how local IS that?

does anyone else have a near panic attack trying to choose between organic apples grown in california and the other apples that are just marked as “local?” this stuff really stresses me out.. it’s difficult to make an ethical choice when you know you probably shouldn’t trust a label.

so we know “organic” has some shady definitions, what does “local” mean? well, it depends on the store! grocers want to appeal to our preferences for local foods, but looking at the breakdown below of how supermarkets we all shop at define local sheds light on just how broadly defined local foods are.

i still think buying local is important. what’s REALLY important is to sustain small farmers from your state. especially since they can rarely sell through these big chains.

Walmart: If produce is grown within 450 miles of distribution centers, it’s considered “local.” However, if the produced is highlighted on the sales floor as “local,” it must have been grown in-state.

Whole Foods: If produce has traveled less than seven hours by car or truck, it’s “local.”

Wegmans: If produce is grown in-state, it’s “local.”

Harris Teeter: If produce is grown in-state, it’s “local.” If it’s grown out of state but traveled less than six hours from farm to store, it’s “regional.”

Giant did not return a request for information.


  • A&P: grown within New York and New Jersey, according to a company representative
  • Kroger (and subsidiaries): the term “local” can refer to produce grown in the same state or region
  • Safeway: produce is only local if it can reach the store in less than an eight hour drive
  • Sweetbay Super Market: Within the state
  • Publix: Local produce comes from the five states within which the stores are located (Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina and Alabama)

How ‘local’ is that produce at your local grocer? – The Market Report |


2 thoughts on “how local IS that?

  1. Wow! So interesting. Thanks for bringing light to this issue. I never realized that “local” had so many different definitions.

  2. from my friend ben who studies food systems and urban planning at UPENN:
    the really challenging with state-wide “local” designations is the funny shape of states. So if my corn comes from the Eastern Shore of VA all the way to SW VA, it’s like 500 miles. Granted, better than 5,000. But, more troubling is that inter-state local totally loses out. For instance, the closest cities for famers in SW VA are in Kentucky and Tennessee… well within 500 miles. But they wouldn’t be considered “local” because it’s not a within-VA transaction…

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