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Three inspirational ideas for Institutions Eat Local days

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To celebrate the abundance of local Quebec products and to encourage Quebecers to eat well, for the third consecutive year Équiterre is teaming up with Aliments du Québec au menu to launch the event known as Institutions Eat Local. Potlucks, recipe sharing, gardening... workplaces, schools and health care facilities are all invited to take big or small actions to promote Quebec produce among their users.

Following the success of the last two editions, which drew more than 48,500 participants, this year the event will take place throughout Quebec, between September 20 and 22. On top of pampering our taste buds and stomachs, Institutions Eat Local also represents a first step in the transition towards sustainable food.

This enthusiastic embrace for local products is already seen in many establishments throughout the province, where healthy, local and environmentally responsible foods are an integral part of the menu. The trend has become even more popular against the backdrop of climate change. By offering local products to Quebecers, our workplaces, schools and health services have become an important link in building a sustainable and resilient food system "from the ground up."

Inspiring initiatives

Here are the stories of three institutions that eat local and that will make you want to participate in the event!*

Centre hospitalier de soins de longue durée (CHSLD) - Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Laurentides
The cafeteria at the CHSLD in Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts has set itself the goal of including more local and regional products in its menus by developing partnerships with local producers. The result: today, their meals are made up of at least 50% local and seasonal ingredients.

But the project doesn't stop at the kitchen door; the CHSLD also offers its patients gardening activities - with the food being incorporated directly into the menus! - cooking workshops using local seasonal ingredients and meetings with local producers.

École secondaire l’Escale - Asbestos, Estrie
L'Escale High School is now supplied by La Coopérative des sources, where everything is homemade and recipes are selected on the basis of seasonal food availability. On average, 87% of the food served in their salad bars is local. And to meet the needs of its young students, the cooperative innovates and develops interesting snacks, such as healthy smoothies.

As part of a number of different educational projects, youngsters are even encouraged to get involved with the coop!

Sid Lee, International Creative Agency - Montreal
In addition to having access to its in-house bistro, Sid Lee's Montreal office staff are regularly consulted on meal selections. The bistro prioritizes local, organic, fair-trade and vegan foods and encourages partnerships with social integration enterprises and small local eco-responsible businesses. The menus are determined based on the season and on the availability of food from farms in the Montreal area. Each meal consists of a minimum of 50% Quebec-produced food.

In order to encourage employees to continue the experience outside of work, the company even developed an application that offers new recipes that can be made at home and that can easily identify local suppliers.

Does this make your mouth water? Register your institution for the Institutions Eat Local! event or talk to your school or workplace. There is a whole set of tools available to help you get involved!

A great opportunity to take the first step towards healthy, local food every day!

* These initiatives were implemented prior to COVID-19.

Psst! As part of the event, Équiterre is hosting a panel discussion entitled "Emerging Local Cultures: New Quebec Ingredients on Your Menu" which will take place on September 21 at 3:00 pm. Register today!

This project is an initiative of Aliments du Québec au menu and Équiterre, in cooperation with le Défi 100% local and Le Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ). Details and registration.

 *Photo credit : Myriam Baril-Tessier