Montreal's Public Markets Fight Food Waste
Montreal, November 7, 2022 – Inspired by the success of the Récolte engagée project led by the Centre de ressources et d’action communautaire de la Petite-Patrie (CRACPP), aimed at fighting poverty in Petite-Patrie and food waste at Jean Talon Market, Montreal’s public markets will extend the initiative to the Atwater Market in partnership with a community organization, Partageons l’espoir. Since the launch of Récolte engagée at Jean Talon Market in the summer of 2017, some 68 tonnes of fruit and vegetables have been redistributed to households in need in the form of food baskets and ready-to-eat meals.
At Atwater Market since November 1
Thanks to the Partageons l’espoir organization, Montreal’s public markets extended the successful initiative to the Atwater Market starting November 1. With the support of the CRACPP, Partageons l’espoir is collecting unsold produce from Atwater Market merchants for distribution to low-income households in Montreal’s Sud-Ouest and Verdun districts. Partageons l’espoir is a community organization that is already active in the neighbourhoods surrounding Atwater Market; it was selected for this initiative following a call for proposals. The project will benefit from a financial contribution from the Guichet unique pour la transition alimentaire (GUTA), a food-transition initiative of the Conseil du système alimentaire montréalais.
“Because of their local focus, the public markets are part of the day-to-day work of achieving sustainability. They offer consumers food grown nearby and direct contact with farmers. It was only natural to extend that and make fresh market produce available to as many neighbourhood households as possible, even those with more modest means,” said Nicolas Fabien-Ouellet, general director of the Corporation de gestion des Marchés publics de Montréal.
“We are thrilled to join forces with the city’s public markets to collect unsold produce from merchants and help reduce food waste. Thanks to our organization’s deep roots in the Sud-Ouest neighbourhood, our programs can help the community benefit from this initiative,” said Julie Poirier, director of Partageons l’espoir’s food security programs.
“The SAM council created the GUTA to support food-related businesses in their efforts to reduce their environmental footprint, through networking and the sharing of good practices. When a project like Récolte engagée has proven itself, it is essential to replicate it or scale it up. That is how we can consolidate structurally significant initiatives and work together toward a successful food transition,” said Anne Marie Aubert, coordinator of the Conseil du système alimentaire montréalais.
A successful initiative at Jean Talon Market
In the summer of 2022 alone, the Récolte engagée project, run in partnership with the CRACPP, collected 10,795 kg of more than 60 varieties of fruits and vegetables. Of that amount, 49% (5,286 kg) was redistributed in a total of 2,545 food baskets and 29% (3,133 kg) was turned into ready-to-eat meals. In all, 677 households in Petite-Patrie benefited from the reclaimed food, thanks to the support of the market’s vendors. The fight against food waste is a priority for Montreal’s public markets. It is why more and more merchants are offering baskets of discounted “ugly” food. Consumers have embraced the initiative.
“The CRACPP is delighted to have been able to continue its collaboration with Jean Talon Market for a sixth year. The merchants’ support for the Récolte engagée project has made a significant impact on our mission and our ability to serve our community better. We are proud to inspire other organizations and expand the fight against food waste and insecurity. We would also like to thank our main partners – the borough of Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie, CIUSSS-NÎM and the RTCPP – for their contributions,” said Julie Humbert-Brun, coordinator of CRACPP’s food services and Récolte engagée supervisor.
About the Corporation de gestion des Marchés publics de Montréal
The Corporation de gestion des Marchés publics de Montréal is a social economy enterprise responsible for the planning, development and operation of Montreal’s public markets. Its mission is to improve access to fresh food through a network of public markets that brings Montrealers closer to local farmers and agri-food businesses. Since 1993, it has been mandated by the Ville de Montréal to manage the Atwater, Jean-Talon and Maisonneuve markets, six Neighbourhood markets and three Solidarity markets. It is a non-profit organization governed by a board of directors composed of five merchants and five residents of the Montreal urban agglomeration. Its membership includes nearly 200 merchants active at the public markets. The Corporation’s network of public markets is frequented by more than three quarters of Montrealers, with more than 3 million visits annually.
Le Centre de ressources et d’action communautaire de La Petite-Patrie (CRACPP – Petite-Patrie community resource and action centre) is an organization that fights poverty. Through its activities to combat food waste and insecurity, it helps improve living conditions for members of its community and defends fundamental human rights.
Récolte engagée is CRACPP’s flagship project. Since its launch in 2017 it has grown exponentially, adding new partners, organizations, members and volunteers. It has become a not-to-be-missed summer event delivering a rainbow of fruits and vegetables!
About Partageons l’espoir
Partageons l’espoir is a community organization whose mission is to meet community needs through accessible services designed to help us grow together. We carry out our mission in the community through numerous programs: the healthy food bank, the pay-what-you-can fruit and vegetable market, extracurricular cooking workshops, specialized tutoring for children with learning disabilities, and a major musical program for children and adults. At the heart of Partageons l’espoir’s activities is the conviction that we can fight hunger and poverty by working together.
About the Guichet unique pour la transition alimentaire (GUTA), an initiative of the Conseil du système alimentaire montréalais
The GUTA (food transition clearing house) is inspired by the realization that the fight against climate change must include sustainable food, with the involvement of everyone involved in the food system. Its goal is to provide tangible support for food-related businesses taking action on the issue. It achieves that by centralizing numerous practical resources, products, services and information. The portal also links to a network of complementary organizations specializing in the GUTA’s four pillars of action: reducing food waste and excessive packaging, and increasing local buying and plant-based options.
Conseil SAM is an intersectoral food-policy council for Montreal. It comprises more than 150 food-system stakeholders.
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