Montreal's Public Markets Fight Food Waste
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.
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.
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.
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