The world’s first pay-what-you-can grocery store just opened up in Toronto and the shelves are stocked entirely with food that was destined for a landfill.
The produce is usually salvaged because it’s misshapen or bruised in some way, despite being perfectly edible. Other products are donated because grocery stores aren’t allowed to sell the goods if they are too close to their expiration date, even though they may still have a shelf life for several months to come. Some food is thrown out simply because there is too much warehouse stock to accommodate it.
Customers at Feed It Forward, however, are free to fill up their baskets and pay whatever they can afford. If they don’t have any money, they are still free to take whatever they want; although families are only allowed to take home one day’s worth of food in order to ensure that the store remains stocked. Patrons who can afford to pay for their food also have the option to pay it forward and cover the cost of someone else’s groceries.
The innovative grocery store is the brain child of Chef Jagger Gordon, a renowned Canadian advocate for reducing food waste and feeding the hungry.
Gordon first became inspired to begin the nonprofit initiative back in 2014 when was running his own catering company. Stunned by the amount of food ending up in trash cans, he started opening up popup kitchens across Toronto that exclusively gave away nutritious meals made out of salvaged ingredients.
He made headlines in 2016 for serving over 600 hot meals to hungry city residents on Christmas Eve. In May 2017, he opened a soup bar that became the first pay-what-you-can restaurant in Toronto.
Additionally, the chef is rallying for people to sign a petition that will demand Canadian legislators to change their food laws.
“The concept behind the store is showcasing how Canadians can utilize the food that’s destined for landfills: perfectly edible food that shouldn’t be thrown out and can be filling the empty bellies of our citizens,” Gordon told The Star.