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    Wal-Mart Gives Over $500K to Sustainability Center

    The retail foundation's grant will allow the center to study ways to meet consumer and grocer demand for local and regional food products.

    The Wal-Mart Foundation has made a grant of $549,976 to the Applied Sustainability Center at the University of Arkansas, to create a sustainable food system that links small producers with large markets.

    The center will launch an initiative called Agile Agriculture, which will focus on enhancing profitability for existing and potential sellers and buyers in ways that create more sustainable agricultural systems, according to the center officials.

    "The Applied Sustainability Center will implement Agile Agriculture to take the lead in removing greenhouse gas emissions and improving other aspects of environmental performance in food supply chains while creating business value for growers and marketers," said Jon Johnson, executive director of the Applied Sustainability Center.

     "There is a large, mostly unmet, demand for local and regional food products across the United States," said Michele Halsell, managing director of the center. "This demand is driven on the consumer side by a desire to support local economies, reduce food transportation miles, promote sustainable growing practices, and consume fresher products. Distributors and retailers are motivated by rapidly increasing transportation costs and a desire to reduce waste of expired produce and other perishable products."

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