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Opinion  •  2 min

Local food in our institutions: A dream come true!

Murielle Vrins

Program Manager, Sustainable Food

Published on 

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A year ago, the government launched a project to increase Quebec’s food self-sufficiency through a national strategy - the Stratégie nationale d’achat d’aliments québécois pour une alimentation locale dans les institutions publiques (SNAAQ). This strategy aims to increase the share of local food purchased by our public institutions.

The goal is that by 2025, all public institutions in Quebec will have a local food procurement target. In addition, the Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation (MAPAQ) has a goal to encourage 85% of all establishments in the education, higher education and health and social services sectors to set a local food procurement target by 2023.

THE SNAAQ, A YEAR LATER

Where are we a year later? Has there been a significant increase in the proportion of local food purchased by public institutions?

Good news! Last March, the MAPAQ achieved the objective it had set for the first year: 10% of public institutions in Quebec (131) have a target. *

Several other improvements are also to be highlighted and celebrated during this first anniversary of the SNAAQ:

  • more than 200 public and private institutions have joined the program Aliments du Québec au menu program - institution, which recognizes institutions that promote Quebec products in their food services;
  • a community of practice for sustainable institutional food (Commun'assiette) has been set up and its member institutions have demonstrated through the recognition program Aliments du Québec au menu - institution, that they an average source of 50% local products;
  • the initiative led by M361 via 100 degrés, “Pour des aliments québécois dans nos écoles” provides funding to public elementary and secondary schools in Quebec to set up initiatives to encourage healthy eating and the local food procurement. In addition, these schools receive support from Équiterre to implement their project and can benefit from Aliments du Québec on the menu - institution recognition;
  • a coaching (support) service for local food procurement in public institutions has been deployed and is offered by the Institut de tourisme et d'hôtellerie du Québec (ITHQ);
  • multiple promising projects are set up by various actors and partners in order to mobilize and support institutions in their local food procurement, thanks to the financial assistance from the MAPAQ.

INSTITUTIONS PROUDLY EAT LOCAL!!

I am also proud to see the success of the 3rd edition of the Institutions Eat Local! event, which ends today. More and more institutions representing all walks of life have participated in this three-day event to celebrate Quebec food. The participation rate for this year, which has grown compared to that of the first edition in 2019, is all the more significant due to the health context.

A GROWING MOVEMENT

By adopting local food procurement practices, our institutions encourage citizens to eat local food at home. There is growing interest among consumers: 54% of Quebecers want to increase their share of local purchases and nearly a third of the Quebec population eats mainly local food. **

Local food procurement and a sustainable and resilient food system aren’t just the dreams of a few people anymore. A real collective movement is now underway and I am optimistic that it will grow even more in the coming years.

I am so pleased to be able to celebrate these achievements!

Happy first anniversary to the SNAAQ!