Our 22nd anniversary is just a few short weeks away. This past year we have continued to be on pace with trending products and categories, launching new foods in our Deli, working with more small businesses, and creating more opportunities to interact with our community. As your local health food store, we take our role as a leader in the field of health seriously. We understand that our mission is contingent upon several factors, one of which is a healthy environment. That's where Sarah comes in.
The Healthy Grocer is very committed to reducing food waste. Our produce staff work hard to manage quality. Our floor staff is on top of watching for products nearing their best buy date. Our kitchen staff does a fantastic job of controlling food waste. What we can't use or sell, we donate to Helping Hands Ministries who feed the homeless and impoverished in downtown Harrisburg.
Chef Sarah is passionate about food, and that includes the many aspects of growing, harvesting, and reducing waste. When she pitched the idea of composting, we knew it was a no-brainer. All we needed to figure out was logistics. Being able to further reduce food waste, whether it is leaf scraps, carrot ends, onion skins, coffee grinds, egg shells, and give them a new purpose- that's a winning idea.
According to MakeDirtNotWaste.org, "Composting is an effective way to reduce greenhouse gases. By composting, the generation of greenhouse gases, particularly methane, is avoided." 1
The EPA shares that composting benefits include:
"Organic waste in landfills generates, methane, a potent greenhouse gas. By composting wasted food and other organics, methane emissions are significantly reduced.
Compost reduces and in some cases eliminates the need for chemical fertilizers.
Compost promotes higher yields of agricultural crops.
Compost can help aid reforestation, wetlands restoration, and habitat revitalization efforts by improving contaminated, compacted, and marginal soils.
Compost can be used to remediate soils contaminated by hazardous waste in a cost effective manner.
Compost can capture and destroy 99.6 percent of industrial volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) in contaminated air.
Compost can provide cost savings over conventional soil, water and air pollution remediation technologies, where applicable.
Compost enhances water retention in soils.
Compost provides carbon sequestration."2
With limited space and making sure we stay in good standing with our neighbors (by not attracting area animals and insects), Sarah had some planning to do. Thanks to Sarah's passion and farmer Mike, a solution was found. Earth Spring Farms in Carlisle, PA agreed to accept daily drop-off's of our compost collection to use on their farm. Sarah, being an environmental advocate, implemented this project immediately, making almost daily deliveries to Earth Spring Farms. While this project is still in its infancy, Sarah estimates The Healthy Grocer is currently composting approximately 335 lbs of food scraps per week. That's over 17,000 lbs annually saved from the garbage heap and providing nutrients to farmer Mike's crops.
The Healthy Grocer is a place where area consumers can not only find the healthy, clean foods and supplements they are looking for. It's a place where staff take an active role in supporting the environment and engaging the community. It's a place where you can support local farmers like Lancaster Farm Co-op, Earth Spring Farms, Dutch Meadows and Sandy Ridge who bring in fresh produce, meat, milk, eggs and cheese. It's the place where you can buy ghee made by Simply Ghee, a woman owned business, who sources milk from Lancaster County cows. It's the place where you can buy BBQ and hot sauce made by Torchbearer Sauces in Mechanicsburg, PA. The Healthy Grocer is more than a store. It's a lifestyle. It's a community. And we are happy to be part of yours.
If you are interested in composting your kitchen scraps, check out Better Homes and Garden's article on how to compost at home.