The Exchange District has its own grocery store thanks to the folks at Mondragón
by Marlo Campbell
Winnipeggers who live in the Exchange District are getting an early Christmas present this year – a neighbourhood grocery store and deli.
Sacco & Vanzetti’s is the latest venture of the workers’ collective which runs Mondragón Bookstore and Coffeehouse, a business that, in its 13 years of operation, has come to be known as much for its radical politics as its all-vegan menu.
Mondragón’s existing location (91 Albert St.) has been remodeled to accommodate the new store, which offers canned and packaged goods, bulk foods and a year-round selection of fresh produce.
In keeping with the collective’s commitment to providing sustainable, socially responsible alternatives, the products sold at Sacco & Vanzetti’s are organic, fairly traded and sourced locally as much as possible. In the summer, for example, Mondragón purchases fresh vegetables from the Landless Farmers Collective, a small group that grows organic produce on under-used urban land (this past summer, it farmed a plot in front of the Pan Am Pool on Grant Avenue) and delivers it via bicycle.
And yes, everything at Sacco & Vanzetti’s is vegan, too – including the assortment of sauces and take-away options available from the in-store deli.
The store’s name is Mondragón’s “homage to anarchism,” says collective member Esan Azore. Ferdinando Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were Italian-born, working-class Americans who were executed in Massachusetts in 1927 for armed robbery and murder. Both men belonged to a radical anarchist group and claimed throughout their trial that they were being unfairly persecuted because of their political beliefs; their execution sparked protests and worker walkouts throughout the U.S. and Europe.