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Honest to Goodness grows organic at George Place

The enticing scent of organically grown, freshly made coffee precedes Matt Ward down the stairs of his Artarmon organic foods warehouse and shop in George Place. Coffee mug in hand, he grins and nods towards the shop. 

“We like to make it easy for our customers,” he says. “They can either visit us here at the warehouse, buy from us on-line or catch-up with us at one of the local farmer’s markets.”

Keeping his customer’s happy has helped grow a business that started as an extension of the family pantry. “We started the business trying to sell foods we eat as a family at home. I saw that for a small premium you can often get a much better food product,” he says.

It certainly is a big pantry. Honest to Goodness sells more than 700 different organic and natural foods that are free of sulphur, artificial preservatives, colours, flavours and sweeteners, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and trans fats. A large proportion of their customers are parents looking for healthy food choices for their families free of preservatives and food colourings. “It’s a big change in the household having a family and you really change the food that’s in your house.” 

Matt and his staff are used to big changes. Just over three years ago, Matt moved Honest to Goodness to Artarmon when they out-grew their Chatswood premises. Despite negligible advertising, the business continues to expand. “Our business has grown mostly through word of mouth,” says Matt. “I think the food industry is valuing the wrong thing. They just value price and I think there are other values around food and if we can convey those values and give people insight into what those values are, they will respond.”

Eager to match his business practices to his food philosophy, Matt has joined Willoughby Council’s Better Business Partnership. The goal is to improve the sustainability of the business. “We think if the growers are doing all that hard work we don’t really want to let them down by having unsustainable business practices,” he said.

Customers to the warehouse can see some of those changes. LED lights illuminate the displays and many of the products are sold in bulk reducing the packaging required. Behind the scenes, changes such as a recycling program for office waste and other resource conservation measures resulted in Honest to Goodness being nominated as a 2011 finalist in the small business sustainability category of the Green Globe Awards, a state government initiative.

by Jane Rowley

Courtesy of Gazette February 2012
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Matt Ward ... in his organic pantry
Photo: Jane Rowley





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