Local, Fresh, Organic & Natural: Four Guiding Principles for Healthy Food

At Down to Earth, our first priority is to protect and promote the health and wellbeing of our customers and our environment. To help us do this, our decisions for selecting the items we carry in our stores are guided by four key principles: local, fresh, organic, and natural. These guidelines for healthy food help us to contribute to your improved health as well as the health and wellbeing of Hawaii’s soil, air, and water. They also help us support our most precious local resource: farmers. Every time we make a purchase, we ask ourselves four simple questions, and we hope, after reading this article, that you’ll do the same.

Is it Local?

Local food is fresher and better for the environment because it takes less time and consumes less energy to transport. In addition, purchasing from local vendors means your money is recycled into the local economy and helps support sustainable communities. As a local company ourselves, we know the importance of supporting local farmers and businesses. As a result, over our 35 years in business, we’ve maintained a policy of purchasing virtually all the produce that local farmers are willing to sell us – even if it’s only a crateful. We appreciate the opportunity to help farmers succeed – farmers like Kahanu Aina Farms in Wailuku, Local Island Fresh Edibles in Waimanalo, Laumana Farms in Pahoa, and every one of the other 400 local vendors and farmers that we source from every year.

Is it Fresh?

Fresh produce retains more vitamins, minerals and beneficial phytonutrients than processed foods. In general, freshly prepared foods tend to be free of harmful preservatives and naturally more flavorful. At Down to Earth, one of our priorities is to make eating fresh foods easy and convenient. That’s why all our deli foods are made from scratch and we’re proud to offer an abundance of readily accessible, fresh and delicious options at our salad bar.

Is it Organic?

Organic agriculture is vital for our health and the health of our planet because it employs methods that revitalize the soil instead of depleting it, that keep the air and water clean and that keep our bodies free of harmful chemical compounds. Farmers who make a commitment to grow organically avoid harmful chemicals such as toxic fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, as well as genetically modified organisms (GMOs), toxic sludge, irradiation, and other production methods that are harmful for the environment. We are dedicated to promoting delicious and nutritious foods that are produced sustainably using organic farming methods.

Is it Natural?

Natural foods are commonly defined as minimally processed foods that contain no hormones, antibiotics, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives that were not in the original food. This definition therefore excludes foods derived from new artificial processes such as genetic engineering or cloning. Processing foods mechanically, chemically, or by temperature tends to damage the compounds that contribute to aroma, taste and nutrition. As a result, natural foods are more nutritionally dense, easier to digest and more flavorful. Because your skin is the largest and most absorbent organ of your body, it’s important to make sure that what you put on your skin is also free of harmful chemicals and preservatives. That’s why we not only make it a priority to provide natural foods, we also do the research to make sure our supplements and body care products are minimally processed and are free from artificial colors, flavors, preservatives and other added chemicals.

In a world that gives us endless options for what to buy and what to eat, it’s good to have some principles that help us navigate our choices and keep us on track towards better health and wellbeing. We hope you’ll join us in embracing Local, Fresh, Organic and Natural as your guiding principles. And of course, choosing a plant-based diet would complete this balance of healthy food. Over 35 years of serving Hawai’i, they’ve stood the test of time and we feel confident that you’ll feel the benefit in your life and your community!