10 Reasons we LOVE local systems, on #BCBuyLocal Week, and throughout the year!

In 2007, Vancouver-based writers Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon published their book The 100-Mile Diet, which tracked their experience with choosing to only consume foods within 100 miles for an entire year. This book catalyzed a Canadian and international discussion on the benefits and challenges of eating locally. Parallel to that conversation, the last decade has been highlighted by a wealth of movements that promote bioregional consumption in its various forms; drawing inspiration from the ecologically-defined term ‘watershed’, we now have conversations about ‘foodsheds’ and even ‘fibresheds’ – all attempts to live abundantly within the boundaries of our regional ecological systems.

Ecologically speaking, there are lot of great reasons to protect and promote these bioregional systems, and you can expect a blog post on some of those reasons in the future. But there are also a lot of reasons this is a great economic choice as well! This week is #BCBuyLocal Week, “an annual celebration of the unique contributions that B.C. businesses make to our economy.” Buying from local suppliers is tremendously important for Nada, and to supplement some of the fantastic reasons for buying local highlighted in the campaign, here are some of the reasons we love local: For our economies. For our communities. For our planet.

For Our Economies:

Nada’s zero waste picnic, from September. We shared stories from the wealth of local changemakers tackling food waste and plastic pollution within Vancouver! Happy to collaborate and amplify our shared impact!

For Our Communities:

  • International supply chains are an extremely messy thing – it’s hard to know where exactly your products come from and what human rights and/or environmental issues might be involved. By buying local, and buying direct, we know many of our suppliers personally and have visited their production facilities and farms. This gives us confidence that our products are supporting both people and planet.
  • These personal relationships also allow us to collaborate more, meaning that we can amplify our shared impact in our communities and beyond. Personally, we have become good friends with many of our suppliers. Professionally, we can offer ideas, support, and mutual promotion.
  • When we and other local businesses give back, our donations and volunteer hours contribute to local causes. From our 1% for the Planet donations, to collaborative initiatives with our upstairs neighbours the Vancouver Native Housing Society, we’re seeking to build a more just food system in our own community.
Nada’s Brianne Miller with Lovena Harvey of the Gathering Place (Cortes Island) and Shelley Bolton of East Van Roasters (Vancouver). By partnering with these amazing organizations, we not only increase transparency and traceability within our supply chain, but are among friends while we do so!

For Our Planet:

  • In general, there is both less waste and less emissions associated with buying local. When the products we purchase travel fewer km to get where we are, they emit less GHGs (when they’re personally delivered by bike, they emit even less! See next photo!).
  • They not only emit less GHGs, they’re also less likely to be damaged or spoiled along the way, meaning less food waste. And because they’re less likely to be damaged, they also don’t need as much protection, meaning less packaging waste.
  • More than that, our direct, personal relationships allow us to work collaboratively on more environmentally-friendly policies, like implementing a reusable container system with our suppliers so we can bring products to YOU package-free.
  • When we support local agricultural systems, we’re also supporting better land policies, better soil health, and more diverse, resilient farming practices, right here in the Lower Mainland.
Our friend Tamiae Squibb of Lakehouse Foods delivers all products by bike – Check out her fully mobile market! By buying local, there’s no packaging at all. We simply swap bins back and forth.

Not to mention that it’s all so totally fun! Eating locally means eating seasonally, inspiring us to be creative in the kitchen with whatever new fruits and vegetables are popping up in our CSA boxes or Farmers’ Markets. It allows us to connect more deeply with those we purchase from, adding layers of community and, dare we say, friendship in our daily routines.

The #BCBuyLocal week is encouraging you to shift just 1% of your spending towards local businesses (take note: that would create 3100 jobs and $94M in wages!), but we think you might be able to do even better! Check out this list of ways YOU can support your local economy, and might we add Banking Local to that list as well?

You shop, we give: Nada joins 1% for the Planet!

Did you know that since we started our pop-up shops in late 2015 we have been donating over 1% of our sales to non-profits focused on food security, food waste, and the protection of our coasts and oceans? Nada was born out of the realization that we are facing an environmental crisis. And nearly every problem the ocean faces – from dead zones created by agricultural runoff to marine debris & plastic pollution, from overfishing to climate change – can be linked to the ways we grow, sell, and dispose of our food. We started Nada as a solution to this crisis, by inspiring people to change the way they shop for groceries.

But offering a new kind of retail is only one part of the solution. The environmental crisis is too large for any one company to attack by itself, and there are so many amazing organizations with boots on the ground now to protect our planet. We believe it equally part of our mission to give back through percentage of sales donations, community engagement events, and volunteer hours. That’s why we’ve committed 1% of sales to grassroots environmental non-profits over the past year and a half, and why we’re so thrilled to deepen that commitment today through official membership with 1% for the Planet.

What is 1% for the Planet?

1% for the Planet is a global movement of businesses supporting environmental solutions through donating 1% of annual sales to grassroots environmental non-profits. It was started in 2002 by Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia and Craig Mathews of Blue Ribbon Flies who came to that same realization: we are facing an environmental crisis. In their words: climate change is an imminent threat, our food systems are increasingly stressed, and our lands, waters, and species are threatened like never before.”

In light of this crisis, only three percent of philanthropic giving in the U.S. goes to environmental causes… and only three percent of that comes from business.

1% for the Planet is a commitment to change that narrative. Member companies are committed to donating at least 1% of gross annual sales to carefully vetted grassroots environmental non-profits who are verified to making real change, right now.

Since 2002, 1% for the Planet has raised over $175 Million USD, with that amount growing each year. If you are a business, or even an individual looking for a great way to give back, we really recommend looking into this great network. You can find out more here.

How it works: You shop, we give!

You have an impact on the health of people and planet every time you shop at Nada. With our 1% for the Planet commitment, that impact is now three-fold:

  1. By choosing to shop package-free, you are supporting a system that disrupts the need for continued production and ultimate disposal of harmful plastic products. Because of its effects on oceans, organisms, and our own food systems, plastic production is increasingly seen as a problem as serious as climate change.
  2. By purchasing products that have been vetted by Nada as supporting beyond organic farming practices, transparent supply chains, and a thriving local economy, you are participating in the next food system revolution! You can find more about our sourcing criteria right here, or if you ever have a question about a particular product, send us a message and we’d be happy to chat.
  3. For every purchase you make, we are committed to donating 1% of sales to grassroots environmental non-profits who are aligned with our mission areas of food wastefood security, and protection of our coasts and waters.

Who are we donating to?

While today is the start of our commitment to 1% for the Planet, we have been donating a percentage of sales since late 2015. Only two things are changing: our commitment is deepened and strengthened through third-party verification, and the organizations we donate to will be carefully vetted for mission and impact.

Here are some of the organizations we have supported in the past*:
*Not all of these organizations are partners with 1% for the Planet, which requires that partner non-profits are registered charities with an environmental focus. We will continue to support social causes above and beyond our 1% for the Planet commitment.

Zero Waste Club Vancouver: Our very first giving partnership was with Zero Waste Club Vancouver, a monthly potluck-and-workshop series connecting YVR folks with resources to minimize landfill contributions, cut plastic and toxic chemical use, and rethink how they shop.

Growing Chefs Society: Supporting our work on food security, Growing Chefs has a mission to educate children and their families about healthy eating and healthy food systems through its Classroom Gardening and Cooking Programs.

Sunshine Coast Association for Community Living: SCACL has a social purpose to support people with developmental disabilities and their families living on the lower Sunshine Coast. We supported their wetland conservation project.

Surfrider Foundation: Surfrider is a community of everyday people passionate about our coast. They ensure beaches are accessible, keep our waters clean, protect our oceans, and keep plastics from polluting our waterways. We’re big fans of their ‘Straws Suck!’ campaign.

Georgia Strait Alliance: The GSA has been working for 25 years to protect the wildlife of the Georgia Strait, restore the region’s water and air quality, foster stewardship of the marine environment, and raise awareness of the links between marine and human health.

Society Promoting Environmental Conservation: We’re proud to support Canada’s oldest environmental non-profit! SPEC empowers local communities in the Lower Mainland to build a greener future through open education and outreach programs. Our funds help support their Master Recycler program.

Plastic Oceans: Plastic Oceans aims to change the world’s attitude toward plastic within one generation, in part through its amazing film ‘A Plastic Ocean‘.  In June we co-hosted a screening of the film with Patagonia Vancouver, donating 100% of our proceeds to the foundation.

The Binners’ Project: The Binners’ Project empowers binners, informal recyclables collectors who work to clean alleys and build community from the bottom up. We love their dual model of fostering social and economic inclusion while engaging on important sustainability issues.

Food Stash Foundation: FSF has a twofold mission to rescue food from producers and suppliers that would have been destined for the landfill, and to deliver edible food items to food-insecure households and individuals in Vancouver. We’ve been working with them for the last 3 months!

We’ve been donating 1% of sales from our July-September events to Food Stash Foundation!

Know of an organization who would be a great fit going forward? We welcome any recommendations of parters you would like us to support. All we ask is that it is a registered environmental charity or non-profit, with a specific focus on food waste, food security, plastic pollution, or the protection of our coasts and waters. Feel free to send us a message right here if you or someone you know would be a fantastic fit!

All together, for the planet,


Nada announces new location: Why we love our space!

It’s happened! After several months of negotiation, we are finally able to announce that we have found, secured, and signed the lease on our dream location for Nada’s permanent storefront!

Update your address books. Plan your bike route. Shout it from the rooftops.
Nada has a permanent home at 675 East Broadway, northwest corner of Fraser and Broadway!

We are so in love with this space, and hope you will be too. Read along to find out WHY we love this space so much and WHAT you need to know right now and for the months up ahead.


Nada is more than just a grocery store. We believe in doing business better. We believe in making conscientious decisions in all aspects of our operations to support the health of both people and planet. Choosing a permanent location was no different, and we had quite the list of criteria for our space. We are confident this building and this location will help us serve our mission to cultivate a better world by inspiring people to change the way they shop for groceries. Here’s some of the reasons why:

The Building

+ LEED Gold Certification: This building is so amazing for its social and environmental purpose. On the environmental side, it has LEED Gold Certification, the highest green-building certification. As a result of geothermal heating, energy efficient insulation, and heat recovery ventilation, our building comes with an anticipated 60% energy savings as compared to traditional buildings. It also has a mandate to achieve a maximum 10% end use energy from fossil fuels! Future developments include the addition of bee colonies to its rooftop urban agriculture space. To find out more about this award-winning design, check out this profile by Sustainable Architecture and Building Magazine or listen to a Green Building Audio Tour of the space!

+ Social Housing & Aboriginal Perspective: Named “Kwayatsut” (seeking one’s power) by Chief Ian Campbell from the Squamish Nation, the building includes a supportive housing partnership between the Broadway Youth Resource Centre, the Vancouver Native Housing Society (VNHS), the City of Vancouver, and BC Housing. It provides housing to low-income individuals with designated beds for Aboriginal youth, LGBTQ+ youth, and youth leaving foster care. This is a truly wonderful initiative, and you can find out so much more about Kwayatsut from its profile on VNHS!

+ Values-Aligned Landlord: Our landlord is the City of Vancouver, which comes with a lot of amazing benefits. Most importantly it allows us to work with the city towards the Greenest City Action Plan goals, Zero Waste Strategy, and Vancouver Food Strategy.

The Neighbourhood

+ Local Accessibility: We know our customers come from all over Vancouver, and finding a location that makes a package-free option available to all Vancouverites is so important to us. Our storefront is located at a major intersection (Fraser & Broadway) in the central neighbourhood of Mount Pleasant. We love the area around this intersection. It is a rich and vibrant community full of wonderful people, small businesses, parks, cycling paths, and neighbourhood houses. We can’t wait to discover more!

+ Transit Accessibility: This location was also chosen because it is highly accessible by transit. The 8, 9, and 99 B-line busses all stop directly in front of our store. It is 5 blocks west of the Clark-VCC Skytrain station, and two B-line stops East of the Broadway-City Hall Canada Line. This allows our current customers from all around Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey, New Westminster, and Richmond to all access our store. And for our customers who don’t use transit, this location has a walk score of 91/100 and a bike score of 95/100. Sustainable transport for the win! Stay tuned for the perks associated with using a sustainable method of transport to get to our store!

Complimentary Businesses: Community is at the heart of what we do, and this area not only has an amazing residential community, but a network of likeminded and supportive businesses. There are several values-aligned businesses all within a few blocks, including Matchstick Coffee and the Mount Pleasant Farmers’ Market. There are currently no grocery stores with a focus on local and organic goods between Commercial Drive and Main Street, and we will fill this much-needed space.


We’ve signed and secured the lease – now what?

+ Permitting and Renovations: Our building & renovation permits are submitted and we’re waiting on the City of Vancouver to work its magic before we can begin construction. We’re really excited for the next stage, and have partnered with some fantastic people to make this store a reality. As in all things, we are focusing on working with values-aligned contractors and suppliers, including Cause+Affect, Naturally Crafted, and ZAS Architects + Interiors. Stay tuned for our opening date & launch party!

+ Crowdfunding: To help us complete our renovations, and to make sure that our buildout is done in the way that best considers the health of people and planet, we will be launching a crowdfunding campaign in November. As that date approaches, we’ll be reaching out for your support in spreading the word and supporting the campaign in any way that you can.

+ Pop-ups: Don’t think that just because we have a fancy new lease we’re forgetting about our pop-up shops, because we sure as heck aren’t! We will be continuing our monthly pop-ups at Patagonia Vancouver, and also have a few more pop-up locations to announce! Our next events are:

August 25th // 10:00am-6:00pm // Patagonia Vancouver (1994 W 4th Avenue)
Nada Pop-Up X Patagonia Vancouver: We’re back at the #TempleOfStoke for our monthly visit! Check us out for our full line of products (and shoot some love to the Patagonia Vancouver team for always being such amazing hosts). 

August 27th // 10:00am-2:00pm // Dude Chilling Park (2390 Brunswick St.)
Nada Pop-Up X Mount Pleasant Farmers’ Market: Y’all know how much we love Farmers’ Markets, and we are so stoked to be able to sell there, especially because it’s only two blocks from our new digs! We’ll have a small selection of our most popular dry goods, our entire range of home & body products, and plenty of reusable alternatives to single-use plastics.

Thank you always for your continued support for Nada. If you have any questions about this announcement (or just want to say hello), give us a shout at hello@nadagrocery.com.


The Nada Team



10 Things We Love About “A Plastic Ocean”

In 2011, journalist, filmmaker and adventurer Craig Leeson set out to make a documentary about the elusive blue whale. While shooting off the coast of Sri Lanka, what was thought to be a pristine environment, his team recorded not only the blue whales but an emulsified mess of oil and bits of plastic floating in the top couple metres of the ocean. This moment, together with similar discoveries by actors around the world lay the seed for “A Plastic Ocean,” a film about the effects of plastic pollution on our oceans, on our lands, and on our world. We had the great pleasure of co-hosting a screening of “A Plastic Ocean” at Patagonia Vancouver for World Oceans Day, and we still can’t get it out of our minds.

Here’s 10 reasons why we LOVE “A Plastic Ocean,” and why we think YOU should watch it too!

1. It starts by sharing the unique stories of how its participants came to care about the effects of ocean plastics. 

From Craig Leeson, to renowned free-diver & environmental activist Tanya Streeter, to an array of marine scientists, toxicologists, and ordinary folks around the world, “A Plastic Ocean” reminds us of the moments of discovery that cause us to care. In our work, it can become so easy to be consumed by the little moments of doing, and to forget the big picture of why this all matters – missing the forest for the trees, if you will. But for all of us here at Nada, and I might venture to say all of us in the broader community, we were all inspired by a moment that caused us to stop, think, and eventually act. We love seeing those moments in others around the world and “A Plastic Ocean” showcases those moments so beautifully well.

Craig Leeson speaking with Dr. Jennifer Lavers about her moment of discovery finding plastics in the stomachs of juvenile seabirds.

2. It understands that the problem of ocean plastics is a global problem.

What is clear from the moment you press play is that the issue of ocean plastics cannot be isolated to one geographic area, nor to one original cause. As soon as plastics enter the oceans, they are subject to the whims of ocean currents, and drift around the world such that even the most remote areas – such as the feeding grounds of pygmy blue whales off the coast of Sri Lanka – suffer from plastic pollution. The film also highlights that the human effects of plastic pollution are likewise global, hitting the most vulnerable populations the hardest. While in Vancouver it is so easy to imagine that plastics just go “away”, we are reminded that there is no absolute “away”.

Waste pickers in Manila, Philippines. Plastics collect here from upstream rivers, and are frequently subject to typhoons that push them into Manila Bay and beyond.

3. It is deeply scientific.

While certain segments of our society have developed an unfortunate preference for rhetoric and hearsay over facts, “A Plastic Ocean” remains deeply scientific of understanding the effects of ocean plastics on both people and planet. Following toxicologists who track the levels of toxic dioxins in the fatty tissues of marine mammals, to neurobiologists researching the presence of hazardous chemicals (e.g. BPA, phalates) in the plastics themselves, the stories in this film are augmented by robust research and analysis.

Dr. Christina Fossi, Ecotoxicologist, takes skin biopsies of marine mammals to identify the level of chemicals and their toxicological effects on whales and dolphins.

4. Yet it doesn’t just tell the stories of scientists, but elevates the voices of marginalized communities throughout the world.

Our team at Nada has been largely inspired by the environmental effects of plastic pollution… but as we’ve researched and learned more, we have discovered that as much as plastics harm our land and water, they also harm marginalized communities around the world. These stories are not told only from and abstract scientific view point, but by allowing these communities – in the Philippines, Fiji, and Tuvalu – to share their own stories and perspectives. It reminds us of the great privilege we have, and on the social issues of access, inequity, and ownership that intersect with narratives on plastic consumption and disposal.

Despite well-known health implications, Rosie, and many others in Fiji, burn plastic rather than kerosene to light their cooking fires because it is easier to burn, easier to find, and free.

5. It recognizes that plastics aren’t just bad for the ocean. They’re bad for our health, and the ones who are the most affected are also the most vulnerable.

Health isn’t something we often talk about at Nada, yet it’s another important lens to discussions on plastic that is only just beginning to be understood in its full effects. Once again, this issue tends to affect vulnerable populations the most – from communities like Rosie’s (above) who burn plastics for cooking fuel, to children in North America who are most exposed and least protected to the harms of BPA, phalates, and other plastic additives in single-use convenience items.

Dr. George Bittner, Professor of Neurobiology speak with Tanya Streeter about the presence of estrogen activity (EA) in most plastic additives, few of which are regulated by the FDA.

6. It stays present.

This isn’t just something that happened in the past, and it’s not just something we can put off to the future. It’s happening now, which means we must start acting now.

You’d be surprised at how early this message popped up in this film.

7. While it is easy to become overwhelmed, it also showcases amazing initiatives for a better world.

If all that I’ve said so far has made you want to curl up in a blissful state of ignorance, let me also tell you that despite all of the negative effects of plastic on our oceans, despite all of the negative effects of plastic on our communities, and despite all of the negative effects of plastic on our health, there are some amazing solutions being discovered, and that gives us hope. From local resilience and ingenuity, to technological advances in safe incineration, to regulatory change around the world, “A Plastic Ocean” gives hope for a better future.

The Pasig River used to be as polluted as Smokey Mountain (shown in Photo 2). It has been recovered through regenerative Vetiver grass and a dose of local ingenuity.

8. But it never forgets that the biggest change is the one we can make right now, right here, in our own communities, as consumers and as citizens.

Sure, all that technological advance and regulatory change is cool (and so amazing), but it’s not the solution. As this film mentions over and over again, “it starts with the individual, and it starts with us.” This film ends with a number of real and effective changes WE can make right now. Well, I’m not going to spoil the film’s grand finale, but let me tell you, I’m feeling pretty empowered right now. It was such a special moment to watch this film at Patagonia, with over 200 inspirational humans in the room, and having it validated that what we’re doing, what we’re all doing, is a huge part of the solution. Keep on keeping on, friends.

Demand that your supermarket deliver your products in paper or just as they come.

9. All this is backed up with some of the most stunning photography.

Being in touch with nature as one of the most important connectors for us. We are so lucky to live in an amazing corner of the world nestled between ocean and mountains, and we must always remind ourselves never to take it for granted. Seeing our beautiful world inspires us to continue our fight towards a world that is just for both people and planet. The images in this film reinforce this feeling, over and over again, and for that we can’t thank Plastic Oceans enough!

My lowly screenshots can’t do justice to the beautiful filmography… just trust me that this underwater video camera is much better equipped to do the job!

10. Last reason you should watch “A Plastic Ocean”? It’s available on Netflix…

… so what are you waiting for?!

A big thank you to Plastic Oceans (the foundation behind the film – check them out here) for all the work you’ve done and for continuing to push forward and inspire.


“We’ll share this story because from knowing from caring, and from caring comes change.” — A Plastic Ocean


The 5 Rs: Farmers’ Market Edition!

We love the farmers’ markets! There’s really no better way to support your local food system than buying local and organically grown produce from growers & producers close to home. When you buy closer to the source, there are less opportunities for plastics to creep into your food purchase.

Much of the packaging at the farmers market is either conventionally recyclable or compostable… but let’s remember that the 5R’s of zero-waste livin’: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot.

How can these be translated into your trip to the Farmers Market?

Refuse packaging you don’t need. Most farmers are happy to sell their product with little or no packaging, as that is one less cost they have to take on. Simply bring your own cloth bag (those mesh laundry bags work great for this!) and ask to have your produce put there instead of in plastic bags.

Reduce packaging you can’t refuse. Of course not all products will be available package-free all the time (think cheeses, eggs, and those lovely seasonal preserves that are popping up all over the place). When you’re looking for these items, choose the ones with the least packaging, and consider how the packaging might be reused, recycled, or composted down the line…

Reuse what you can. One of our favourite zero waste discoveries was when we realized we could give back packaging to our friends at the farmers market! Many stands are happy to reuse empty egg cartons, berry containers, elastics and twist-ties! You can either return it right at the source (for example by emptying berries into your own bag and giving the berry carton back), or take it home with you and bring it back next week for reuse. Products like pickles or jams are often sold in glass jars, a zero-waster’s best friend. Reuse these for storage of dry goods, as drink containers, or to freeze batches of soup.

Recycle what’s left. Once you’ve followed the tips above, there shouldn’t be too much left to recycle. If you think your packaging can be given another useful life, try to do so, or send a message to the Zero Waste Vancouver Facebook group to see if anyone will take it off your hands. Once your options are exhausted, make sure it goes in your recycling container rather than the trash can!

Rot (compost) everything else. We always say that the best packaging of all is nature’s packaging. Egg shells, cherry stems and pits, onion skins… once these have done their job keeping your product nice and fresh, send ‘em over to the compost, where they can nurture the next generations of fruit and veg.

You can find a full list of farmers markets in Vancouver right here.

See you at the market!

31 Tips for a Successful Plastic Free July

Plastic Free July is an initiative to raise awareness of the amount of single-use plastic in our lives by challenging participants to refuse single-use plastics during the entire month. Starting in 2011 in Perth, Australia, the challenge has now expanded to 130+ countries world-wide. Obviously, we’re a fan. If you’re following along for a day, a week, or the entire month, don’t forget to register for the global initiative here!

At Nada, part of our mission is to make the zero waste movement as accessible as it can be, to secure our vision of an unpackaged future: a lighter world free of excess. Whether you’re a zero waste expert or just starting out, it can be quite an intimidating challenge to completely eliminate plastic consumption for an entire month, so we’re offering an easy way to get involved in Plastic Free July. We’re sharing 31 tips – one per day – that can be followed day-by-day or all at once!

Our guiding star in any decision is the 5 R’s (not 3!)

  • Refuse items that you don’t need
  • Reduce those you do
  • Reuse what you can
  • Recycle what’s left
  • Rot (compost) everything else

We’ve added three more R’s – RethinkReplace, and Reach Out – to create seven categories of tips, one for each day of the week!

The list below is just a summary… the Nada team will also be sharing our stories and our own #plasticfreejuly journeys on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Be sure to follow along!

Now let’s get started!

July 1 – Reflect: If your intention is to reduce your personal waste, the worst thing you can do is just toss all your plastics into the trash. Take a day to reflect – notice all the places you’re using plastics… from your deodorant, to your floss, to your grab-and-go snack. Take time to think about plastic-free replacements for these items, and the next time you need to purchase new, try purchasing plastic-free.

July 2 – Ready yourself with a handy zero waste kit! The hardest part about refusing single-use is when you’re out and about and don’t have any alternative. The good news is that it’s pretty easy to prepare a zero waste kit filled with replacements to common single-use items, such as a reusable mug, a water bottle, a metal straw, and a lightweight metal container to carry any snacks. Keep these stored in your backpack or purse so that you can always replace single-use with a better choice.

July 3: Refuse single-use plastics! Think of at least one single-use plastic item that you pledge to refuse for the remainder of the month. Who knows, maybe you’ll start a new habit! The first places we would start are: plastic drink bottles, coffee cups, plastic straws and cutlery, and plastic bags.

July 4: Reduce plastic bags and plastic wrap. There are so many alternatives to plastic wrap and plastic baggies. Our favourite alternative is all-natural and compostable beeswax wraps, which have the added bonus of being breathable, so your food stays fresher than in plastic! Or you can use a glass or metal container… or just cover your leftovers with a plate!

July 5: Reuse packaging containers by bringing your own. Bring reusable cloth bags, containers, and jars to refill with bulk dry and liquid items. More and more businesses are willing to let you refill your own containers; scout these out and make sure to support those that do. You can check out Nada’s BYOC policy here.

July 6: Recycling Warriors. Support organizations promoting a circular economy. Vancouver is home to a lot of amazing initiatives to collect resources from our waste streams and turn them into something new. Choose reclaimed wood in your next construction project. Seek out recycled textiles for your next fabric purchase. And support recyclers like the Binners’ Project who are committed to diverting waste from landfills.

July 7: Replace liquid soap with naked soap. Liquid soap creates a lot more waste than bar soap. You can always reduce waste by refilling, but why not cut out waste entirely by switching to bar soap… especially if you can find it package free! (Hot tip: this also works for shampoo bars instead of liquid ‘poo and conditioner).

July 8: Reach Out to businesses. Support companies that are champions of social and environmental responsibility and those that are making the world a better place. Although this list is certainly not exhaustive, certifications such as B-Corp, Fairtrade, and 1% for the Planet are a good place to start.

July 9: Reconnect with your food system. Start asking questions about your food (and other products). Where did it come from? Where did it come from? Who made it? How was it transported? What packaging is used? What values does your supplier promote? Seek out actors that are transparent about their supply chains. The more you know about your food, the more control you have over its impact.

July 10: Refuse plastic straws. One of the most common plastic items to make its way into our oceans is plastic straws. Join the movement to say, “No straw, please” when you order a drink out.

July 11: Reduce your environmental impact (and the packaging that goes along) by choosing foods lower on the food chain. Aside from the lower overall footprint of choosing plants over animal products, have you ever noticed how much more plastic is used in packing meat versus plant-based items? You don’t need to go 100% vegan, 100% of the time, but consider the impact of the foods you eat and try a new recipe for plant-based eating.

July 12: Reuse (or help vendors do so) by returning packaging at the Farmers Market. While most packaging at the farmers market is recyclable or compostable, bonus points if you bring it right back to the source. Many stands are happy to reuse empty egg cartons, berry containers, elastics, and twist-ties!

July 13: Rot all organics including food scraps, bones, tea bags, coffee grounds, and more! The best, most sustainable packaging of all is nature’s packaging. Be sure to place them in a compost bin so it they don’t contribute to as much GHG emissions as stewing in the landfill!

July 14: Replace almost all your cleaning suppliers with vinegar and baking soda. In addition to making the best elementary school science projects, vinegar and baking soda are a killer combination for most cleaning tasks, including washing dishes, removing soap scum from your bathtub, and scrubbing rust off your frying pan. Check out a great list from Plastic Free July here.

July 15: Reach Out to the zero waste community. A great way to find support along your journey is to connect with like-minded folks who are similarly seeking to refuse single-use plastics. Did you know there are zero waste Facebook groups across the country? Check out our blog post to find resources in your local community.

July 16: Reconnect with your farmers! There’s no better way to support your local food system than buying local and organically grown produce from your Farmers Market. And when you buy closer to the source, there are less opportunities for plastics to creep their way into your food purchase. Most farmers are happy to sell their product with little or no packaging, as that is one less cost they have to take on. Added bonus: your produce is fresher, so it will last longer than produce from the grocery store!

July 17: Refuse stuff you don’t want. We collect so much stuff that we don’t want. Learn to say no to that extra stuff. Don’t grab the promo bag. Say no to receipts you don’t need. Refuse junk mail by leaving a note on your mailbox!

July 18: Reduce the amount of stuff you buy new. When you avoid buying things new, you also avoid all of the production resources and packaging that comes with new items. Choose the second-hand economy! Shop at yard sales. Use Craigslist or Kijiji. Test your luck on Ebay. Rummage your local thrift store. Organize a clothing swap. Rediscover your local library.

July 19: Reuse cotton or canvas bags for everything from picking up a loaf or bread to stuffing with fresh, organic produce! Stash reusable carry bags in your backpack, purse, bike basket, or trunk so that you always have them on hand.

July 20: Recycle right. While the ultimate goal of initiatives like Plastic Free July is to have zero waste to send into recycling at all, in the meantime it’s so important to know where and how to recycle. Recycle BC has a Waste Wizard to find out how to recycle those tricky items (think batteries, lightbulbs, aerosol cans). Check it out!

July 21: Replace store-bought deodorant with DIY or compostable! If you can’t find products without packaging, try making your own! There are a lot of great recipes for personal care products like deodorant: mix together baking soda, arrowroot powder, coconut oil, and a couple of drops of essential oils. If you’re not feeling the DIY, there are a lot of natural alternatives – we carry one with compostable packaging!

July 22: Reach Out to your local government. Tell your elected reps that you support policies that encourage responsible consumption. To get started, the federal government is currently seeking input on what should be included in a Food Policy for Canada, and here in Vancouver, the municipal government is considering a ban on single-use disposables. Need we say more?

July 23: Reconnect with why this all matters! There are a number of great blogs, books, and films out there providing inspiration on why and how to live with less plastics. Some of our favourite blogs are Trash is for Tossers, Zero Waste Home, and Life without Plastic. And if you haven’t watched it yet, A Plastic Ocean is available on Netflix!

July 24: Refuse single-use coffee pods. Choose a plastic-free way of making your morning cup of coffee. Use a reusable coffee filter in your machine or a French press. Bonus points for getting your beans in bulk and your machine second-hand!

July 25: Reduce convenience items. Challenge yourself to choose one convenience food item that you love that usually comes packed in plastic, and make it yourself! Granola bars? Yoghurt cups? Popcorn, roasted chickpeas & trail mix? Google is your friend. 

July 26: Return containers whenever you can! Many businesses support a return program where you can bring back glass containers for a rebate. Purchase dairy and ice cream in glass jars whenever possible, and hold on to your growlers and clean empty wine bottles to refill at local breweries and wineries.

July 27: Recycle & Rot by design. One of the sister movements to the zero waste philosophy is cradle-to-cradle design. Rather than traditional design, which focuses primarily on consumption, cradle-to-cradle design considers the entire lifecycle of a product and envisions the continuous recovery and reutilization of product components in biological (composting) or technical (recycling) cycles. When you purchase a product, look at the components and consider how they will return to waste-streams. If it can’t be easily recycled or composted, don’t buy it.

July 28: Replace paper wth cloth. Reusable towels > paper towels. Handkerchiefs > Kleenex. Cotton rounds > disposable makeup wipes. Not only are all of these products single-use, they are often wrapped in a lot of unnecessary plastic. Both these problems can be reduced by choosing reusable organic cotton alternatives.

July 29: Reach Out to your friends! If you’ve been along for the entire month, we’re sure you’ve learned a lot! But this isn’t ultimately about a single-month challenge, but a lifestyle change toward a more sustainable future. Speak up and share with those around you what you’ve learned, and try to get at least one person to adopt at least one new change.

July 30 – Reconnect with the outdoors. We live in such a beautiful world, and just being outside is enough to motivate us to keep our oceans, mountains, and communities free from plastic waste. Go to your favourite outdoor place and reconnect (remember to pack out what you pack in!). Even better, participate in a local beach or trail clean up, or lead one yourself!

July 31 – Reflect, again. Congratulations – what a month! It’s the end of the challenge but it’s certainly not the end of the journey. Once you’ve been at it for a month, do a waste audit (simply take a glance at your trash bin!) to see where you are continuing to use package. Imagine ways to reduce that further and repeat!

We can’t wait for this month to start and see what fun #plasticfree ideas you all have!


The Nada Team


Zero Waste across the Country

Did you know that we have zero waste Facebook groups across the country!? Nada started with a mission to cultivate a better world by inspiring people to change the way they shop for groceries, and we’re all about sharing information and supporting local initiatives!

In October 2015, we started Zero Waste Vancouver – a Facebook page for Vancouverites to post resources, events, news articles, and questions about all things zero waste (find it here!). It started as a small group of those curious about the zero waste movement, and has grown to over 3000 members in the past year and a half …

… and now we’re hoping it can grow so much more! We’ve created zero waste Facebook groups across the country, and hope to cultivate a similar community of resource-sharing and conversation-having. We’re so excited to see the zero waste movement growing and know that other cities can really benefit from such a plethora of local resources as we do here. You can find the cross-Canada Facebook groups by following these links:

Zero Waste Calgary
Zero Waste Edmonton
Zero Waste Fraser Valley
Zero Waste Fredericton
Zero Waste Halifax
Zero Waste Kingston
Zéro Déchet Montréal – Zero Waste Montreal
Zero Waste Ottawa – Zéro Déchet Ottawa
Zero Waste PEI
Zéro Déchet Québec – Zero Waste Quebec City
Zero Waste Regina
Zero Waste Sea-to-Sky (Lions Bay to Pemberton)
Zero Waste Toronto
Zero Waste Whitehorse
Zero Waste Winnipeg
Zero Waste Yellowknife

Our admin team is looking for people in these cities to become admins & help us grow these groups so that they become as wonderful & rich as this one is. If you know any zero waste heroes in these cities, send us a message at hello@nadagrocery.com!

If you have friends & family in the cities listed above, please also add them to those groups. Zero Waste Vancouver started by us roping in all our friends (most who had never heard of ‘zero waste’ – just like us way back when) and it’s been really inspiring to see them grow and contribute to this group over time. And if there’s a city or region that you’d like to see a zero waste group in, please let us know by commenting below!

Goodbye Zero Waste Market … Introducing, Nada!

We’re excited to announce that as of today, Zero Waste Market is transitioning to Nada! This evolution is a result of some hard work in the past few months, and we’re so happy to finally share it with you!

We’ll be on social media and email all day today to field any questions, but right off the bat, we’ll start with answering some of the biggies:

+ Why are we making this change?

+ What is Nada?

+ What do you need to know right now?

+ What are our plans going forward?

Why are we making this change?

Zero Waste Market was the first zero waste grocery initiative in Canada, incorporated in the Spring of 2015. Over these past two years, we have been hosting pop-up shops at Patagonia’s Vancouver store and at various community events throughout the city. We have brought you package-free foods, zero waste starter items, and imperfect local & organic produce in an effort to support and strengthen our local food system. But most importantly, we have witnessed an incredible community of folks come together to support us along every step of the way. We are so appreciative all of the attendance at our events, promotion on social media, and sharing our mission via word of mouth. We seem to have filled a gap in the city that we had only hoped existed and we are so excited to see the zero waste movement grow!

But when we started Zero Waste Market in 2015, we always envisioned the name as a placeholder. Today, we’re saying goodbye to Zero Waste Market, and hello to Nada.

Here’s Why

+ Zero Waste Market has grown to so much more than a market; it’s a community. It’s an opportunity to reconnect with our food and understand how easy it is to be package-free and to be inspired by so many unexpected raw ingredients & materials. It’s a movement to encourage all of us to look at the food system differently and to ask questions about how we can be activists for change.

+ It’s an opportunity to go beyond a food market, to give our customers an idea of the tremendous wealth of what is available locally, not just in terms of produce, but also grains, home care items, toiletries, and long-lasting alternatives to single use disposables.  

+ We will be announcing our permanent location in the next few weeks, and with a new store, we want to have a fresh new image and that represents the creativity behind our business.

What we are not doing, is changing our core reason for being, our core values, and our core commitment to a just food system and a lighter world free of excess. In fact, it is exactly our commitment to these values that drives us to make this move.

What is Nada?

At Nada, we’re just food. No packaging. No confusing labels. No ingredients you can’t pronounce. We’re working hard for a just food system – one that supports a thriving local economy and connects people to their food.

Our vision is an unpackaged future: a lighter world that values a food system free of excess and waste to support the health of both people and planet . We’re on a mission is to cultivate a better world by inspiring people to change the way they shop for groceries.

Nada is 100% committed to our suppliers. We want to know where our food comes from and hope you do too! We know almost all of our suppliers personally, where our products come from, who grew or produced them, and how they got to us. Some of the criteria that we look at when sourcing include ensuring fair wages to growers and producers, responsible farming practices, and the overall environmental and carbon footprints of the product.

Nada is 100% committed to community. For every purchase you make, 1% of proceeds are donated to grassroots non-profit organizations that are supporting a sustainable food system and standing up for our coast. We are already supporting over 50 community partners and small businesses!

Nada is 100% committed to the zero waste movement. To us, this means reducing the waste of our entire operations to as close to zero as possible – including paperless receipts, reusable supplier packaging, and donating all surplus food.

Nada is 100% committed to you! Our goal is to empower our customers to decrease food waste and unnecessary packaging. We’re working hard make your zero waste shopping easier and your food experience more enjoyable with quality products, thoughtful service & honest pricing.

Nada is 100% just food.

What do you need to know right now?

Our social accounts, email addresses, and other important resources are in transition – some of the accounts you know and love will look a little different from now on. Here are the important ones:

+ Website: we’ve moved to nadagrocery.com with all sorts of new content (and more on the way!), a blog, and updated ways to get in touch.

+ Email: we’ve moved our accounts to the new domain – say hello at hello@nadagrocery.com

+ Social media: you can now find us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram @nadagrocery

What are our plans going forward?

Most importantly, the changing face of Zero Waste Market is not the only change up ahead. We’ve been working hard to secure a lease and make Nada an everyday reality. We will be announcing the location of our permanent store in the next few weeks, so stay tuned for that address!

In the meantime, we’re continuing all of our regular operations and are looking forward to seeing you this weekend! Our next events are:

+ June 18th: THIS SUNDAY is Car Free Day Main Street, and we’ll be set up with other like-minded businesses including SPEC (Society Promoting Environmental Conservation) and The Soap Dispensary. We’ll be set up on the east side of Main St. at E 21st Ave. We’re excited to have our first pop-up with our new branding, and can’t wait to talk with you all then!

+ June 30th: we’ll be having our monthly pop-up shop at the Patagonia Vancouver store (1994 West 4th Ave.).

+ July 8th: We’ll also be at the Khatsahlano! Music + Art Festival, stationed in front of Patagonia.

+ More to come… stay tuned by signing up for our newsletter!

Naturally, with all of this change, there will be a couple of kinks to work out. We ask for your patience and also your help! If you discover any links that are broken or information that is missing, please let us know by messaging us on Facebook or by emailing hello@nadagrocery.com!

Last, we’d like to say a ginormous THANK YOU! We are continually amazed by our community of zero wasters making change in their own lives and giving us SO MUCH SUPPORT along the way.

Lots of love from the Nada team,

Brianne, Alison, Ali, Brianna & Michelle