Picture this: You walk into a hospital cafeteria and the menu is filled with healthy foods from local producers. Now imagine the same thing happening in every institution in Quebec—daycare centres, hospitals, schools, etc. Everywhere you go, local becomes the new standard on the menu! Sounds too good to be true?
Well, it’s not! Environmentally responsible food procurement is one of Équiterre major transition projects. We have been working with Quebec institutions for several years now, to demonstrate how feasible and beneficial local food procurement can be.
This transition to local organic and environmentally responsible food will improve our collective health, stimulate our local economy and minimize our ecological footprint. Nothing but good reasons for us all to get on board!
And the movement is growing. Several pioneering institutions as well as numerous actors and experts in the institutional food sector are so convinced of the benefits of this transition that they are joining Équiterre in inviting all Montreal institutions to take part in the Communauté de pratique en alimentation institutionnelle durable* [Sustainable Institutional Food Community of Practice].
By maximizing synergies, the community aims to inform and equip its members and ultimately enable them to offer more healthy, local and environmentally responsible food in their food services.
"At this point, the institutions have completed their quantification process. The preliminary results of their share of local procurement show us a good variation between institutions for an average of 43% of food produced and/or prepared in Quebec! On the other hand, we are already seeing that certain categories of food appear to be more accessible than others.” states Murielle Vrins, Équiterre’s Food Program Manager.
The community of practice is currently for Montreal institutions, but we hope to be able to expand it to institutions throughout Quebec in a second phase.
* The community of practice has been made possible primarily through a partnership with leaders of the food service industry: the Système alimentaire montréalais (SAM), Aliments du Québec, the Foundation of Greater Montréal.
Institutions serving locally produced foods - How does it affect you?
Quebec has more than 10,000 institutions (not including workplaces), which are frequented by over 3 million users annually. To ensure the sustainability of our food systems, our public institutions have the opportunity to make a huge difference on two levels.
- First, by sourcing locally, they’re directly supporting our farmers, giving them a great opportunity to get their local produce to market. The purchasing volume of institutions can be huge, and the impact is just as great.
- Secondly, by setting an example with their extensive networks, public institutions have the potential to encourage individuals and organizations to embrace healthy and sustainable eating habits as well.
Our job, and yours, is to encourage our institutions to go even further in their transition towards a healthy, local, organic and environmentally responsible food procurement, and to applaud those who are already on their way!
Help us to speed up the transition!
Do you want more local food in your daycare, school, CEGEP, university, hospital or CHSLD?
It's simple. Here’s what you need to do:
1. Write to your institutions using our email templates (in French).
2. Share our customized tools on local and sustainable food in the food services sector with them.
Download our tools developed in cooperation with Aliments du Québec and the MAPAQ (currently only available in French, but are being translated!)