Celebrating Ag Day with Gratitude and an Eye Toward the Future of Food

By Tres Bailey
March 25, 2014
Live Better: Al Hooks Thumbnail
In honor of National Agriculture Day, I want you to meet Al Hooks, a third-generation farmer from Shorter, Alabama. We first met Al through our work to support local Alabama farmers, in partnership with Tuskegee University. He grows and supplies kale, mustard, strawberries and other fresh fruits and vegetables to Walmart stores in his area. One day, he’ll pass along his farm to his son, Demetrius.

Al reminds us that behind every piece of fresh produce we sell and every dinner table nationwide, there’s a story about the food we’re eating.  Ag Day is a perfect time to celebrate where our food comes from and appreciate those working in agriculture. At Walmart, we’re proud to partner with the dedicated farmers across America who plant, grow, harvest and package foods like high quality protein, fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains that make the centerpiece of family dinner tables.  

Without their hard work, commitment and burden of risk, families simply wouldn’t have access to fresh, affordable, high quality and sustainably produced foods.

In an era of the 24/7 digital news cycle, consumers have more information and more questions about where their food comes from. They’re also more disconnected than ever from the realities of what it takes to get milk from the dairy to the grocery store, or to get the wheat from the field, to the miller, the baker and finally a store shelf. Ag Day is a great time to tell consumers about how their food is produced, and to applaud the hundreds of thousands of farm families like Al’s who dedicate their lives to feeding, fueling and even clothing ours.

This is also an important time of year to celebrate how much agriculture has improved over the years to become more sustainable, improve yields and feed more people. Put simply, if we have a couple of billion more mouths to feed around the world in 35 years, then agriculture isn't going anywhere but up. I have faith that American agriculture will rise to the challenge and produce more food in sustainable ways by optimizing inputs, lessening the impact on our resources and handing the next generation something better than what they started with. 
 

In today’s increasingly global marketplace, I believe there's room for everyone. Large and small. Organic and conventional. Local or not. Farmers markets or supermarkets. Collectively, we can help ensure that we produce enough quality food. And that families like Al’s can continue to grow for generations to come.  Happy National Agriculture Day.