–By Beth Harding
Since 1991, Earth’s General Store has been actively walking the walk on waste reduction, organic food consumption, composting and more.
A host to recent Earth Day celebrations, Earth’s General took waste reduction to a new level for a retail store at the end of April — when their freezer broke, they offered frozen food for 50 per cent off the purchase price.
Later that same day, rather than throw out the remaining frozen food, owner Michael Kalmanovitch posted on Facebook that the remaining food was free. He also took boxes of frozen food, on his bicycle trailer, to YESS before it spoiled.
It was simply common sense to Kalmanovitch.
“I appreciate Facebook and Twitter technology that enabled me to get the word out to people so that people could use the food as intended,” a followup Facebook post read.
The store also lives up to its name — like any general store, they sell a wide variety of products, including local, organic and sustainable foods. Their website also encourages people to “consume wisely, consume locally and consume fairly,” as store personnel also offer solutions, information and honest advice to customers about environmentalism, the organic food movement and societal footprint reduction.
Kalmanovitch explained he founded the store as a way to provide people with good quality information and pull them in a healthier direction, something he strongly believes in.
“We are always going to make a negative impact on the environment no matter what our choices, but we can lessen it,” he said.
A self-professed “anti-consumerist,” Kalmanovitch said he has strong beliefs about being in business.
“I am not a businessperson, I am just a citizen that does business. ‘Citizen’ is one of the most powerful words you can have because ‘citizen’ gives you rights but it also gives you responsibilities.
“My actions don’t impede your liberty or your wellness of life or future generations.”
The business employs upwards of 25 people, and, at last count, buys from approximately 15 different local businesses and suppliers. They also roast coffee using 100 per cent certified fair trade organic green coffee beans.
Organics is a no-brainer to him, Kalmanovitch continued. “I don’t want the person that is growing and picking my food to be killed and be harmed because that is very disrespectful.”
Passionate and knowledgeable, Kalmanovitch is committed to educating and advocating for a better community and world. “We have to operate and continue to be successful as a store so we can continue to be a soap box.”
Customers are encouraged to bring their own reusable containers to purchase bulk items — the container just needs to be weighed at the cash prior to filling. Those who bring their own shopping bags for their purchases are also awarded tokens; the customer can then choose from a handful of charities to donate their tokens to. Tokens are tallied and monetary donations are made by Earth’s on behalf of its customers.
Resources are also available to people interested in food supply — workshops on fermentation and composting are offered, and red worms are sold for composting.
Earth’s General Store is located at 9605 – 82 Ave., near Mill Creek Ravine. Check them out at www.egs.ca for a thorough list of their products.
Beth Harding has lived in Edmonton off and on for about a decade and is still finding wonderful nooks and crannies to explore. She is an avid foodie and knows her local farmers well. Beth has trained in energy healing in the Algonquin Indian tradition and takes that training with her into her heart-centred business coaching and development business, BEST Events & Other Stuff. Beth’s greatest joys in life: her child, music and cooking for people she loves.