Sixty-six years ago, Lakewood, Colo.-based Natural Grocers was founded by Philip and Margaret Isely, who sought to stem the tide of America’s dietary decline in the 1950s.
“Natural Grocer’s philosophy is that sustainability is our business,” says EVP Heather Isely, the founders’ daughter, who sees an inextricable link between the health of the planet and personal health. “We need to get agriculture right, and we need to address other environmental issues, such as our reliance on fossil fuels and chemicals.”
With planet and personal health in mind, Natural Grocers takes an impressively fearless approach to upholding its stringent product standards. Eight years ago, the company made the decision to change its dairy standards to 100% pasture-based—a decision that meant the removal of its most popular brands.
When it comes to produce, Natural Grocers has only ever sold 100% organic. Product standards are equally high for meat sold at Natural Grocers, which supports true grass-fed beef and pasture-raised animals.
“The thing that distinguishes us is our commitment,” Isely adds. “We don’t green wash anything.”