Tired of grocery shopping in a crowded store where everyone is rushed; the produce is shipped in from halfway across the world; and natural, organic products are few and far between?

There are many benefits to shopping at your local health food store. Here are a few reasons to consider:

Find more organic and locally sourced products. The foods you buy often travel great distances before reaching your dinner table. By shopping locally, you’ll know where your food comes from and how fresh it is, and are able to trace local products back to their origins. Be sure to look for the Canada Organic logo — the small but important symbol guarantees that at least 95 per cent of the product you’re purchasing is made with organic products, and is up to the strict standards enforced in Canada.

Be the first to try new things. By being smaller and community-focused, your local health food store is more easily able to identify the types of products that its customers are looking for and bring them onto its shelves first. With all the innovative food options coming out of the natural health and organic industry, these independently owned stores are usually ahead of the big-box stores in getting the latest trends, meaning you’ll be able to find these products before anyone else.

Support your community. Your local health food store is more than just a grocery store. At the heart of the natural health community in your own neighbourhood, health stores are often family-run businesses that proudly serve the local population. Buying from these shops is an investment back into your own community that helps it continue to grow.

Find a Canadian Health Food Association member health food store in your neighbourhood online at chfa.ca.