There’s a lot of power in where and how you choose to spend your money.

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More and more consumers are looking to patronize businesses that put their values into action: like using sustainable and responsible environmental practices, caring for their employees, and building community. All to help create the kind of world they’d be proud to pass on to the next generation.

There’s a lot of power in where and how you choose to spend your money, and the grocery store is one way conscientious consumers can put their money where their heart is. Stores are responding to shoppers’ desire for locally grown and produced goods, as well as community support and involvement.

With two Seattle stores, one in Ballard and one on Mercer Island, New Seasons Market gives 10 percent of its after-tax profits to local nonprofits, with a focus on three areas: fighting hunger, supporting schools and environmental conservation. And the company gives each employee up to eight hours of paid time off each year to participate in local community service projects.

The company is committed to supporting the local economy where its stores operate. A New Seasons location on Mercer Island, which opened in November 2016, offers goods from local makers, farmers, ranchers and fishermen, including community-grown organic produce, sustainable meat produced by the region’s ranchers and wild-caught seafood sourced directly off the Washington coast.

(New Seasons Market)
(New Seasons Market)

The Local Finds program screens local suppliers and assists them in the process of getting their product in front of shoppers.

“While we are thrilled to have so many local products on our shelves, the Local Finds program is about more than that. It’s designed to work with vendors so that they get the right help at the right time so that they can grow sustainably. It’s about helping local entrepreneurs — whether they are growing pears or making cookies — succeed at a pace that’s right for them,” said Chris Tjersland, New Seasons Market’s partner brand development manager.

Consumers also can show support for community efforts in their choices when they dine out. Tom Douglas, who runs Seattle’s largest upscale restaurant group among other ventures, led the way in implementing an immediate $15-an-hour minimum wage in 2016, while replacing gratuities with a 20 percent service charge, to be redistributed equitably among the staff. The idea, he says, is to “provide greater compensation equity for front of house and back of house.”

Employees in Tom Douglas restaurants enter an accepting and supportive workplace where they earn at least $15.45 an hour and receive a comprehensive benefits package, with 401(k) available, as well as free meals and discount ORCA cards.

Looking for pay equity extends beyond borders, and has become a global concern. At Fremont’s Theo Chocolate, which operates the first organic and fair-trade chocolate factory in the United States, environmental stewardship and business sustainability are written into their DNA. Theo has built direct trade relationships with its cocoa suppliers in Africa and South America, and pays above-market prices for cocoa, ensuring profitably all along the process.

And when thinking globally, even the small details make a difference. In an additional effort to minimize its environmental footprint, New Seasons Market announced that the company is eliminating all plastic straws from store locations in Oregon and Washington. The plastic straws will be replaced with paper alternatives to help reduce litter and ocean plastic.

New Seasons Market brings delicious, healthy food from local farmers, producers, ranchers and fishermen to our communities. You’ll find the best mix of grocery classics and local, organic favorites. Now open in Ballard as well as Mercer Island.