Long days on campus can sometimes call for frequent snacks to refuel. Once you’ve tired of the veggies & dip or egg sandwiches offered at our cafeteria, you may be at a loss to find healthy munchies close by at a reasonable price. If you find yourself in such a predicament, look no furher than Concordia’s co-operative health food store, Le Frigo Vert.
We can’t claim Frigo Vert as our own because they also service clients outside the university, but they are located on Mackay st. just below Sherbrooke (facing the Hall building).
Frigo Vert has been operating for the past 13 years and Concordia students have had a lot to do with its development. Years ago students passed a motion that allotted a portion of undergraduate tuition fees to go towards the Frigo Vert. You may not have known it, but as an undergrad student you’re already a member of the Frigo Vert Co-op and are entitled to various benefits. Members receive a 20 per cent discount on items in the store; they also have the option of making special orders for bulk items which can further reduce the cost of goods. As a member you have a say in the structure of the store, and Frigo employees welcome input you may have about improvements that could be made or new features that could be introduced.
The Frigo Vert offers many food items in bulk, which can be a very convenient way to do your groceries. Bulk shopping is significantly cheaper than buying packaged items, and you have the freedom to take the specific amount of rice, flour, or couscous you feel you will need. The Frigo also stocks a number of packaged items, but careful thought is put into which brands are stocked on the shelves. Items sold at the Frigo Vert have to meet at least some of the standards laid out in the store’s mandate. With a commitment to fighting oppression and healthy living, Frigo employees make a point of ordering healthy, organic, enviro-friendly, and fair-trade merchandise. They work with approximately 15 large distributing companies and they take the time to look into the labour standards at these companies as well. Aside from bulk items such as grains, rices, flour and sugar, the Frigo also sells a number of products that will enhance your culinary creations at home. A wide variety of oils and sauces line the shelves as well as special ingredients for Asian cuisine. Fresh peanut, almond and tahini butters are available, along with sugar-free jams and non-dairy spreads. You’ll also find organic breads and pasta, some organic veggies and fruits, and a variety of soy milks and healthy munchies like corn tortilla chips and organic crackers.
Many customers visit with their grocery lists in hand, but the Frigo also caters to the “on-the-go” shopper looking for a healthy snack to eat on the run. Fresh sandwiches are availale, packed with healthy veggies. At $3 to $4 they’re a great find for the vegetarian or health-conscious student on a tight budget. Tasty treats also include chocolate rice snacks, fresh muffins, fruit energy bars, and organic chocolate bars made with real cocoa. Coffee is always freshly brewed and fair trade, and natural fruit juices are sold in a variety of flavours.
The Frigo Vert also sells non-food items. In their toiletry section you’ll find all things organic from soap to bubble bath, and massage oils to toothpaste. Organic tampons are in stock, as well as re-usable pads for those gals who are really committed to minimizing the earth’s waste. Eco-friendly household cleaners are available. Everything from laundry to dish detergent is there to help keep your home clean without harming the earth and air around you.
Whenever possible, the Frigo Vert will choose to buy locally to keep businesses and organic farmers here at home going strong. Last spring a program called “Community Supported Agriculture” was set up and run by the Frigo Vert. Members were able to buy shares in various local farms and would receive weekly deliveries of fresh produce from the crops they helped to support. This program helped farmers off-set some costs of the season; it also assumed some of the risks farmers take in terms of crop productivity and varying weather conditions. With fresh, fruit and veggies all summer, participants in the program reaped the benefits as well.
Community-oriented projects are a big part of Frigo Vert. They are, first and foremost, a health food store committed to making natural, organic food accessible to students and the community. They also promote healthy living in a number of ways. Workshops are organized within Frigo Vert that provide members and non-members the opportunity to meet new people, learn new skills, or discuss important issues. Topics such as globalization and nutrition are brought to the table and organizers share their own knowledge while opening the floor for a general discussion. “Do-it-yourself” workshops are held from time to time, where participants can learn a skill or work on a particular craft. Last year a “make-your-own-sex-toy” workshop was very popular and promoted healthy sexuality in a fun and open way.
Frigo employees are working with a financial advisor to set up a long-term business plan that will sustain them throughout the next five years. They hope to expand the store with a new location and an even wider selection of merchandise in stock. Having worked hard in the last two years to come out of debt, the people at Frigo Vert are confident that a fruitful future is possible for the co-operative health store. Growth in the store enables further project developments and this is a key factor in the Frigo’s planning for the years to come. Employees hope to continue the legacy left by Concordia students 13 years ago and make the Frigo Vert a lasting part of healthy living at Concordia and in the downtown area.
Volunteers are always welcomed and will receive an additional discount in the store after putting in a regular weekly shift. If you want to be involved in a healthy, eco-friendly organization that will feed both your body and mind, stop by the Frigo Vert and find out what they have to offer.
Frigo Vert is located at Mackay St. Store hours are: Mon – Fri. 11am-7pm.
You can reach them at :
or on the web at: