Started on Earth Day 1970, Whole Earth has been a destination and gathering place for environmental and food activists for over 40 years. Founded by residents of Princeton, our community roots run deep and we have been key players in establishing environmental programs in Princeton, such as glass recycling in the early 1970s and the initiation of Integrated Pest Management programs in Princeton’s parks and schools in the 1980s.

Whole Earth got its start when, at a local celebration of the first Earth Day, a group of community members discussed the need for a store that offered environmentally friendly products and provided space for the exchange of information about environmental issues. A small amount of seed money was donated by local residents and within six months the Whole Earth Center opened in a tiny Nassau Street storefront. Six months later, we outgrew that space and moved to our current location at 360 Nassau Street.

Our store and product line have grown tremendously since 1970 but we remain committed to the ideas that inspired our start. Supporting sustainable agriculture, encouraging waste reduction through the sale of bulk foods, and facilitating grassroots environmental activism are still the fundamental principles behind our store.

Whole Earth Center offers a full range of natural and organic foods including a 100 percent organic produce department, local pasture-raised meats, cheeses and milk from pasture-raised cows, and cruelty-free health and beauty items. We have an in-house whole-grain bakery where we make breads, cakes, and cookies—all from scratch. And our Whole Earth Deli makes the finest vegetarian food in the Garden State.

Here is a sampling of the projects and partners that we have helped to fund over the past 44 years:

Letter Writing Campaign on Organic Standards: Whole Earth customers wrote more than 1,500 letters to the USDA voicing their concerns over the inclusion of irradiation, sewage sludge, and genetic engineering in the original organic standards proposal.

Digging the Whole: Whole Earth commissioned a play about environmental preservation that reached more than 60,000 children and was performed at the International Children’s Festival.

Friends of Princeton Open Space: Whole Earth helped this local non-profit develop Turning Basin Park.

Earth Advocates: Whole Earth provided funds for this Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Association program that trained 250 high school students to serve as environmental advocates.

Isles: Whole Earth funded an environmental education program that has reached more than 6,000 Trenton area children.

Canal Clean-Up: In honor of Earth Day 1990, we organized a community canal clean-up where more than 237 bags and 13 barrels of trash were collected.

Princeton Public Library: Whole Earth has provided thousands of dollars in funding to purchase books on health, nutrition and the environment. And we are a proud sponsor of the Library’s Princeton Environmental Film Festival.

Pesticide Campaign: Together with NJ PIRG, Whole Earth organized a grassroots campaign to minimize pesticide use on lawns and gardens and to initiate integrated pest management program in Princeton parks and schools.

Whole Earth Center, 360 Nassau Street, Princeton. 609-924-7429.

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