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Why shop with us

We are a small business, a true independent and we pay our staff slightly above the London living wage. We try to be as convenient as we can be and right now we need you to be able to survive.

All small businesses are suffering and after a year that left our mental health in tatters we are doing our best to keep going. The summer holidays are always difficult but this year even more so with the effects of covid still hanging over us all. We always try to compete with the huge chains and we are almost always comparable gram for gram on our prices but the fact is that supermarkets and big chains have buying power that we could never have. We’re keeping our prices down and our doors open so please consider supporting us. We’ve built the shop ourselves on evenings and weekends which is why it took us longer than others might.

Harmless Store is a vegan, minimal packaging, grocery shop based in Hornsey North London, with a goal to helping you lead a more ethical lifestyle. This can be done through cutting down on or in some cases eliminating plastic all together. Help with transitioning to a plant based life style and choosing products with less of an impact to the people Who grow and produce them.

Harmless Store aims to buy its products from small producer, British growers and other independent businesses. The large wholesalers they do use are themselves ethical and all are aiming to reduce their plastic throughout the whole process. Where possible, closed loop systems are used meaning that the products, often liquids, are reused and refilled rather than being recycled.

The shop was founded by Tami Jarvis in 2018 and opened April of that year. If you are a long-term customer you probably remember the first little shop inside the Yellow Shed, at Blue House Yard in Wood Green. Harmless Store are proud to have recently expanded to their larger, current premises along Tottenham Lane, Hornsey.

The most recent additions to the store is a freezer selling loose mixed fruits and some vegetables along with an oat milk machine which dispenses cold minor figures barrista oat milk made in the UK. Bring along a bottle for your oat milk and a sealable container for your frozen goods. There is a peanut butter machine for freshly ground peanuts and coffee grinders for loose coffee beans. Most products are organic but are priced much lower to make this old and new way of shopping more accessible for all.

Shop Update

We are now open 7 days a week and for extended hours to be able to accommodate customers at times that are convenient for you.

How it works

Just 4 easy steps:

  1. Bring your own clean, dry containers.
  2. Weigh each container (with its lid on) using our scales and mark the weight.
  3. Find a spot around the shop to gather all your containers. We now have some beautiful vintage baskets that are sanitize after each use.
  4. Once full, bring everything to the till and we will weigh it again and calculate the final bill.
  5. We now have a system that allows us to send itemised receipts to you and we can add you as a customer. We can then apply the points to your shop. Once you have saved your points you will be able to exchange them for some Harmless Store products

Some extra points to remember:

  • Don’t switch scoops. Find a clean one in the clean scoop pot or ask a member of staff. We take allergies seriously and do our best to keep everyone safe
  • Try not to put the scoop on the side, if you have it’s not a problem but let a member of staff know so the scoop can be washed. This is so we don’t cross contaminate allergens.
  • Please keep an eye on the taps as they fill rather quickly. Watch and be ready to turn them off to avoid spillages. It happens to almost everyone but we know it might make you feel less than happy about it so keep your eyes on the prize

We will be happy to help you with any of the steps above, just ask one of our friendly assistants. You may read about the way our system works in more detail under our FAQs.

Please review us on Google and tag us into your Instagram and Facebook posts. We love nothing more than seeing your shopping in all its plastic free glory!

Why we exist

As a population of almost 8 billion, and with an imbalance caused largely by the developing world, we are consuming more than our planet can provide. In 2019, ‘Overshoot Day’ was July 29. This is the day that ‘humanity exhausted the biological resources our planet could renew that year.’ This means that we are using almost twice as much we have every year, and as a result, we are diminishing the Earth’s natural ability to replenish these resources.

Below we have listed some of the important statistics that urged us to find a new way to eat, shop, think, share and talk.

  • If we reduced global meat consumption by 50% and used more calories from plants, we would move Overshoot Day 5 days.*
  • The amount of wasted food is equivalent to about 9% of the global Ecological Footprint. If we cut food waste in half worldwide, we would move Overshoot Day by 11 days.*
  • The UK recycling rate for Waste from Households was 45.7% in 2017. There is an EU target for the UK to recycle at least 50% of household waste by 2020.**

By partnering with more environmentally conscious suppliers, we can offer healthy, package-free vegan groceries. It is our goal to promote a plant-based diet, a low-impact lifestyle and a deep respect for our planet and the diversity of life that it holds.

*Source: overshootday.org
**Source: www.gov.uk

The Harm Less Scale

Check out our window when you pass by

At Harmless, we have developed our own system for choosing suppliers, based on our ethical priorities.

  1. VEGAN—Everything we stock is vegan first. We believe that it is unnecessary and cruel to farm animals and animal products in order to sustain ourselves.
  2. PLASTIC-FREE—The majority of our products come plastic free. This is because we understand that single-use plastic and the irresponsible disposal of it is harming wildlife and wrecking ecosystems around the world. In some cases we stock vegan, plastic-wrapped items; this is with the intention to encourage a more plant-based diet, which is our first priority.
  3. HOME-GROWN—We choose UK suppliers, closely followed by European. By sourcing food that requires a shorter distance to reach us, we reduce our carbon footprint. We can also be sure about the regulations under which it was produced, according to EU agricultural laws.
  4. INDEPENDENT—We love independents like us! Especially if they are vegan-owned. We like to support amazing suppliers who are creating change through their own sustainable businesses.
  5. SUPER LOCAL—Some of our suppliers are based in London, even the same neighbourhood! We are especially interested in the fantastic local businesses situated near us.
  6. PALM OIL-FREE—It is safer for us to say no to palm oil in order to avoid ingredients grown on deforested land. It is possible to find more sustainable sources but as a general rule, we avoid!
  7. ANTI-MONOCULTURE—We do not like to support monocropping and intensive agricultural or manufacturing techniques. Monoculture destroys the natural diversity of life, polluting, weakening and even destroying ecosystems. This point takes a lot of work because large suppliers frequently change their suppliers, which therefore requires extra research from us.
  8. ORGANIC—We choose our suppliers based on (among all the above points) what we know about their production methods and how sustainable they are. It is actually quite expensive for small businesses to obtain ‘organic’ certification. This means that we may choose a supplier who is organic in every sense of the word but who lacks the badges.

We understand that these probably won’t match your own order of values and we ask that you if you plan to shop with us, that you come with mutual respect for our differing opinions! Feel free to read our FAQs for more information. If you disagree very strongly with our values, why not open your own shop! We would be happy to share our learning with you.