Industry Loses DSHEA Trailblazer

It is with great sorrow that WholeFoods learned of the passing of Rae Howard, an irreplaceable figure in the Natural Products Industry, co-founder of Good Earth Natural Foods, and beloved wife, mother and grandmother. She passed away on February 8.

In 1973, Howard, along with her husband Ken and mother Ann Geaslin, founded the influential natural products store Good Earth Natural Foods in Provo, UT, which grew tremendously into its now five locations. In 1998, Good Earth was named one of the top 100 health food stores in the country by Health Food Business Magazine, and it received WholeFoods’ Retailer of the Year Award in 2009. Good Earth became a political center during the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) battle, of which Howard was at the forefront.

In 1992, Howard, then president of the Rocky Mountain Nutritional Foods Association (RMNFA), helped write the precursor to DSHEA called the Health Freedom Act. She presented it to both Senator Orrin Hatch and the NPA; she then fought tirelessly to get the monumental bill passed. In addition to RMNFA, Howard was the founder and president of Utah’s Health Forum, a grassroots lobbying organization dedicated to educating the public about legislation and how they could contact a representative to express their opinion. Her work with the organization spurred many natural products consumers to contact the FDA in support of DSHEA, a movement that tipped the scales in the industry’s favor. Her dedication to and passion for the Natural Products Industry were a big part in the passing of DSHEA, as well as the state of the industry today.

Howard went on to become the president of the Natural Products Association from 1995 to 1997, where she worked to improve nutritionally related social action, such as improving school lunches.

Howard will be sorely missed not only by family and friends, but also by the entire industry she worked so hard to protect.

Donations in her honor may be made to American Heritage School for Keaton’s light, a perpetual program benefiting their library by purchasing children’s books.  Send c/o Dallas Harris, P.O. Box 246, American Fork, UT  84003.

Tributes and messages to the family may be sent to


Published in WholeFoods Magazine, March 2014