Goodbye Earth Fare, with Love

Last updated on March 23, 2024.

Earthfare's Hixson, Tennessee store opening
Earth Fare’s Hixson, Tennessee store opening, November 2016. Photo by Marie Cullis.

If you haven’t heard, Earth Fare is closing all its stores, citing financial troubles.1 I was completely disheartened by this news! The company emailed its customers on Tuesday, writing “with a heavy heart” about the decision to close all the stores after 45 years.

We only have 3 healthy grocery stores in Chattanooga, Tennessee; two Earth Fare stores and one Whole Foods. We will now be down to one healthy grocery store in this region. There is a Fresh Market in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but they have a different mission than Whole Foods and Earth Fare. While I am not against shopping there, they do not offer all of the same food philosophies about ingredients. It is disappointing that the Southeast doesn’t support more stores like these.

Update March 23, 2024: Since my original article, a second Whole Foods store and a Trader Joe’s have opened in Chattanooga. I honestly believe that the company, if they could have held on until the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, would have flourished because they were one of the first grocery stores in our area to offer grocery delivery. It was late summer 2020 before Whole Foods offered this in our area, so Earth Fare would’ve likely done well with this service, had they only known in February 2020 what was to happen in March 2020.

But, Earth Fare has made a comeback after filing for bankruptcy. They have stores in the southeast again, just not in Chattanooga.2 I visited the one in St. Johns, Florida in Fall 2021 but unfortunately, this store closed in early 2022.

Unsafe and Toxic Ingredients

Earth Fare is a healthy and organic grocery store, one that does not sell foods with unhealthy or potentially toxic ingredients. But here is their general food philosophy:

Earthfare's food philosophy banner

I created a free, downloadable pdf: “List of unsafe, unhealthy and/or potentially toxic ingredients in food and products that you should avoid.” You can also view it here.

I could buy food from the bulk bins in my own cloth bags and glass jars at Earth Fare to avoid buying plastic. I can do this at Whole Foods too, but again, Chattanooga is going from three stores down to only one offering features like those.

Earth Fare Will Be Missed

Earth Fare is personal for me and I will miss it. It is where I shopped while on my journey of learning the value of healthy, natural foods and the dangerous ingredients in our foods. When my son was born and was in the NICU for 2 weeks, there was an Earth Fare just down the road from the hospital and we ate many meals there during that difficult time. It was the grocery store where I bought organic ingredients to make homemade baby food. And it is still where I buy food to cook for our family.

I plan to shop at Whole Foods since they have a similar food philosophy. However, they are more expensive than Earth Fare for many things. Also, the Whole Foods in Chattanooga is in a popular area of town so it’s often busy and crowded, with an equally crowded parking lot.

In the end, life will go on. We have many large environmental and health issues to face! Please subscribe and we can learn together! Thanks for reading. And thanks, Earth Fare, I’m sad to see you go.