Events going on throughout the world have significantly affected the economy in general and the state of our economy in Hawaii. With the economy on a downturn, and food prices on the rise, family budgets are being challenged throughout our state. Unfortunately, to help make ends meet, many families are needlessly giving up or cutting back on healthy diets.

This is needless because, contrary to popular belief, eating healthy organic and natural foods does not cost more than conventional foods—and it is often less expensive. Organic and natural foods are available at affordable prices and offer great value for several reasons.

Natural foods often cost less than conventional alternatives because they are not promoted with expensive advertising that drives up prices. A wide range of bulk foods such as grains, beans, cereals, rice, and confectionaries allow customers to buy the amount of their choice without the packaging—another factor that drives prices up. In addition, local organic produce typically costs less than imported conventional produce because there are little or no shipping costs.

From a larger perspective, however, the cost of diet-related choices must take into account the long-term health care and lifestyle costs associated with eating conventionally produced foods. Foods grown without the use of hazardous pesticides and insecticides are safer to eat. This is particularly true of organic produce, which is grown without using conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation.

A study published by Environmental Health Perspectives found that the urine and saliva of children eating a variety of conventional foods from their local grocery stores contained traces of organophosphates (this is the family of pesticides derived from nerve gas agents created in World War II—including malathion and chlorpyrifos).1 According to Chensheng Lu, the principle author of the study, "It is appropriate to assume that if we are exposed to [this class of] pesticides, even though it's a low-level exposure on a daily basis, there are going to be some health concerns down the road."

Given the long-term health benefits of an organic and natural diet, over the course of a lifetime an individual can reduce exposure to potential health risks and save hundreds or thousands of dollars on health care.

The message is clear: you don’t have to pay anything more to eat healthy. In fact you can save now and save later—while enjoying a better quality of life.

Down to Earth constantly looks for great deals among our vendors that enable us to pass the savings on to you at competitive down-to-earth prices. This helps us keep food costs affordable for Hawaii’s community by regularly offering thousands of items at promotional or every-day low prices.

I invite you to take advantage of our Recession-buster sale this upcoming Saturday, November 22nd. Many of you will be doing your Thanksgiving shopping and you’ll get significant pocketbook relief as we will offer 30 percent off 100 of our best-selling products at all five of our stores. You can learn more about it in the Feature Article and the monthly Rewards Deals Sales Flyer, both of which you will find in this issue of Earth News.

And if you have not yet signed up for our Down to Earth Rewards card, please consider it. You will earn points with every dollar you spend with us and get rebates to further reduce your food costs.

We hope to see you and, as always, thanks for shopping with us!

Mark Fergusson