Made in Vancouver is a collaboration between Vancity and Daily Hive. Together, we’re turning the spotlight onto local businesses, organizations, and individuals who are helping to create a healthy local economy.
Nada co-founder Brianne Miller first realized that our current grocery system was broken while working in the field as a Marine Biologist for many years.
“Brianne had witnessed firsthand the mass of harmful, unnatural plastic swirling around in our oceans, the majority of which was waste associated with food packaging. This was when she realized that our current grocery system was broken,” said Tom Finkle, Marketing Director at Nada.
“Even the most ethical, local, organic examples were still caught in this cycle of waste. And so, she asked the simple question: ‘What if food was just food again?'”
Vancity has been supporting people in our communities since 1946. As part of our Made in Vancouver series spotlighting local businesses, we talked to Brianne Miller and Alison Carr, co-founders of Nada, about how their package-free grocery store is helping people connect to their food and make more sustainable food choices. Learn more about what Vancity is doing in your community at vancity.com
This question inspired Miller and co-founder Alison Carr to launch Nada, Vancouver’s first zero-waste grocery store. Opened in East Vancouver in 2018 after a successful crowdfunding campaign brought the project to life, Nada offers both in-person and online package-free shopping experiences with over 750 products from hundreds of small local suppliers and farmers.
“We’re on a mission to champion a community food system by linking buyers to suppliers and offering healthy, unpackaged goods to our community,” said Finkle to Daily Hive. “We have carefully sourced our selection of food and goods from vendors who are doing their part to support a circular supply chain. Shopping online at Nada makes going package-free easy, fun, and safe.”
Shoppers at Nada can pack their groceries and goods in upcycled containers, compostable bags, and deposit jars. Over 1 million containers have been diverted from landfills since opening.
The grocery store also offers free carbon-neutral contactless grocery delivery through Shift Delivery, a pedal-powered delivery bike co-op. Nada even has one of the most eco-friendly cafes in the city.
“For most people, grocery stores are the vehicle that connects people to their food. Grocery stores thus play a crucial role in transforming the food system and have a unique opportunity to better connect people to their food and help them make more sustainable food choices,” explained Finkle. “That’s why we believe it’s so important to work alongside our suppliers to combat these issues and drive change within our local supply chain; via the relationships, conversations and learnings we share together.”
For every purchase made at Nada, 1 percent of all top-line revenues are donated to grassroots environmental organizations that support a more sustainable food system and protect BC’s coast. And until the end of December 2021, 1 percent of package-free purchases will go directly to Plastic Oceans Foundation Canada through 1% for the Planet.
Nada’s facilitates monthly online events to encourage climate action and waste reduction, and their surplus food recovery program and “Nada’s Own” products also completely offset their direct carbon emissions.
“Nada is focusing all of its efforts on making a big climate impact for the betterment of our collective future by targeting three buckets: impact, community, and supply chain,” added Finkle. “We wouldn’t be here without an amazing team and supportive community pushing us to live out our values.
“With the impacts of climate change at our forefront, as the global population continues to grow, and the demand for food continues to rise, it is crucial that we find ways to reduce the emissions associated with the food system. From the products on our shelves to the brands we choose to work with, to the partnerships we bring inside of our store, there are so many hands involved and good work being done.”
Those interested in visiting Nada can do so at 675 East Broadway in Vancouver from 12 to 7 pm daily (Closed December 24 to January 1) or anytime at nadagrocery.com.