This “Pay What You Can” Grocery Store Is Feeding Families — And Saving The Planet!

fresh vegetables and outside of Rescued Food Market

The fact that millions of pounds of food go to waste while people go hungry every night is a tough pill to swallow.


In Vancouver, Canada, a nonprofit called the Food Stash Foundation has come up with a genius solution to this difficult problem. For starters, they’re opening a grocery store where patrons pay as much or as little as they want.

The Rescued Food Market is the first of its kind in Vancouver. The store is stocked with pantry items and fresh foods that would ordinarily have ended up in a landfill, where rotting foods contribute to climate change. There, workers take surplus items donated by grocers, farms, and wholesalers and make them available to people living in a food insecure area the city.

The organization currently salvages 70,000 pounds of food that would have gone to waste. Now, Vancouver residents can visit the Rescued Food Market to do their part in reducing waste at the local level. There’s so much food to go around, they still have extra even after stocking the unique grocery store!

As Food Stash Foundation’s Director Carla Pellegrini explained, “There’s food waste at every level [of the supply-chain], whether it’s over-ordering, cancelled orders, the shape of the produce isn’t meeting the customer expectations, or approaching best-before dates.”

Incredibly, 58 percent of the food produced in Canada currently goes to waste, which is more than in the U.S. and other developed countries. Additionally, one in every six kids in British Columbia experiences hunger. Repurposing this food to solve the nation’s hunger problem seems like a two-birds-with-one-stone solution!

The first Rescued Food Market opened on October 1, 2021, on 340 West 2nd Avenue in Vancouver. It will be open for three hours each day, and anyone can shop there – whether they’re food insecure or not. Some patrons may simply want to cut down on their carbon footprint by eating surplus foods; others may genuinely need supplies to feed their families.

Since there’s plenty of surplus food to go around, this is a win-win solution for all involved, especially Mother Earth!

If this project takes off, and we can’t see why it would fail, we hope it inspires more pay-what-you-can markets just like it. Getting good food into people’s pantries while saving the planet – what’s better than that?

Share this story to encourage more out-of-the-box solutions like this one.

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