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Planetary health at major events on the menu

The challenge we’re facing

Human and planetary health has arrived at a crossroads. Our global food system is faced with a colossal challenge: how to feed 10 billion human beings by 2050 without destroying the planet.

Factors such as climate disruption, health crises, geopolitical conflicts, labour shortages, overproduction and its associated impacts on resources and soil health, the declining nutritional quality of our food and rising commodity prices are making our food system even more fragile, at a time when the system is barely able to keep up with demographic growth.

Consequently, there is an urgent need to adopt a food production system that is both more nutritious and respectful of the limits of our planet’s ecosystems. Our agricultural sector has the potential to feed us healthy and sustainable food, but we must engage major change actors to help transition us toward planetary health menus, so that a change in our habits takes root and serves as an example in the fight against the looming food crisis!

The science is clear on the capacity of the planetary health system to feed us now, and in the long term. All we need to do is act!


Almost half of the world’s population has a nutrient-deficient diet

On the one hand, over 820 million people the world over are malnourished, while food production is struggling to keep up with demographic growth. On the other, 2.4 billion people are experiencing health issues linked with overconsumption or harmful eating habits.

Source : Eat-Lancet

 We must seize the opportunity to reconnect with our agriculture and its primary function, which is to feed us. Developing a demand for nutritious and sustainable food options that drives farmers toward better agricultural practices (crop choices and crop rotation; soil covers; diversification; regenerative agriculture; etc. ) is the way forward. 

Murielle Vrins

Assistant Director, Programs

What Équiterre is doing

Équiterre’s job is to democratize the crucial role played by food habits in improving human and planetary health.

For 20 years now, Équiterre has worked with numerous institutions to highlight the importance of adopting a more plant-based, local and diversified diet and to promoting sustainable food production.

There are many ways to incorporate into our individual and collective food habits by incorporating a variety of nutritious and local foods grown in an environmentally responsible manner and marketed at the local level. Ideally, a lot of this food will be fruits, vegetables, grains and plant-based proteins. Introducing planetary health menus at major events is one of Équiterre’s main approaches making this a reality. Why major events? Because introducing a planetary health menu at these events sector has many advantages:

  • The events industry reaches many people and can be leveraged to highlight local foods and future crops to hotels, restaurants and the public at large, thereby reaching a large audience;

  • The events sector generates attractive economic spin-offs for local bio-food producers by spurring local marketing;

  • The events sector offers the chance to promote nutritious menus featuring local ingredients like legumes and whole grains, and to showcase our varied culinary traditions;

  • It helps us demonstrate that changing our food habits can be delicious and good for our health and the environment, but also has economic benefits by making us a leading sustainable gastronomic destination.

Pilot projects will be rolled out in 2024-2025 in Montreal to demonstrate the potential of planetary menus at large-scale events. We are working with a catering service to come up with a planetary health menu and offer it more widely, via the Montreal Convention Centre. Meanwhile, we are also working on the demand side by integrating certain foods of the future into menus at various events and raising awareness among their attendees..

These pilot projects will be documented and analyzed every step of the way, and tools will be created in consultation with stakeholders in Montreal’s events sector with a view to replicating this type of initiative elsewhere. A wider series of activities is also in the offing to ensure a wide reach.

This project seeks to promote the marketing of local sustainable food at events by creating demand among informed purchasers. Ultimately, it seeks to facilitate direct supply with the help of practical tools and partnerships with key actors along the supply chain, such as Arrivage, L'aube, pôle nourricier and the Coopérative pour l’Agriculture de Proximité Écologique (CAPÉ).

Making fruits, vegetables, grains and plant proteins an integral part of your diet means embracing nutritious, local, eco-responsibly grown foods that are marketed locally.

Project history


Learn about the planetary health menu concept

Using a short video clip and the fact sheet “What is planetary health?”, Équiterre and the Système alimentaire montréalais (SAM) are coming out with two new ways to demystify the concept and help people better understand it better and integrate it into their lives.


Mobilizing to meet the needs of current and future generations

Équiterre and its numerous partners address the important issues surrounding the Programme d’alimentation scolaire universel au Québec (PASUQ), a program offering healthy, sustainable and affordable meals to all Quebec students throughout their education, from pre-school to high school.

Publication of the study: Potential solutions for feeding the Quebec population towards healthy, sustainable food 

The Institut de recherche en économie contemporaine (IRÉC), in collaboration with Équiterre, the Collectif Vital and the Canada Research Chair in Nutrition and Health Inequalities, release a study: Product lines at the heart of food autonomy: analysis and proposals for a structuring bio-food policy.


Équiterre’s approach to sustainable food has evolved over the years towards the notion of planetary health

As part of its support and supply work, in particular via the program Recognizing Quebec institutions that feature Quebec food on their menus, along with its food education work, Équiterre has developed resource fact sheets that already contain the theoretical basis for future planetary health menus.



Project Manager, Sustainable Food

Planetary Health on the Menu at Events is an Équiterre project carried out in cooperation with a number of partners: Maestro culinaire and the Palais des congrès de Montréal, Arrivage, the Coopérative pour l'Agriculture de Proximité Écologique (CAPÉ), Tourism Montreal, Polycarbone, The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal), the Conseil du Système alimentaire montréalais and the Guichet unique pour la transition alimentaire (GUTA). It is made possible by the financial support of the Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec, via the program Proximité, d’Aliments du Québec, and of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.

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