About 15 years ago, Lisa Piper used to set up at Bay Area farmers markets to sell sustainable clothing, herbal bath salts and other goods. Four or five times a week, customers would tell her they did not have access to the healthy food they needed.
Piper filled that gap by opening Natural Living Organic Food Co-op & Cafe, which has been growing over the past decade.
“Clearly, the community is there,” she said. “They just need to be culminated together.”
Natural Living is a healthy food store that sells organic produce and goods. It is simultaneously a food co-op for paying members who chip in to receive fresh, natural food on a weekly basis. The business even has a vegan cafe and small farmers market.
The business started in Piper’s home but quickly grew, relocating to a detached garage which eventually needed a carport. Now, it operates out of a small League City house Piper rents.
“Now we’re bursting at the seams,” she said.
Piper, a foodie, was a picky eater as a child, and she developed food allergies and celiac disease as an adult. Instead of becoming discouraged, Piper realized food can be a medicine and wanted to share that knowledge and joy with others, she said.
“This is how I live normally, so the evolution of this was natural for me,” Piper said.
Piper hopes her business not only provides fresh and organic food to customers but helps them understand where their food is coming from and whom and what they are supporting by buying it. Natural Living even offers classes to those who want to get the most out of their food, she said.
The business is a judgement-free zone and helps everyone with their “health journeys,” Piper said.
Customers can become members to buy into Natural Living’s co-op, which allows members to get produce at bulk prices. The co-op is more than just a group that shares food; it is a community, Piper said.
“That’s why it works better—because it’s connecting people with people … and people with food in our community,” she said.