Concordia co-op invites you to come in and shop or just sit and stay a while
Shopping in an organic, bulk co-operative food store is easier and less expensive than most Concordia students might think.
Le Frigo Vert, located at 2130 Mackay Street, may go unnoticed as you hurriedly walk to or from class but step inside and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. If you’re a caffeine lover, get excited because their coffee is only 50 cents when you bring your own mug.
Upon entering, shoppers will see large containers of bulk products such as flour, rice, oats and beans, which are sold alongside lunch items like falafel sandwiches, chicken wraps and snacks. Other items include a selection of oils, sauces, cleaning products and body products. Where else could you be but Le Frigo Vert, an organic, anti-capitalist food store?
“[Le Frigo Vert] isn’t just about having things be organic or GMO free, it’s about being affordable,” said Maria Forti, one of Frigo’s six employees. Affordability is one of the store’s top priorities, but where products come from and how they are advertised are also important, she said.
The majority of Le Frigo Vert’s products are organic, and the store constantly searches for local organic suppliers. Some include Concordia’s Greenhouse, small farmers and several small growing projects around the city, including a rooftop farm in Chinatown. A restaurant on Ste. Catherine Street supplies their popular lunch items like falafel sandwiches. Mountain Path provides Frigo’s larger, bulk products while the Ontario Natural Food Co-op serves as another steadfast organic, health-conscious food supplier.
Along with low prices, Frigo Vert embodies anti-capitalist, co-operative views by making “an effort to be connected to other social struggles that are happening in the city” and “being non-profit and having policies in ordering mandates,” said Forti. “When there are different students struggling for different things on campus, [Frigo] will try to support them in any way we can,” Forti said.
“Frigo Vert originally started as a buyer’s collective,” said Forti. Members of the Eat Your Appeal Collective came together in order to buy bulk products or cases of products since buying in larger quantities was less expensive. As the collective garnered more members, they opted to purchase a storefront, she said.
Concordia students are members of the co-op, as the membership fees are collected through a fee levy which is lumped into students’ tuition payments each semester. Undergraduate students pay a levy fee of $0.33 per credit and graduate students pay $1.50 per semester, according to Frigo’s official website. So, rather than paying $20 for a membership, Concordia students can simply go to the store and the staff will ask them to sign in to their MyConcordia portal to show their class schedule and then their membership card is printed. Members pay the prices seen in the store, while non-members pay 20 per cent more.
Frigo’s services to students don’t end there. Towards the back of the store, a lounge area with free Wi-Fi is open to all, even if you haven’t purchased anything. For Concordia students, Frigo is a welcoming area away from the daily grind where affordable, fresh products are available.