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Natural Foods Merchandiser

Little House Green Grocery garden serves the community

Article-Little House Green Grocery garden serves the community

Little House Green Grocery, 2018 Retailer of the Year finalist, Unique Store
A little store with big ideas earns this natural products store a finalist position for Best Community Project for the 2018 Retailer of the Year awards.

Little House Green Grocery opened in 2012 on the north side of Richmond, Virginia. Despite its small size—less than 1,600 square feet—the retailer offers a bounty of local and organic produce, as well as local fresh bread, pasta, wine, beer, pantry staples, humanely raised meats and pastured eggs, organic dairy, and more. The grocer offers sandwiches daily as well as soup, salads and dinners to go.

Plus, its weekly Veggie Box pickup and Natural Wine Club keep patrons coming back for more.

Last summer, the store planted a garden in its back lot that beautifies the area and serves the community at the same time. Here are just three reasons why.

Conservation. Thanks to a rain barrel donation from the neighbors of Little House Green Grocery, gallons of wastewater has been reserved.

Communication. Currently, the store gives away herbs from the garden, and owner Erin Wright says customers often visit the garden to talk shop on soil, bugs and recipes. “In the future, we’d like to have a pick-your-own herb program, vermi-compost boxes and a curriculum for garden classes,” she says. “It was wonderful to work on this staff-driven project that improves the landscape and feel of the store as a whole, and gives us another layer in our quest to promote healthy, local and sustainable food.”

Personal growth. “We have women’s initiatives, but that is because we are all women,” says Wright. “I try to help the staff develop skills they will use to achieve their dream job, and we get wonderful things out of it.” For example, the store’s prepared food program came out of a staff member’s desire to see if she wanted to cook or to be a restaurateur. “She learned to develop menus, project costs, find a kitchen, get the kitchen and herself certified, and adapt recipes,” Wright explains. “We now have an amazing, healthy prepared food program.” The community garden was similar—one staffer wanted to explore urban gardening and because the store had the space for it, they were able to support her vision and give back to shoppers and the community at the same time.

The other Retailer of the Year Best Community Project finalists are:

Roots Market

The Natural Foods Merchandiser/Natural Products Expo winners will be announced Friday night at Natural Products Expo East 2018.

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