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Organic food baskets: An idea that goes back 20 years

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Actu - 20 ans Cadet Roussel

In 1995, a small group of environmentalists floated the idea of bringing farmers, consumers and businesses together to create a supply network for fresh, local, organic produce. These “green” citizens were Équiterre’s founders, and the farmers were Madeleine and Jean Roussel, of the Cadet Roussel farm in Montérégie, very good neighbours of Équiterre cofounder Laurie Waridel’s parents.

This is how the organic food basket pilot project got started and how, in 1995, Cadet Roussel became Équiterre’s very first family farm, supplying organic produce to some 50 residents of Plateau Mont Royal and Mile End. The network was established the next year, when a handful of other farms joined Équiterre’s community-supported agriculture (CSA) project. We will take great pride in celebrating the project’s 20th anniversary in 2016.

This coming July 19, Anne and Arnaud, who now run the Cadet Roussel farm, will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of what seemed such a hare-brained scheme at the time — preparing baskets of organic produce every week for “partners” who signed up ahead of time.

Today, our network of family farmers counts more than a hundred farms that are already organic or are in the process of becoming organic and that supply food to 40,000 people a week, through 500 drop-off points and 13,000 subscriptions to organic food baskets across all of Quebec’s regions.

On behalf of these 40,000 Quebecers, THANK YOU! and WELL DONE! to Cadet-Roussel for your enthusiasm and faith in this project.

First row, from left to right: Charles Emmanuel Gagnon- Coupal , Eric Landry.
Second row, from left to right: Alain Théault , David the cook, Serge Therrien, Arnaud Mayet, Anne Roussel, Philippe Beraud with Billie, the dog and Eric Darche.