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Cheaper ways to grocery shop in Vancouver that are also better for the planet

From discounts to rescued food markets.
Alternative, cheaper ways to grocery shop in Vancouver that are also sustainable.

The cost of living in Vancouver continues to be a hot topic for locals. 

Though it's no secret that this seaside city is an expensive place to live in, increasing prices are making Vancouverites do double takes.

The city's notoriously costly rental market once saw numerous tiny solarium rooms for rent. Now, locals have started offering their living rooms

On top of unaffordable housing, Vancouverites are also frustrated with the rising cost of food. 

According to local hearsay, Whole Foods, nicknamed "Whole Paycheque" for its expensive reputation, has become the most affordable grocery store in Vancouver. (V.I.A. investigated this rumour - spoiler alert: it's not true.)

Those wanting to save on their grocery bill and help out the planet can try several grocery store alternatives:

Food Stash Rescued Food Market

Once a week, Food Stash Foundation, a local non-profit, hosts a food market in a warehouse near Olympic Village. The market is stocked with surplus perishables from farms, grocers and wholesalers that would have otherwise been thrown out.

The market is open every Thursday from 3 to 5:30 p.m.

Bulk Barn

Those who run errands on Sundays may want to make a stop at Bulk Barn. Buying in bulk is already a more affordable way to grocery shop, and Bulk Barn's discount on "Sustainable Sundays" makes this grocery shopping alternative even cheaper.

Bulk Barn gives a 15 per cent discount to shoppers who bring their own refillable containers or cloth bags (excluding carry out shopping bags). 

Zero waste stores

There are many zero-waste and refill stores around Vancouver that offer both rescued food and sustainable household items. Reuse your containers, rescue food before it makes it to the landfill, and save your money while you're at it. 

Little Free Pantry

Residents in Vancouver's Kitsilano neighbourhood can partake in a local community project. The pantry, located beside Kits House on Vine Street, aims to improve food security in the neighbourhood and is for everyone to use. 

The pantry asks residents to "take what you need" and "donate what you can." Items accepted include non-perishable, unopened, and unexpired food and personal care items.

Vancouver Community Fridge Project

This network of community fridges and pantries is made for and by the community, providing free food to locals across Vancouver. In addition to being available if you have a need for for food, you can leave unopened, unexpired food there that you won't be using to minimize food waste and help a fellow local in need.

There are five fridges/pantries in the city located at:

  • 29 W Hastings St (located inside the building) 
  • 4040 Victoria Dr
  • 3066 W 13th Ave 
  • 3981 Main St 
  • 340 W 2nd Ave 

Vancouver ecoVillage pilot food rescue program

The non-profit is running a pilot food rescue program in the West End neighbourhood. Participants will receive a mystery box of rescued food for $40 per box which weighs 30 to 40 lbs. Food is sourced from local grocery stores and would have otherwise been tossed into the landfill.

Each box includes staple fruits and vegetables, at least one protein, occasional small meals (like sushi, butter chicken, and mac and cheese), and a selection of bread and desserts.