The 11th Laure Waridel Bursary winner was announced at Équiterre’s annual members’ meeting. Caroline Dufour-L’Arrivée, a master’s student in agroforestry at Université Laval, will be awarded a $10,000 bursary by Équiterre in partnership with the Caisse d’économie solidaire. This financial support will enable her to complete and disseminate her research project: a practical guide for establishing community forest gardens in Quebec.
WHAT IS A COMMUNITY FOREST GARDEN?
“Community forest gardens are plots of land containing food plants. They are designed to replicate natural forest ecosystems, with different plants working together. This makes them more resilient, much more in balance with nature and able to continually nourish the soil,” explains Caroline.
As part of her research project, Caroline identified 15 community forest garden initiatives in Quebec. She visited the gardens and met the people involved in each project. After creating fact sheets on soil preparation, plant selection and the design and setup process of each garden, she then developed reference models. The models will become a guide to help others develop their own projects, whether they’re based in urban or rural areas, and whether they are school, daycare or private projects.
SOIL HEALTH: A NEW PRIORITY ACTION AREA FOR ÉQUITERRE
Équiterre selected Caroline’s project as the winner of the Laure Waridel Bursary because it responds to emerging initiatives on soil health, a new priority action area for Équiterre in sustainable development. It is also an appropriate follow-up to the work done by last year’s bursary winner, Marie-Élise Samson, who continues to research the potential of soil carbon storage as a way to mitigate climate change.
“This project is truly in tune with Équiterre’s objectives to create more sustainable systems,” explains Colleen Thorpe, Équiterre’s Interim Executive Director. “Its purpose is really to equip and support other people so that forest gardens can start sprouting up across Quebec. It’s a well-rooted project that promotes this form of sustainable farming.”
The Caisse d’économie solidaire is very impressed by Caroline’s action-oriented research. “The project focuses on engaging people from start to finish,” says Marc Picard, Director-General at Caisse d’économie solidaire. “There is a strong sense of community spirit and cooperation in the forest garden initiatives identified by Caroline for her practical guide. Our society needs unifying projects like this one.”
About the Laure Waridel Bursary
Created in 2008, the goal of this $10,000 bursary is to encourage the dissemination of research in Équiterre’s main action areas. It recognizes the exceptional contribution of Laure Waridel (who co-founded Équiterre in 1993) to the advancement of environmental and social issues.
The bursary helps students disseminate the results of their environmental and social research, and inspires others to take action. Équiterre supports these action/research projects and provides excellent visibility across its various platforms and among its various audiences and partners.