GardenIt’s no secret that Atlanta citizens – along with the rest of the country’s population – have started taking an interest in where their food comes from. Health-food giants like Whole Foods Market and The Fresh Market have met with roaring success, but now the metro area is being treated to the real deal with the arrival of Nature’s Garden Delivered.

Not only does Nature’s Garden exclusively carry environmentally-responsible products, they’ve also tailored their service to meet society’s speedy, click-and-purchase habits. So, online shopping junkies: Try a “web-based farmer’s market” on for size.

In a twist of irony, co-founders Michael Kirk and Scott Frishman are using technology to get back to basics.

“That’s actually a good description of us,” said Frishman. “A lot of people think of co-ops, and they think of a drop-off point and having to pick up their box. A lot of people think of CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture), and they think of commitment, at least three or sometimes six months getting the same thing in their box.”

In contrast, Nature’s Garden carries only in-season items, any of which can be substituted at will within a rotating menu. Customers sign up for either weekly or every-other-week deliveries to their door, choosing fruits, vegetables or a mix of the two plus add-ons like meat or dairy items, all in a convenient “tiny,” “small,” “medium” or “large” recyclable box.

And there’s the heart of it – right down to the box, Nature’s Garden has committed themselves to truly sustainable, earth-friendly practices with detailed precision.

Their website plainly lays out some of the basics with admirable transparency, explaining how exactly the company defines “local” and the politics behind organic, natural and transitional crops.

But the question still stands: Why organic, and why sustainable?

“For me, it’s more for environmental reasons. For my partner, animal welfare and nutritional reasons,” said Frishman. He credits large-scale advocates such as Michelle Obama and Robert Kenner, director of the documentary “Food, Inc.” with helping to make the case.

For example, buying local means fewer miles traveled in transport, which means less gas burned into the atmosphere. Also, the lack of chemicals means safer conditions for local wildlife.

Frishman calls his own awareness of the issues an “evolution” – he’s made an effort to become more aware since the 1990s when he graduated from Auburn University.

Nature’s Garden embodies this trend of growth and change. The company will be moving to a larger location with plenty of room for more product offerings, and Frishman and Kirk also plan to expand throughout the Southeast in the form of Nature’s Garden Express. And the work doesn’t stop at merely providing responsible produce – the company is also dedicated to giving back to the community through donations to The Atlanta Food Community Bank and The Wildlife Sanctuary.

Last year alone, they donated nearly 40,000 pounds to the food bank. They’re also giving back through education, better informing customers by highlighting a new farm each month in their online video series.

“We’ve definitely wanted to recognize the importance of people becoming more aware of where their food comes from,” said Frishman. “So we started implementing things like the blog and the videos to try and show people.”

Their website (naturesgardendelivered.com) links to a blog with articles related to overall health as well as recipes to use once you’ve received your box of goodies. It’s convenience with a conscience!

Maybe the typical American still pairs such a service with trips to the standard grocery store, but companies like Nature’s Garden Delivery are making mindful eating easier and more palatable, one box of veggies at a time.