issues that can be translated into money. This is explained as weak EM according to Christoff.87 A discourse is used to discuss the environment where we come to understand it through monetary terms. Stated simply, we only care about the environment when it can bring economic benefits, like cost savings or a competitive edge.88 I side with the scholars who are critical of EM theory. Environmental issues are included into the management of business operations only when there is legal or customer pressure from outside or possible financial benefits from environmentally sound actions.89 I believe that environmental degradation is not being addressed in a sustainable manor through EM theory because the continued consumption that is needed in order for businesses to profit will result in the continued extraction of natural resources. Corporations will only utilize practices that are environmentally favorable as long as those practices increase their profit. In addition, protecting our environment
85 Ibid., 61. 86 Ibid. 87 Ibid. 88 Ibid., 69. 89 Ibid., 70. 30

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extends beyond the soil and trees to urban landscapes and the workers and communities that dwell in them. While some businesses may be switching to a greener model of production, social justice issues such as working conditions and wages still need to be addressed. Methodology For my methodology I used available evidence that others have already gathered from various sources such as journals, scholarly articles, newspapers and research done by non-profit organizations in order to find out if Walmart can comply with food justice. While we cannot know right now what impact Walmart will have on East New York, we can look at other urban Walmart stores, as well as research that has been done, to see what the potential is. An example of what I have looked at is what happens to local businesses when Walmart moves into an urban area. I see East New York as a case study in the making for which past patterns of development will provide the data that will be used for judging the consequences. Urban Strategy The New York City Council had planned a hearing with Walmart in January 2011 where concerned residents would be able to go and discuss how they felt about Walmart coming to East New York. But according to Walmarts Director of Community Affairs, Steve Restivo, they [Walmart] do not understand the desire to spend time and resources on a hearing especially without a store or an announced project in the area.90 Regardless of whether Walmart has officially announced their plan for East New York or not, they are unwilling to be transparent about it or engage in a discussion about it. By the time Walmart officially announces its plan, it may be too late to stop them.

90 Hartley, Chris,Walmart to Open in East New York, Financialfeed, http://www.financialfeed.net/walmart-to-open-in-east-new-york/851166/. 31

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The question then arises, why is there so much contention over Walmart opening in the Gateway II shopping center where other big box stores like Target are already there? The following quote exemplifies how Walmart compares to other big box stores aided by a graph visually demonstrating how Walmart compares to other retailers in U.S grocery sales. See image 4 in appendix.91
When it comes to Walmarts annual revenue, Wal-Mart is nearly four times the size of the Home Depot, the country's second largest retailer, and almost twice the size of Target, Costco, and Sears (which includes Kmart) combined. That means the company exerts pressure on the entire sector to imitate its methods -- including its treatment of workers. That would be less worrisome if Wal-Mart's record didn't stand out within the sector. But there are strong indications that, when it comes to how it treats its employees, Wal-Mart really is worse than the rest.92

According to Erii Lowe, a resident of East New York, the potential jobs that Walmart would bring to the neighborhood would be good, even if they are low paying. As for food, Lowe considered Walmart to be another option, but not the only option. 93Additionally, 27 year old Sisco Boone from East New York said with the prices in their area too high, Walmart prices would be good and will bring more jobs.94 But not everyone agrees. Ana Aguierre, the executive director of United Community Centers in East New York said, I really dont believe that Walmart will resolve our unemployment issues. It may give the impression that it resolves them, maybe in the short term, but at the end I think that Walmart is part of the problem.95
91 The information came from Kroll, Andy, CHARTS: Just How Big is Walmart? Mother Jones, http://motherjones.com/environment/2012/03/walmart-sales-energy-use-statistics. 92 T.A Frank, A Brief History of Wal-Mart, http://reclaimdemocracy.org/walmart/2006/history.php. 93 White B. Jeremy, Would Walmart hurt East New York? The Brooklyn Ink, http://thebrooklynink.com/2011/03/08/23869-would-walmart-be-bad-for-east-new-york/. 94 Ibid. 95 Ibid. 32

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Bill Wilkins, the director of economic development for the Local Development Corporation of East New York feels that people will still shop at local stores if they are more convenient and have things that Walmart doesnt. While the small local businesses believe that Walmart will shut them down, people in East New York claim that the small businesses charge too much for their products. While it is still unclear whether Walmart will open in East New York and what effect it will have on the community, the opinions of the residents and community leaders are crucial and must be heard. Walmart opened its first small urban store, Walmart Express in Chicagos Chatham neighborhood in July 2011 with the hope that their newly designed urban store will be successful and will spread throughout the country. This new design is a part of Walmarts urban strategy and was designed by Walmart to compete with smaller urban stores that offer groceries and general merchandise.96 Even though a Walmart supercenter opened in Chicago in 2006, Walmart Express is Walmarts first small store in the city. There are already plans to build three larger size Walmart stores and two more supercenters in the Chicago area. Next spring, a Walmart supercenter will be opening up in the same area as the Walmart Express creating the same cannibalization and saturation that caused Walmart to have to leave the rural and suburban sector. In September 2011, Walmart Market opened in Chicagos West Loop area at the Presidential Towers apartment complex. Walmart is optimistic about their urban locations but have still expressed some concern because, it costs more to open a store in a city than a rural area and rents can be two to three times more expensive.97 The store is 27,000 square feet and larger than the Walmart Express is West Chatham. This Walmart offers a variety of products including groceries

96 Josh Kellermann and Stephanie Luce, The Walmartization of New York City, ALIGN and Murphy Institute/CUNY, http://www.alignny.org/posts/resource/2011/09/the-walmartization-of-new-york-city/, 3. 97 Wohl, Jessica, Walmart Express hits Chicago, Reuters, http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/26/uswalmart-express-idUSTRE76P7DY20110726. 33

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and beauty supplies as well as a pharmacy. Walmarts executive vice president Tom Mars, called the retail super-chains planned Chicago expansion an Urban Retail Revolution, planning for eight stores within city limits, in addition to 59 in the surrounding Chicagoland area.98 This further demonstrates that when Walmart opens one store, plans exist to open up additional stores in close proximity. Although Walmart has already entered urban markets in Chicago, NYC is still a desired target. According to Walmarts vice chairman Eduardo Castro Wright, Walmart stood to increase its sales between $80 and $100 billion through expansion into urban markets99 In the first half of 2011, Walmart already spent $2.1 million on lobbying expenses in NY, which is over six times as much as theyve spent in the past four years combined.100 Even though Walmart has not released plans for an official New York City store, it is clear that they are working hard to gain support for a NYC store. Not only does Walmart need to enter the urban market in order to increase sales, they have to gain support from city officials and organizations who they usually face opposition from. The Alliance for Greater New York (ALIGN) put out a report called The Walmartization of NYC, in which they detailed the impact that Walmart would have on New York City and explain that Walmart needs to move into the urban market because they have already saturated the rural and suburban markets.101 ALIGN explained that Walmart would have to build 159 stores in NYC in order to achieve their national market share.102 What reaching market share means is that

98 Chicagos First Walmart Market Opens Downtown, Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/21/chicagos-first-walmart-ma_n_974136.html. 99 As stated in The Walmartization of New York City Eduardo Castro Wright, from Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. 16th Annual Meeting for the Investment Community, Transcript of Day 2, Session 6, p. 19, 10/22/2009, 2. 100 Ibid. 101 Ibid. 102 Josh Kellermann and Stephanie Luce, The Walmartization of New York City, ALIGN and Murphy Institute/CUNY, http://www.alignny.org/posts/resource/2011/09/the-walmartization-of-new-york-city/. 34

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Walmart controls 21 percent of the grocery market share where for every $5 dollars spent on groceries in the U.S, $1 is spent on Walmart. According to ALIGN, 159 Walmart stores in NYC would mean a net loss of nearly 4000 jobs, over $350 million in lost wages, over 4000 Walmart associates in need of public assistance, costing $4 million in taxpayer dollars for health benefits alone.103 The 159 Walmart stores would most likely be broken down into 11 Walmart Supercenters, 34 Walmart Markets, and 114 Walmart Express stores. The 159 stores would need to be built in NYC to reach the 21 percent market share. Broken down by boroughs, there would be 27 in the Bronx, 48 in Brooklyn, 31 in Manhattan, 43 in Queens and 10 in Staten Island. Brooklyn would lose 1160 jobs.104 Furthermore, if one of these stores is built in East New York, it is anticipated by ALIGN that 105 local retail stores will be shut down. In order for Walmart to be successful they would have to open up stores all over the city and dominate the market which is an issue that has been left out of the conversation surrounding Walmarts move to New York. Allowing Walmart into East New York means allowing Walmart into all of NYC because that would be the only way for them to succeed. Walmart has strategically crafted a relationship with black America focusing particularly on the opening of Walmart on the West Side of Chicago in the Austin community. For the first time, they hired a black woman named Margaret Garner to build their store. Walmart hoped that Garner would be able to facilitate both the construction of the store and the relationship with residents of the community where the store would be built. Walmart began looking on the West Side of Chicago in 2003, an area plagued with high levels of unemployment. A Walmart in that location would

103 Ibid. 104 Ibid. 35

A Break Down of Walmarts Urban Food Strategy: Using Three Analytic Perspectives

offer job opportunities where the unemployment rate for black men was 11.8 percent, double the unemployment rate of white men.105 By working with low income African Americans, Walmart hopes to gain support for their move into the urban sector. Across the country, Walmart has been campaigning for the support of urban black communities by Donating to the United Negro College Fund and writing checks for several black congressmen.106 According to Jesse Jackson, Employment and development must go hand in hand. We need work where you can have a livable wage and health insurance, and retirement.107 Some residents of the 37th ward expressed hope that Walmart would give them the opportunity to show everyone that their kids are not lazy, they want to work. When it comes to the possibility of employing residents, issues like low wages, discrimination and health care didnt seem as important to the community. The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) is one of the unions battling Walmart and its entrance into NYC. The union battle over Walmart is complicated and divides have emerged. When Walmart was granted approval to enter into Chicagos urban market, Walmart used unionized construction workers to build the store. As a result, the Chicago building trades supported Walmart while other unions still opposed it and thus created a rift between those who support Walmart and those who dont. One of the lessons learned from this was that a union has to be able to mobilize members.108 According to Jennifer Stapelton the assistant director of the UFCWs Making Change at Walmart campaign said, Wal-Mart wants to talk about everything else the progressive community cares about but not how it treats workers,109 even though they claim to be a
105 Coates, Ta-Nehisi Paul, and Bill Saporito, "Wal-Mart's Urban Romance," Time 166, no. 10 (September 5, 2005): 44-49. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed September 19, 2011). 106 Ibid. 107 Ibid. 108 Liza Featherstone, Fighting Back- What the unions have learned-and what they may still need to learn- about fighting Wal-Marts expansion, The American Prospect, May 2011, p. A20. 109 Ibid., A21. 36

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better company today than in the past because of their move towards using renewable energy and decreasing its greenhouse gas emissions. The economic recession is making it more difficult for union groups like the UFCW to deny Walmart entry into New York City. The urban poor are far more desperate for jobs and low prices. Wal-Mart has dramatically escalated charitable giving in the cities its trying to enter, especially to organizations fighting hunger- a problem that has taken on new urgency with so many out of work.110 Unlike what analysts had predicted, an economic recession proved to be devastating for Walmart because their customers could no longer afford to make the high volume purchases adding to the severity of their move into the urban sector. Analysis of Walmart: The Treadmill of Production and Ecological Modernization Theory Although the treadmill of production explains how our economic system is degrading our environment and the ecological modernization theory explains how our economic system can work to benefit the environment, Walmart is very much a part of both theories. It is important to look at both theories in order to gain a better understanding into how our economic system impacts the environment and leads corporations to make decisions based solely on profit. Through exploring the contradictions that exist in EM theory, we are brought back to the model of our society that has been set up by the treadmill of the production and the growth coalition. To put it simply, environmental protection will exist only to the extent that it benefits businesses bottom line. It is through looking at the two theories in conjunction with one another that Walmarts business model can be best understood. From looking at the theories I have discussed, one can see why businesses such as Walmart favor this transition to green production because their triple bottom line (economics, society and
110 Ibid., A21. 37

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environment) is being met, not challenged through ideas of consumption and our market based system. Walmarts business practices increase the inequality in our society and contribute to the over use of our natural resources. Walmart follows the treadmill of production as it is continuously expanding its stores to increase profit. But near saturation, Walmart is learning that their supercenters may not always be better as they seek to create alternatives to their superstores as a way to expand. Walmart also exemplifies our economic system, one that operates under the premise of profit over justice and has built its corporation on capitalist ideals. In order to for Walmart to continue making a profit, they need to continuously increase the productivity of their workers. As the workers productivity is increased, the treadmill is accelerated. Walmart demands more labor from its workers where work is often completed after hours without pay and Walmart hires more part time workers to avoid benefits such as healthcare and paying full time salary. In both scenarios, Walmart wins. Walmarts shareholders are invested in the continuous success of Walmart because the more successful Walmart becomes, the more powerful its shareholders become. As Walmarts shareholders power increases, that power is used to promote Walmart and the benefits the store provides to society. Recently, Walmarts stock and their profit have taken a hit and consequentially, their investors have been reluctant to invest. This was the result of Walmarts saturation of its current suburban and rural markets. Walmarts move to the urban sector is their next attempt to keep the treadmill running. If Walmart cannot continue to increase its production, its expansion and its profit than it will fail. This is because our economic system has constructed the continuous increase of production to be the solution to our problems instead of the cause of our problems- Walmart has created the same image.

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Walmarts current green campaign with their pledge to be more sustainable through reducing gas emissions and increasing its energy efficiency are promises made due to the cost savings it will have for the corporation simultaneously benefiting the environment. EM proposes business as usual for capitalism and Walmart is in compliance with this theory. If being sustainable results in a decrease to Walmarts bottom line, they will no longer pledge to be sustainable. Through the EM framework, the need to protect the environment exists only to save businesses money and therefore the environment is understood through monetary terms in so far as it can either cost or save money for businesses. Walmarts growth coalition consists of Walmart the corporation, the government that supports Walmart, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg111 and First Lady Michelle Obama, and the workers who need jobs. Walmarts role in the growth coalition is simple- they want to increase their market share in order to increase their profit. Michelle Obama has been a leading advocate of Walmart as she has teamed up with them on her Lets Move campaign to promote healthy eating in an attempt to end childhood obesity.112 This is an ironic relationship considering the criticism President Obama has had of Walmart in the past but today, all seems to be forgotten. Walmart, the largest source of sugar in the nation and consequentially a predominate contributor to both childhood and adult obesity can advocate for healthy eating and can reduce the amount of sugar and sodium in their heavily processed products but when its all for their bottom line, Walmart will continue to build strategic relationships to gain support for their urban move. By avoiding some of the root causes of obesity in the country such as high priced fruits and vegetables and subsidized processed foods, neither Walmart nor Michelle Obama will be making America healthier anytime
111 Walmart In New York City Gets Support of Mayor Bloomberg, The Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/06/walmart-in-new-york-city-_n_1131512.html. 112 Michelle Obama and Walmart Join Forces Promoting Healthy Food, ABC News, http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/WorldNews/michelle-obama-walmart-join-forces-promote-healthy-eating/story? id=12723177#.T6qNEO3PeH8. 39

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soon. Instead of the state working as a middle man between the treadmill and society like it is supposed to, the state works to accelerate the treadmill in the hope of avoiding political conflict.113 Workers, and the subsequent environmental problems that result from the continuous extraction of resources to fulfill Walmarts bottom line are often dislocated in the growth coalition. Workers, like the corporation and the government, have a vested interest in increased growth, but this growth also disadvantages the worker. When Walmart enters a market, the net effect is to reduce local employment, reduce area rates and total payroll, eliminate other businesses, and raise poverty rates.114 Compared to a cashiers hourly wage at Costco which is $15.50, Walmarts warehouse club, Sams Club, pays its cashiers an hourly wage of $9.48.115 One of the ways that Walmart is able to cut costs is through hiring a large workforce of part-time workers who are advised to go on government supported welfare. This relates to one of the roles of the government as outlined by the treadmill of production--legitimization. The governments role of legitimization is strengthened through providing services like unemployment in exchange for votes. The government demonstrates its support for Walmart through this exchange. Some examples of how legitimization can be achieved is through fear, popular support or elections.116 With urban residents in need of employment, Walmart is seen by some as a good job source when the reality is Walmart increases poverty rates instead of raising a community out of poverty. Its pretty easy to promise competitive wages in neighborhoods with more than 20 percent unemployment- there isnt any competition.117

113 Schnaiberg, Allan, The Environment: From Surplus to Scarcity, U.S.A.: Oxford University Press, 1980, 418. 114 Moberg, David, How Wal-Mart Shapes the World, The American Prospect, 4. 115 Ibid., 6. 116 Truth, Honesty and Justice: The Alternative to Wars, Terrorism and Politics, http://www.shamsali.org/taj/legitimacy.html. 117 Liza Featherstone, Fighting Back- What the unions have learned-and what they may still need to learn- about fighting Wal-Marts expansion, The American Prospect, May 2011, 21. 40

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The environment faces the most vulnerability due to the solution of more economic growth according to the treadmill of production model. Our economy and social systems, including the production, distribution and consumption of goods all impact the environment and its limited amount of natural resources. The treadmill of production, including the growth coalition and its impact on the environment, can be tied into my food justice lens because our current food system also serves as a model of the treadmill of production where growth is viewed as the solution instead of looking at sustainable solutions. Now we have an interlinked economic system and a food system that serve as unsustainable processes for moving into the future. The food justice model emphasizes the importance of equity at every step of the food chain but with workers being exploited and our natural resources being depleted, Walmart does not comply with food justice criteria and serves as an unsustainable model according to all three pillars of sustainability- social, ecological and economic. Walmarts shareholders are invested in the continuous success of Walmart because the more successful Walmart becomes, the more powerful its shareholders become. As Walmarts shareholders power increases, that power is used to promote Walmart and the benefits the store provides to society. This process is outlined by the treadmill. Recently, Walmarts stock and their profit have taken a hit and consequentially, their investors have been reluctant to invest. This was the result of Walmarts saturation of its current suburban and rural markets. Walmarts move to the urban sector is their next attempt to keep the treadmill running. If Walmart cannot continue to increase its production, its expansion and its profit than it will fail. This is because our economic system has constructed the continuous increase of production to be the solution to our problems instead of the cause of our problems- Walmart has created the same image.

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Walmarts current green campaign can be understood through the four applications of EM, ecological modernization as technological adjustment, ecological modernization as a belief system, ecological modernization as policy discourse, and ecological modernization and environmental policy making,118 as stated previously. Walmarts pledge to be more sustainable through reducing gas emissions and increasing its energy efficiency are promises made due to the cost savings it will have for the corporation simultaneously benefiting the environment. EM proposes business as usual for capitalism and Walmart is in compliance with this theory. If being sustainable results in a decrease to Walmarts bottom line, they will no longer pledge to be sustainable. Through the EM framework, the need to protect the environment exists only to save businesses money and therefore the environment is understood through monetary terms in so far as it can either cost or save money for businesses. Analysis of Walmart: Illusion of Going Green Given my analysis, it is apparent that Walmart is doing what is best for their bottom line, not for food justice or for sustainability. Their green initiative serves as a distraction from their other unjust business practices. Since food justice and sustainability incorporate a social justice framework, Walmart does not comply with the standards that have been outlined in the literature review as food justice criteria or sustainable measures. The following table outlines Walmarts pledges for a more just and sustainable food system and what the realities of those pledges look like. The quotes were all taken directly from Walmarts corporate website,119 and the information from the reality section comes from a report by Food & Water Watch.120

118 Ibid. 119 See bibliography for web addresses. 120 The information from the reality section was taken from a Food & Water Watch report entitled Why Walmart Cant Fix the Food System. A link to this report can be found in the bibliography. 42

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What Walmart Pledges

The Reality

Walmart is using this model to cut their costs by reducing Offering local produce has money spent on fuel for transbeen a Walmart priority for portation. Due to the quantity years, and were taking it to a of food Walmart needs to purnew level with a pledge to chase, buying local does not grow our partnerships with lo- mean supporting local farmers cal farmers. or small food producers. Walmart defines local as food purchased within the same state as the store. Walmarts goal of doubling the amount of locally grown produce sold by 2015 means increasing their sale of local food (as defined by Walmart) by a combined 9 percent of produce sold in all of the stores. Sell More Organic Products Walmart announced in 2006 that it would double the numThrough sustainable agricul- ber of organic produce on its ture, Walmart is uniquely posi- shelves. Their definition of ortioned to make a positive dif- ganic includes organic verference in food production -- sions of processed foods such for farmers, communities and as Rice Krispies and Kraft customers. Our efforts will macaroni and cheese. Walhelp increase farmer incomes, mart views organic products lead to more efficient use of as a way to attract wealthier pesticides, fertilizer and water, consumers, not as a better and provide fresher produce agricultural model. For Walfor our customers. mart, it is always about pricewhere factory farming is favored- not organic standards.

Buy More Local Produce

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What Walmart Pledges

The Reality

Increase Sustainability

Walmart said it would try to create zero waste, use 100 Investing in renewable energy percent renewable energy and spurs innovation, provides sell more ecofriendly products. jobs, helps protect the environ- This is about cutting costs and ment and reduces costs. winning over critics. Walmart will only follow through with initiatives to the extent that it saves the company money. Walmart has put the responsibility for going green onto its suppliers costing them more money while Walmart takes the credit. Supply Food Deserts With Healthy Food This is a public relations tactic in order to gain support for Walmarts urban move. PlacBy opening stores where cus- ing a big box store in an urban tomers need them most, Wal- community does not solve the mart will help build healthier complexity of food access esfamilies and stronger commu- pecially due to the unsustainnities. able practices of Walmart. The Walmart model of making farmers and workers poorer by driving down costs is not the solution to areas with limited access to healthy food. Conclusion and Implications Walmart may be on a healthy food offensive121 but one that might not be good from the food justice and social justice perspective. With the support of political leaders like Michelle Oba121 Robert Gottlieb and Anupama Joshi, Food Justice (U.SA.: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2010). 44

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ma and Mayor Bloomberg, Walmart said it will reduce by 25% the salt content and by 10% the sugar content in its processed products in the next five years. It will lower the price of its fruit and vegetables by driving unnecessary costs from its supply chain. 122 And that it would build new Wal-Mart stores in underserved communities or food deserts.123 Walmart is trying to transform its image from being the problem with our food system to the solution to it, but as long as they need to dominate the market in order to make a profit, Walmart cannot meet their own stated goals. It is necessary to look at the policy implications surrounding food and food availability because those that are most effected by policy are often the ones who have the least say in the decision making process, such as low income minority populations with little representation in government. Policy needs to reflect the needs of its already vulnerable citizens instead of making an already vulnerable situation worse. Policy would also address the lack of supermarkets in low income areas and discuss incentivized ways to bring supermarkets into such communities as well as incorporating healthy and fresh produce into already existing retail locations. Success can also be achieved through partnerships that provide school students with healthy food and nutrition education. Some methods of increasing food access include: local farmers working with bodegas to offer fresh affordable produce, increasing community involvement in decision making processes and supporting grass root community based alternatives to growing food. Walmarts move into the urban sector- as a result of having saturated rural and suburban markets- is essential in order to boost their sales, where hundreds of new stores could potentially open in New York City. Without a change in their business model, Walmart will only find itself in the same predicament in the future- desperate to tackle a new market. This is a social justice issue, a component of food justice and sustainability because Walmart negatively impacts the neighbor122 Ibid. 123 Ibid. 45

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hoods it moves into by driving out the other businesses in the area and by- contrary to popular belief- actually reducing employment options. Walmart needs to dominate the market in order to make a profit. This leads to the exploitation of workers and producers in the food chain and therefore Walmart is not aiding in transforming our food system. Even though they may be working with local farmers, Walmart still needs to make sure that they are making the most money possible. By selling their food for as cheaply as possible, somewhere within growing the food, producing the food, transporting the food and distributing the food, there will be inequity. Working within the frameworks of food justice and sustainability does not require an end to profit seeking in itself, but it does require business reform based on how that profit seeking negatively impacts society and the environment like in the case of Walmart. Although Walmart has taken positive steps to provide local fresh produce, in order for Walmart to sell fresh local produce cheaply, people involved will be exploited through the payment of non livable wages and through the denial of full time employment. Walmart needs to assess not only what it is selling but where it is coming from and who has access to it. Walmart has therefore become the better of two evils - a Walmart store versus minimal access to fresh affordable produce- but Walmart is not the solution to our broken food system. While we cannot know how Walmart will impact East New York specifically, by looking at other urban Walmart locations such as Chicago, we can predict that the implications of a Walmart in East New York would include the closing of small retailer stores, the reduction in employment, increased traffic and congestion and further descent into poverty. Instead of looking for sustainable solutions to food access in underserved communities, it is likely that Walmart will merely place a band aid over the problems with our food system. By allowing Walmart into East New York, we

46

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would be placing a band aid over much larger issues. Instead of looking for sustainable solutions to fixing our food system, we allow ourselves to be distracted by promises made by Walmart that only serve to promote their bottom line and perpetuate our industrial agricultural model that exploits food chain workers and diminishes the health of our nation.

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%3Fq0%3Dfood%2Bdeserts%253A%2Btowards%2Bthe%2Bdevelopment%2Bof%2Ba %2Bclassification%2B%26f0%3Dall%26c1%3DAND%26q1%3D%26f1%3Dall%26acc%3Don %26wc%3Don%26Search%3DSearch%26sd%3D%26ed%3D%26la%3D%26jo %3D&prevSearch=&item=1&ttl=1046&returnArticleService=showFullText. Slocum, Rachel. Race in the study of food. Progress in Human Geography Vol. 35, issue 3 (2011): http://ehis.ebscohost.com.ez-proxy.brooklyn.cuny.edu:2048/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer? sid=0db8e622-3b00-4ba7-9fef-fb8a5a010054%40sessionmgr114&vid=4&hid=120. Steven Cummins and Sally Macintyre. Food Deserts: Evidence and Assumptions in Health Policy Making. British Medical Journal. August 24, 2002. Vol. 325, No. 7361. http://www.jstor.org/stable/25452163. T.A Frank. A Brief History of Wal-Mart. April 2006. http://reclaimdemocracy.org/walmart/2006/history.php. Thabit, Walter. how East New York became a ghetto. New York and London: New York University Press, 2003. Truth, Honesty and Justice: The Alternative to Wars, Terrorism and Politics, http://www.shamsali.org/taj/legitimacy.html. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). 2009. Report to Congress: Access to Affordable and Nutritious Food: Measuring and Understanding Food Deserts and Their Consequence. Washington, DC: ERS/FNS/CSREES. United Way of New York City. Mapping Poverty in New York City: Pinpointing the impact of poverty, community by community. http://www.cssny.org/userimages/downloads/Mapping_booklet.pdf. Walker, E.,Renee, Christopher R. Keane and Jessica G Burke. Disparities and Access to Healthy Food in the United States: A Review of Food Deserts Literature. Health and Place. September 2010. Vol. 16, Issue 5. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1353829210000584. Walmart In New York City Gets Support of Mayor Bloomberg. The Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/06/walmart-in-new-york-city-_n_1131512.html. Welch IV James. Sustainability and Social Development: An Integrative Examination. International Consortium for Social Development (2012): 57. http://content.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.brooklyn.cuny.edu:2048/pdf27_28/pdf/2012/SDV/01Jan12/71522467.pdf? T=P&P=AN&K=71522467&S=R&D=ssf&EbscoContent=dGJyMNHr7ESeprQ4y9f3OLCmr0qep 7dSsqi4TbWWxWXS&ContentCustomer=dGJyMPGutFCyprVMuePfgeyx44Dt6fIA. Winson, Anthony. The Demand for Healthy Eating: Supporting a Transformative Food Movement. Rural Sociology Vol. 75, issue 4 (2010): 587. http://ehis.ebscohost.com.ez-

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A Break Down of Walmarts Urban Food Strategy: Using Three Analytic Perspectives

proxy.brooklyn.cuny.edu:2048/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=26ecdfd9-db52-413f-89ce0a76a48b57c4%40sessionmgr104&vid=6&hid=120. White B., Jeremy. Would Walmart hurt East New York? The Brooklyn Ink. http://thebrooklynink.com/2011/03/08/23869-would-walmart-be-bad-for-east-new-york/ . Wohl, Jessica. Walmart Express hits Chicago. Reuters. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/26/us-walmart-express-idUSTRE76P7DY20110726 http://walmartstores.com/aboutus/297.aspx http://walmartstores.com/ http://walmartstores.com/AboutUs/ http://walmartstores.com/pressroom/news/10376.aspx http://walmartstores.com/pressroom/news/8414.aspx http://walmartstores.com/pressroom/news/10816.aspx http://walmartstores.com/pressroom/news/10635.aspx

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A Break Down of Walmarts Urban Food Strategy: Using Three Analytic Perspectives

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A Break Down of Walmarts Urban Food Strategy: Using Three Analytic Perspectives

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A Break Down of Walmarts Urban Food Strategy: Using Three Analytic Perspectives

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A Break Down of Walmarts Urban Food Strategy: Using Three Analytic Perspectives

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A Break Down of Walmarts Urban Food Strategy: Using Three Analytic Perspectives

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