MICHELLE GENTTNER & LUIS MARTINS - MARKET OWNERS
Both of us grew up in rural areas - Michelle in Southwestern Ontario and Luis in Southern Portugal. We were raised to recognize and appreciate our food and where it comes from: be it trees, gardens, streams, or pastures. Food and family are intrinsic in both of our memories: planting and weeding gardens, canning batch after batch of tomato sauce, freezing corn cut fresh off the cob, collecting eggs…the list goes on. These foundations are so important to us that we both dedicated more than half of our lives to the hospitality industry.
“It was the restaurant life that really opened our eyes: not just to the disconnect that many people today have with their food, but also to the incredible amounts of unnecessary waste that occur every day.”
It was the restaurant life that really opened our eyes: not just to the disconnect that many people today have with their food, but also to the incredible amounts of unnecessary waste that occur every day. Not just packaging (which is a staggering amount on its own), but actual food waste. The Province of Ontario says that Ontarians create enough food waste to fill the Rogers Centre FIVE TIMES every year. We decided that we needed to do something. The throwaway lifestyle that has become so rampant in today’s society is recognizable everywhere. Having grown up in an area where containers were returned to farmers, and where items from our gardens were brought to the house bundled in dishtowels or baskets, we know that it is entirely possible.
Like most zero waste stores in Canada, we started out by researching to see what stores already exist, and how they were meeting the needs of their areas. We were not surprised to learn about the vast number of stores operating and thriving around the world. The Provinces of British Columbia and Quebec also already have quite a few stores available. Ontario, however, was found to be sorely lacking. As we researched more, we recognized a growing need in Toronto, and started the long quest for a storefront. In September of 2018, six months after selling our bar, we finally signed a lease and successfully opened the store in February 2019.