Wandering the giant aisles of big-brand food stores has made grocery shopping one of the most mundane weekly adult activities we must endure. Luckily, Toronto has a bundle of groceries designed to shake up that experience. Not only do these small grocery stores have more unique and local offerings, they also often have a strong focus on reducing food and packaging waste, as well as supporting the greater food community they are a part of. Take an opportunity this month to re-inspire your food shopping routine and explore some of our city’s more feel-good grocers, starting with the three listed below.
739 Palmerston Ave
Karma Co-Op has been a west-end community staple since 1972. This community-owned non-profit stocks hundreds of eco-friendly and fair trade products, as well as sources organic produce from dozens of Ontario farms. Karma Co-Op also focuses on creating a zero-waste environment by implementing a bring-your-own bag and container policy, offering bulk goods like toothpaste and deodorant, vermicomposting (composting with worms) organic waste, and giving usable food waste to local food banks.
The Big Carrot Community Market
348 Danforth Ave
125 Southwood Dr
More than just a grocery store, The Big Carrot offers a one-stop-shop for all your sustainable food needs. Focused on purchasing from small, local, organic producers, this east-end establishment also has an in-store kitchen cooking up daily meals, a juice and smoothie bar, and a sizeable bulk produce section. Complimentary in-store tours by a nutritionist are also available if you want some more curated advice on what to be eating. Food-focused educational workshops are also run regularly, if you want to elevate your knowledge in the conscious consumer food space!
Feed It Forward Grocery Store
3324 Dundas St W
Toronto’s first pay-what-you-can grocery store opened its doors this summer to a lot of buzz. Sourcing the majority of its food from grocery stores, restaurants/cafes and manufacturing facilities, the shelves are stocked with what would otherwise be thrown away. Customers are encouraged to take just what they need, and pay only what they can, even if that is well below market value. With a bring-your-own-container policy in place as well, the focus on reducing waste in this volunteer-run shop is top notch.
You can follow the author of this article, Maggie Clark, on Instagram @omnivoresdelight