Chalk this up to things that we never thought we would see: Just a few months after announcing plans to double the sales of fresh produce sourced from local farms in U.S. locations by the end of 2015, Walmart has offered up $2 million to help food banks become more energy efficient.
The Walmart Foundation announced this week that the cash will help 16 food banks in food-insecure areas across the U.S.–including Food Bank for New York City, Oregon Food Bank, and Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank–upgrade to more energy-efficient lighting, refrigeration, heating, and air-conditioning equipment. According to Walmart, the money will help food banks save over $625,000 in energy costs, or enough to buy 390,000 pounds of food.
“These grants underscore Walmart’s commitment to lead on both hunger relief and sustainability,” said Margaret McKenna, president of the Walmart Foundation, in a statement. “Every dollar these food banks save on energy costs is another dollar they can use to help meet the hunger needs of their local communities.”
In addition to injecting food banks with cash and doubling sales of fresh produce, Walmart also plans to sell $1 billion in food sourced from one million small and medium
farmers, provide sustainable skills training to one million farm workers , and invest over $1
billion in its global fresh food supply chain over the next five years. Walmart may never offer the same selection as your local farmer’s market, but the chain is at least increasing access to fresh food across the country.