Équiterre, with the support of its partners, began working to implement a community of practice around sustainable institutional food in Montreal in April 2020. In just a few months, more than 28 key stakeholders in the institutional sector, along with various regional groups, answered the call to join forces to form this community.
A first meeting of all members of the community of practice took place in October 2020, and progress has begun!
The community will seek to address issues that affect institutions in other regions of Quebec as well. One of Équiterre’s roles within the community of practice is to raise awareness about the initiatives implemented and the needs and aspirations of institutions seeking to increase their procurement of healthy, local and environmentally responsible food to regional groups (e.g., procurement groups, City of Montreal, DRSP, MMA), main commercial stakeholders (farmers, food distributors, etc.), financial stakeholders or investors (foundations, Fondaction, etc.), decision-makers (municipal, provincial and federal) and the general public.
Équiterre will also disseminate information outside of the Montreal region about the advances made by the community of practice, in order to expand its impact. The goal is to encourage all public institutions to adopt procurement targets for food sourced in Quebec, and to influence the development of government policies that can have an impact on the different links in the supply chain.
A FAVOURABLE CONTEXT
In the years since the adoption of Quebec’s Biofood Policy 2018-2025, which rallied numerous partners in all sectors and regions of the province, a particularly favourable context has emerged, with increasing interest in new food procurement processes in Quebec institutions. This momentum is in line with a broader societal movement that has been gaining steam in recent years – even more so in the context of the climate crisis – prompting our governments and our societies to seek more sustainable and resilient food and agricultural systems. Recently, the government of Quebec also launched its Stratégie nationale d’achats d’aliments québécois, the aim of which is to substantially increase the share of locally-sourced food purchased by institutions in Quebec.
AT THE HEART OF THE COMMUNITY
With the support of its partners, the Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ), Système alimentaire montréalais (SAM), Aliments du Québec, Quebec Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Fondation du Grand Montréal, Équiterre is proud to be able to count on a community of practice composed of over 40 representatives of various institutions as well as experts who are interested in or are a part of the supply chain for the institutional market. The member institutions represent several sectors, including childcare, school, CEGEP, university and healthcare settings. All of these people are united in their desire to find solutions in order to improve access to local food and to increase local procurement within institutions.
The community’s expert members play an essential role by reflecting on and proposing innovative solutions to the different challenges posed by local institutional food procurement and by developing the necessary tools to facilitate it (market development, legislation, supply chain, production, processing, funding, certifications, etc.).
PIONEERING AND INSPIRING INSTITUTIONS
Several member institutions have already taken the initiative to change their menus and to set an example for their clients, encouraging them to make healthy and responsible food choices. For example, the CHU Ste-Justine, with which Équiterre has been working for several years, is a pioneering institution that plays an important role in the community, enabling other healthcare institutions to follow its example by offering support and advice. Another trailblazer is the CPE La Petite-Patrie, one of the first institutions to earn recognition by Aliments du Québec au menu for procuring the majority of its food locally in 2018, and also certified as a sustainable childcare centre by CPE durable. The CPE Jardin des frimousses and Tortue têtue have also taken positive steps toward sustainable procurement. We hope that these childcare centres will also play a leadership role by encouraging others in their community to follow their lead and adopt sustainable food procurement practices.
The institutions and experts that make up Équiterre’s community of practice share a strong belief in the importance of sustainable food and are taking action to increase their local food procurement, determined to develop solutions and to inspire others to join the community. Despite the challenges that lie ahead, with the power of collective intelligence we will share tools and resources to facilitate the work of institutions and we will work together to improve those tools and generate best practices going forward.
If you are interested in joining the community of practice for sustainable institutional food, please note that the recruitment period for new members will take place in fall 2021. In the meantime, contact us for the latest news!
Consult this page (to come) to access a concrete tool entitled Key Recipes for Local and Environmentally Responsible Food Procurement in Quebec Institutions, which includes 8 fact sheets to inspire and equip any institutional food stakeholder to adopt sustainable food procurement practices.
MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE FOR SUSTAINABLE INSTITUTIONAL FOOD:
Aliments du Québec
Association des producteurs maraîchers du Québec (APMQ)
Association québécoise de la distribution de fruits et légumes (AQDFL)
Association québécoise des CPE (AQCPE)
Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM)
Charles River Laboratories
CIUSSS Centre-sud de l'île de Montréal
Collège de Rosemont
Conseil des industries bioalimentaires de l'île de Montréal (CIBIM)
Conseil du système alimentaire montréalais (CSAM)
Coopérative pour l'Agriculture de Proximité Écologique (CAPÉ)
CPE Jardin des frimousses
CPE Tortue têtue
Direction régionale de santé publique de Montréal (DRSP)
Hôpital de réadaptation Villa Medica
Institut de tourisme et d'hôtellerie du Québec - Expertise (ITHQ)
isa-M (marketing alimentaire)
J-G Rive-Sud Fruits et Légumes
La Cantine pour tous / La Corbeille
Services alimentaires Gordon
Services alimentaires Laniel St-Laurent
Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA)
Université Concordia (Food services)
Ville de Montréal - Bureau de la transition écologique et de la résilience (BTER)
The Community of Practice for Sustainable Institutional Food is a project initiated by Équiterre, with the support of our partners, which seeks to improve the quality of the food offered in Montreal institutions and, ultimately, in institutions across Quebec.