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Natural Awakenings South Central Pennsylvania

The Healthy Grocer Team

Nov 18, 2019 08:15PM

The Healthy Grocer shares food with RowanTree Farm goats

Stewards of the Environment and the Community

by Gisele M. Siebold

The staff at The Healthy Grocer, in Camp Hill, makes a difference in the local community and helps community members learn how they can make a difference. General manager Susan Kiskis has her finger on the pulse of the staff’s effort to be environmental and community stewards. Knowing that a healthy land means a healthy diet, they prioritize the environment, have a composting partnership with area farmers, source organic, all-natural and local ingredients to reduce their carbon footprint and volunteer their time with area nonprofit organizations.

In July, Kiskis attended the annual Independent Natural Food Retailers Association (INFRA) Conference, in which a group of independent, natural retailers across the U.S. gathers annually to learn from each other and tackle important issues that affect our communities.

According to Kiskis, discussion topics included new forms of genetically-modified foods, the importance of organic foods and food waste. With the help of the Climate Collaborative and Dana Gunders, author of Waste-Free Kitchen Handbook: A Guide to Eating Well and Saving Money By Wasting Less Food, they were able to discover what a vital role the staff at The Healthy Grocer plays in supporting positive efforts to combat climate change.

“Forty percent of food is wasted in the U.S.; this conversation is too important to not to bring up,” she says. “It’s a responsibility we all bear—households, retail stores, restaurants, manufacturers and farmers. We learned that to combat the food waste issues, we need to manage proper inventory, keep inventory records and record waste. It’s the top three ways to avoid the issue in the first place. By knowing what you have and what you waste, you can manage future purchases, nipping food waste in the first place.”

Kiskis was able to check all three off The Healthy Grocer’s list of accomplishments. “Our staff has made and continues to make a huge, positive difference locally,” she enthuses. “I felt so proud of our team as I sat in the large room with other stores across the country. We donate food to Helping Hands Ministries, as well as Baken Creek Farm and RowanTree Farm to feed their farm animals and to enrich their soil by composting leftovers.

“Further investigation at the INFRA conference helped shine a light on what we need to do: use up what we can; understand ‘shelf life’ to help customers; educate customers to understand the food waste issue; donate unused food to the hungry; donate unused food to farms to feed farm animals; and compost,” sums up Kiskis.

The Healthy Grocer team is stepping up their game by learning more about what they can do to help the community reduce food waste. “Look for, in the near future, opportunities to learn how to reduce food waste. We will help combat climate change one small step at a time, food waste being one way. Through these efforts, we will eliminate the number one item found in landfills—food,” she affirms. “We will help to support those who are food insecure by donating more food.”

In his book American Wasteland, author Jonathan Bloom says that families throw out approximately 25 percent of the food and beverages they buy. Kiskis says, “That’s a loss of somewhere between $1,300 and $2,200 for the average family of four every year. Therefore, our team will help customers learn how to save more than $1,000 in food waste purchases. Together we can make a difference.”

The Healthy Grocer is located at 3800 Trindle Rd., in Camp Hill. For more information, call 717-737-5123, email [email protected] or visit


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