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New online directory for eating local in Quebec

Montreal, June 2, 2011 - Equiterre offers Quebecers a new online directory listing more than 300 initiatives that encourage farm direct purchasing in the province. The directory, which is available to the general public on the Equiterre website, includes different kinds of short food supply chains, such as public markets and online markets as well as grocery stores and other businesses or organizations that source directly from the producer. 

Short food supply chains – a relationship between farmer and consumer where there is no more than one middleman – are becoming more and more popular in Quebec. "With transportation costs on the rise, and growing interest from consumers in local products, short food supply chains are proving a winning avenue, for producers and consumers alike," explains Sidney Ribaux, executive director of Equiterre. 

For Equiterre, community supported agriculture (CSA), which lets people become shareholders in their local farm by investing in advance for a basket of fruit and vegetables grown with respect for the environment, remains one of the best ways to support local and organic farming. "The directory offers alternatives for citizens who are unable to sign up with a family farmer, so that they can still eat fresh food grown nearby," explains Geneviève Puskas, a researcher at Equiterre.

Regions that stand out
Our study of short food supply chains in the province turned up a very high level of activity in some areas:

  • The Mauricie has several online markets and short food supply chains at the institutional level: CEGEP Trois-Rivières buys its food from local producers and there are at least 7 organic daycares in the area. 
  • Abitibi-Témiscamingue has a lot of short food supply chains for an area that is home to less than 2% (1.8%) of the Quebec population.
  • Chaudière-Appalaches has about ten public markets, a solidarity co-op and an online market, as well as about a hundred inns, restaurants, farms and retailers who serve dishes made with local food. 

First step in a major research project
The Manger local au Québec directory is the first step in the Know Your Grower research project, which aims to evaluate the opportunities and barriers to the main types of short supply chains for fruit and vegetables in Quebec. Carried out by Equiterre in collaboration with consumer rights group Options consommateurs, online nutrition reference centre Extenso and researchers from Université Laval, the study looks at the short supply chains operating in Quebec and the impact of this distribution method on health, lifestyle and accessibility of local fruit and vegetables. 

The Know Your Grower project is made possible through the generous support and financial aid of Québec en Forme. The complete results of the entire study will be released in 2012.

Visit the Manger local au Québec directory online.

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Eveline Trudel-Fugère