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Giving Compass' Take:
• Ruby Irene Pratka, writing for Shareable, explains how food co-ops can help fill food gaps in rural communities in Quebec.
• How are food co-ops becoming more accessible to communities?
• Learn more about eliminating food deserts.
In French, the word for food processing is the same as the word for sweeping social change: transformation. Alex Beaudin dreams of doing both.
Beaudin, 25, is the coordinator of Le Grénier Boréal, an agricultural co-op in Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan, a village of around 450 people in northeastern Quebec, 550 miles northeast of Montreal. Longue-Pointe is one of about 20 villages strung like beads on a necklace, between Route 138 and the vast St. Lawrence River. The highway and the river are the villages’ lifelines, and depending on either one for supply shipments — as the Nord-Côtiers do — can be maddening.
Le Grenier Boréal (“the arctic cellar”) is one of more than a dozen food co-ops that have sprung up in recent years to bring fresh greenery to Quebec’s food deserts. In Inuit communities in Arctic Quebec, the Fédération des coopératives du Nouveau-Québec (FCNQ) has run community corner stores, outdoor outfitters and other enterprises for generations to keep food prices manageable, and the trend is catching on in rural communities in other parts of the province — buoyed, Beaudin says, not only by backlash against high food prices, but by a growing “back to nature” movement among young people.
Beaudin and his colleagues manage several greenhouses and a pick-your-own program where residents can learn to prepare the berries and mushrooms that grow naturally in the area. They also provide food literacy programs and supply products and advice to village grocery stores — many of which are co-ops themselves — planting the seeds of what Beaudin calls “a little food revolution.”
Read the full article about food co-ops by Ruby Irene Pratka at Shareable.