For as long as my career has been in gay media, marketing, and advertising (That would be 30 years. That’s a lot of years), The Big Carrot has been a welcoming place for our LGBTQ community, and were one of the early on mainstream businesses who supported many of our community media.

They are Toronto’s first health food store specializing in organically grown, non-GMO and environmentally safe products since 1983. Lately The Big Carrot embarked on a new move. Join please as we chat with Sarah Dobec about what’s new and exciting.

photo by Terry Asma

What is happening at The Big Carrot, I hear you are undergoing some changes?

We sure are. It’s been a very exciting time for us. In 2016, we collectively decided to begin an expansion of The Big Carrot. I chuckle when people say, “Why now?” But after 34 years, why not? This was an excellent opportunity to revisit our commitments, dream up new goals and design a fresh new look. It was a ton of work but I think our communities will love the rebranding and messaging. Our second location will open in spring 2018 at Kingston Road and Main Street in Toronto’s beach community.

How did the store get its start, give us a little big of history here?

The Big Carrot was the creation of nine ambitious individuals back in 1983. These folks saw a need for a natural food store that offered everything – organic produce, healthy meals, natural meats and health foods. The industry was just getting started back then and they were ahead of the curve.

What is unique about your store, what sets you apart?

There are so many things that set us apart but my favourite comment from many customers is that they like “the vibe” at our store. It’s not a tangible thing but people feel it. I personally believe it is a combination of the healthy food we offer, our groovy staff and the energy our communities bring to our space. Beyond that, The Big Carrot has been committed to supporting sustainable food systems for 34 years. All processing and handling departments operate in accordance to the Canada Organic Standard and fall under The Big Carrot’s organic certificate. We have over 50 direct relationships with local, organic farmers. We are founding members of the Non-GMO Project and work diligently to keep GMOs off our shelves. Recently we partnered with Oceanwise to ensure all our fish and seafood is sustainably caught. We also offer free nutrition tours of the store, we run a weekly speakers’ series on a variety of health topics, we have an outreach coordinator who speaks in schools and the local community on healthy eating and we have a robust community giving program to support the people and projects in our neighbourhoods.

You have always been supportive of the LGBTQ community, why is that important to The Big Carrot?

It’s important because we genuinely care about everyone in our community. Toronto is a vibrant and diverse city full of all kinds of unique and wonderful people. The LGBTQ community is represented in our customer base, our staff and our neighbourhoods so yes, we support them.

And any future plans for the store you would like to share?

The goal is to expand and open more stores in Toronto neighbourhoods. We look forward to sharing the goodness we offer to more and more people.

The NEW The Big Carrot will open in June 2018

About the Author

Antoine Elhashem our publisher of PinkPlayMgs, theBUZZ, and The Pink Pages Directory, is a seasoned media, community, and business leader, with 30 years career in the industry. He is the host of “On the Couch” the popular LGBTQ community talk show on ROGERS tv and YouTube, and he also pens a blog for theBUZZ magazine called “Some of My Most Favourite People” where he takes a look at community events, pop culture, and entertainment.