LAKEWOOD, Colo., April 21, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- At Natural Grocers, America's Organic Headquarters®, Earth Day is about every day practices that help achieve a sustainable future for all. As a leader in retail sustainability, Natural Grocers has long instituted innovative sustainable and regenerative standards and continuously evaluates policies, guidelines and the products carried in its stores based on how they impact the planet.
For Natural Grocers, caring for the planet and its communities extends beyond Earth Day and eco-friendly practices – it is anchored in the natural and organic grocery store's founding story. Inspired by their own health journey, Margaret and Philip Isely founded Natural Grocers in 1955 with the mission to help improve the health and wellbeing of its communities and help all families to thrive. Today, the Isely family believes that everyone deserves to have access to fresh, affordable high-quality foods, household essentials and supplements, especially in these times of uncertainty.
Honoring Earth Day 2020 by Supporting Local Communities' Health
In honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, 2020, Natural Grocers will donate over $50,000 in gift cards to local food banks to help ensure that families in need, including those who have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic, can have access to high-quality, healthy, nutrient-dense foods which are supportive to their immune systems and health. In addition to the donated gift cards, Natural Grocers will donate $1.00 to local food banks for every Ladybug Zip Pouch reusable bag (retail $1.99) sold throughout the month of April.
From April 21-May 31, 2020 Natural Grocers invites the community to take or renew the #LadyBugLove pledge. Those who take the pledge commit to not using lawn and garden chemicals that harm ladybugs and other beneficial insects, which play a crucial role in the stability of the food supply, and to support 100% organic produce. For every #LadyBugLove pledge signed, whether it's a first-time signer or a renewed pledge from last year, Natural Grocers will donate $1.00, up to a total donation of $25,000 in gift cards, to local food banks.
"Earth Day has always been a meaningful day for Natural Grocers," said Natural Grocers' Co-President Kemper Isely. "Typically, we would have a large celebration for our communities, but right now protecting our good4uSM Crew and customers is of the utmost importance. We know our communities have been hit hard by the Coronavirus crisis, so this year we are honoring Earth Day by providing healthy essentials to those in need through donations to local food banks. Now more than ever, grocery stores play a pivotal role in the food chain, a system that is essential to our health and wellbeing. Natural Grocers is proud to support our communities during this crucial time."
A Sustainable Future For All
A sustainable future must focus on the way food is grown. The methodology of growing food greatly contributes to how healthy the final product is – relying on sustainable and regenerative methods and eliminating the use of chemical substances that are deleterious to health leads to foods that are higher in nutrients and are at the core to building a healthy immune system and immune competence.
Natural Grocers requires its farmers, producers and vendors, including its Natural Grocers Brand Products producers, to meet rigorous regenerative and sustainable standards. By setting these standards and partnering with those who meet them, Natural Grocers bolsters the health of local communities and the planet as a whole and fosters environmental health, which in turn supports and improves human health and ensures economic viability for future generations.
Every product on Natural Grocers' shelves must pass through a rigorous screening and approval process, which means that each store carries only the highest quality, nutritious groceries produced using sustainable and regenerative practices. Natural Grocers has always been and remains committed to providing Always AffordableSM prices so that everyone can afford to take care of their health by buying fresh, 100-percent organic produce, top-quality natural and organic groceries, supplements and essential household items.
"We believe that everyone should have access to the healthiest foods that are produced in a way that provides value in terms of human health and economic health," said Heather Isely, Natural Grocers Executive Vice President. "Providing healthy, sustainably produced foods that are affordable to our communities is what Natural Grocers does every day, and it's how we support a healthy planet, provide our neighbors and loved ones nourishing foods and help ensure economic viability and a sustainable future for all. Amidst this crisis, when so many are struggling, it is even more important that people have access to healthy foods to support their overall health and immune systems."
Leaders in Retail Sustainability
As early pioneers in the elimination of single-use plastic bags from checkout lanes, Natural Grocers stopped offering plastic bags in 2009 and began donating 5 cents to local food banks every time a customer shops with a reusable bag. To date, Natural Grocers has prevented an estimated 360 million bags from ending up in landfills and has donated over $1.3 million to local food banks, which has provided more than 4 million meals to those in need.
In 2020, Natural Grocers eliminated single-use plastic bags in its 100% organic produce department. Customers can now choose from compostable BioBags® or paper bags made from 100% recycled paper, which are both recyclable and compostable, for their organic produce.
During the Coronavirus pandemic, customers may continue to bring in reusable bags when they shop at Natural Grocers. Protective measures have been put in place to reduce human-to-human contact and maintain a sanitary environment, including asking customers to bag their own groceries and cleaning cashier stands anytime a customer places personal property on the stand, whether it be a reusable bag, a purse, a lunch box, or a wallet. There is no evidence suggesting that reusable bags are more likely to spread the virus, and there is no specific guidance regarding reusable bags from the CDC or FDA at this time.
Below are just some of the innovative and industry-leading standards Natural Grocers has established to help ensure regeneration, sustainability and access to a healthier lifestyle for all:
Sustainable and regenerative agricultural practices: Natural Grocers sells only 100% organic produce, non-GMO and organic pre-packaged bulk, 100% pasture-based dairy, 100% free-range eggs, and 100% humanely and sustainably raised meats, produced without antibiotics, hormones and other growth promoters.
Certified Organic Food Handlers: All Natural Grocers stores are inspected annually by an organic certifying agency to ensure that they are only using organic approved processes and cleaning products. This certification, plus the company's commitment to selling only 100% organic produce, guarantees the integrity of their 100% certified organic produce from farm to basket to table.
Formaldehyde-free and non-toxic materials used in store construction: Natural Grocers' construction products do not contain any formaldehyde and the company is eliminating and reducing indoor air pollutants by using sustainable non-toxic construction materials, including no and low-VOC (volatile organic chemical) paint.
Reducing carbon footprint and implementing greener practices: Natural Grocers' eco-friendly practices include green heating and cooling practices, installing LED lighting, repurposing existing buildings whenever possible for new stores, and utilizing non-toxic cleaning and sanitizing products.
Recycling and upcycling: Natural Grocers' recycling practices include offering reused cardboard boxes at check out, recycling shipping pallets and plastic, composting at select stores and using minimum packaging on Natural Grocers brand products
To locate the closest Natural Grocers store, visit the store directory.
For all Natural Grocers' updates related to the Coronavirus/ COVID-19, please visit: www.naturalgrocers.com/coronavirus-updates
About Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage
Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, Inc. (NYSE: NGVC; NaturalGrocers.com) is an expanding specialty retailer of organic and natural groceries, body care products and dietary supplements. The company offers a flexible, neighborhood-store format, affordable prices and free, science-based nutrition education programs to help customers make informed health and nutrition choices. Founded in Colorado in 1955, Natural Grocers has more than 3,500 employees and operates 157 stores in 20 states.
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