The Gull’s Grocery is an LGBTQi+-owned community shop on Edinburgh’s busy Ferry Road, and I’m back from its one-year anniversary today.
The team had been baking, with freebies on offer, but that’s not uncommon in this zero waste. You see, once food begins to edge too close to its use day, the Gull’s team simply gives it away.
Gull’s Grocery makes the city better.
Let’s talk charity first. If you need help with your shopping, then come here. You’ll find a board with (hopefully) tickets bought by others with a cash amount. £5, for example, is common but not the only value.
If you need help, take one ticket and use it to buy food and other essential supplies in the shop.
I contribute to tickets, buying one for someone else to use whenever I can afford it, and I do this and feel good. It’s good to know that 100% of my community donation goes to someone in need and that The Gull’s Grocery can keep buying fresh food. There’s no ‘charity admin’ to whittle away my contribution, nor do I have to fret about dealing with cash on the street.
The Gull’s Grocery zero-waste supplies
If possible, bring containers to the grocery as it’s full of tubs of rice, pasta, nuts, grain and seeds for you to scoop up. Get your tub weighed before, take as much as you want and get it weighed after. It means no packaging, and you’re not buying food you won’t use. As a solo householder, food waste can be a challenge and this is a good solution.
It’s not just food you can fill up on without packaging at The Gull’s but cleaning liquids too. I kept old laundry bottles and used those.
In addition to these container-based goodies and household essentials, you can get fruit, milk and breads in the shop. There are often baked goodies, too, such as croissants.
One thing to note, though, is that this is not a supermarket with a logistics deal that punishes supplies if deliveries are late or not perfectly formed. When I go to The Gull’s Grocery, I know what I need, but I am prepared to buy what I can find. We’re sometimes talking about odd-shaped fruit and veg; sometimes, common items have sold out.
The Gull’s Grocery vibe
The Gull’s is an LGTBQi+ friendly shop, with a rainbow flag up and staffers from the community. It’s dog-friendly and pam-friendly, but there is a small step up into the ground floor building, so I think it would be a challenge to get a wheelchair up without assistance.
It’s always a pleasant vibe in the store. If you make an effort to shop community and zero waste, you’ll be shopping among peers and people likely to respect your effort. Occasionally there’s someone ahead of you in the queue, but you might find yourself in or near a welcoming conversation. Equally, if there’s someone behind you, you’ll not feel pressured to hurry up.
The Gull’s community
There are pop-up events here worth watching out for. After successive bake sales from the very talented Mango & Pippin, I was confident enough to place my birthday cake order for 2023.
The Gull’s sometimes have soup on offer, or just for free, and coffee. The latter comes from Spaceboy, another community-minded Edinburgh business.
Watch social media too. The Gull’s are strong on Instagram and it’s that platform which will alert you to deals, such as half-price bread or then free bread if it looks in danger of going to waste.
I’m a big fan, but I’ve held back one helpful thing to know – The Gull’s Grocery is open seven days a week, and on five of them, open until 7 pm.
No matter how much I like a place, I can’t shop there if it’s not open when I’m free to shop. I finish work about 90 minutes before The Gull’s closes, and it takes me about 40 minutes to walk there, which means I can get there in time. If I still lived in Leith, it would be even more accessible.
The opening hours make The Gull’s Grocery a convenient store for anyone to know whether they’re particularly motivated by community, zero waste, not feeding the megacorps and feeding humans.
A review of The Gull’s Grocery