How does “pay what you feel” sound for a grocery bill?
It’s the business model for Vancouver’s first rescued food market, now open in the city’s Olympic Village neighbourhood.
The market is one face of the Food Stash Foundation, a group aiming to both reduce food waste and connect people in need with nutritious food in a an environment that gives them dignity and choice.
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“It’s a ‘pay what you feel’ market — to take away the stigma of not being able to afford food we don’t want to say pay what you can,” community and sustainability manager Maddie Hauge told Global News.
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“People choose what they want to donate. We recommend the amount of $2.60 per pound, based on Food Banks Canada’s valuation of donated food.”
Nobody is turned away, regardless of whether they have money or not, she added.
The market deals in perishable foods that otherwise would have gone to the compost or landfill, rescued from large grocery stores, farms and wholesalers.
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The group accepts donations including produce, dairy, eggs, baked goods and meat, which they freeze.
“It’s good, fresh surplus food. It’s food that hasn’t sold due to cancelled orders or perhaps it doesn’t look quite right but its still nutritious,” Hauge said.
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Since the Food Stash Foundation began operating out of a Vancouver teacher’s basement in 2016, it has grown to rescue about 32,000 kilograms of food per month, much of which is redistributed to local partner charities.
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Until now, it had been operating out of a closed commissary, and Hauge said the foundation is keen to invite the public in to shop or to learn about food security.
“We’re so excited for the public to know we’re here,” she said. “Everyone is welcome regardless of income or socioeconomic class. We just want everyone to come and learn about food rescue, food waste and food insecurity.
The market is open Fridays from 3:30 to 6 p.m. at 340 West 2nd Avenue in Vancouver.
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