Down to Earth started in 1973 when a household of students had decided to set up a small Cooperative to buy wholefoods in bulk and distribute to themselves and their immediate friends. By September 1974 the word had spread so much that the group decided to open a small shop, which they ran themselves on a part-time basis. The capital (£800) was supplied by two of the group, Dik Waring and Paul Jackson who were legally partners of the Cooperative.
By August 1975 the only remaining member was Dik who became sole owner of the company. Five months later in January 1976 the shop moved to its current position on Sharrowvale Road. The original aim of the shop was to ‘sell foods that are wholesome, organic and of course unprocessed and are hence providing an alternative to processed, tinned or frozen foods. We aim to sell staple foods as cheaply as possible rather than stocking a large number of less essential or luxury items. It is hoped that we can serve the community by providing Wholefoods at a cheaper price than conventional foods.’
When you consider that this was written in the late 70’s you can see how ahead of its time the ideals behind Down to Earth were. Nowadays organic wholesome diets are more mainstream when Down to Earth started it was seen as anything but mainstream even a bit odd. Down to Earth Community Supplies was the first Cooperative Wholefood shop in Sheffield and a founder member of the Northern Wholefood Cooperative which established a Wholesale Distribution company called Suma. Today Suma is one of the biggest Cooperatives in the UK.
The ethical aims of Down to Earth include only using biodegradable packaging, sourcing the finest quality Wholefoods at the cheapest price possible and being a purely vegetarian shop.