Green Eating, Green Living: Package Free Vegan Grocery Shopping E-mail
by Chelsea Slocum

Separately Angela Topp and Ryan Cappelletti are pioneers in eating and living green within West Michigan. Angela founded Treehuggers in 2010, a store that assists residents of both Holland and Grand Rapids in maintaining a greener lifestyle by selling a variety of recycled, organic, locally made items at affordable prices. In 2011 Ryan opened Bartertown, an organic vegan/vegetarian restaurant dedicated to transforming the way people think about food and educating them on how to eat locally and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

While both these individuals are doing fantastic things for the community by themselves, two is always better than one. Angela and Ryan have joined forces to provide Grand Rapids with a package free vegan/vegetarian bulk grocery store.  Package free means no plastic bottles or bags. All the food sold within the grocery store will stand true to the standards set at Bartertown Diner; it will be vegan/vegetarian, always local, and always organic. The stock will change as the seasons change. Ryan and Angela plan to sell vegan sandwiches and sides made in house, as well as wholesome options including tofu, nuts, pasta, and hot sauce. “We want to reinvent the way that West Michigan thinks about grocery,” says Angela. “Our goal is to provide a safe, stable alternative to shopping for vegans, vegetarians, and those interested in a greener lifestyle.”

Ryan and Angela are in the middle of renovating the back portion of Treehuggers (located at the corner of Wealthy and Diamond) by adding sinks, coolers, aisle ways, etc. For the last few weeks a Kickstarter campaign has been going strong for those wishing to help financially support this initiative. “The funds raised through Kickstarter will help assist Ryan and I in stretching our current inventory providing local residents with a greater variety of food,” says Angela.

If you would like to help bring sustainable, local food to your hometown or would like to learn more about this project click here for more information.

Chelsea Slocum is a resident of Grand Rapids. She works as an educator and enjoys learning about new and different things happening in the city. Follow her on twitter @cslocum.


Published: May 21, 2012

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