Montreal, May 18, 2022 – The grounds of the Montreal head office of the Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) are receiving a major upgrade this spring with the arrival of the Cuisine collective Hochelaga-Maisonneuve (CCHM) and its Ferme agricole, en ville, pour tous! urban farm. Taking “the spirit of gardening” as its theme, the urban agriculture project will support food security, socioprofessional integration and the social economy in Montreal’s East End.
A large project that will benefit many
Drawing on its growing experience in urban farming, the CCHM will operate a 2,230 m2 kitchen garden and 530 m2 greenhouse on the SAQ’s grounds. With the planting of an additional 50 or so fruit trees in collaboration with the SAQ and Soverdi, the project will diversify the offer of fruits and vegetables available to residents of the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighbourhood. Meanwhile, a vineyard already on the site will shift to growing fruit for jellies and juices.
The harvested fruits and vegetables will have several uses. “At the community level, thanks to the involvement of local partner organizations, much of the produce will go to vulnerable citizens,” explains Benoist de Peyrelongue, Executive Director of the CCHM. “Using some of the harvest in employee cafeterias at the SAQ head office will be eating as close to the source as you can get. And by buying seasonal farm baskets, SAQ employees will help fund the CCHM’s initiatives to increase food security and socioprofessional insertion. Because of the values we share and the favourable conditions offered by the SAQ, this unifying project will clearly meet needs in the community. It’s win-win all around.”
Under the partnership, the SAQ will provide $50,000 in financial support to the project over three years and guarantee the availability of land on its head office grounds for the next five years.
“The SAQ is proud to partner with the CCHM to make a difference in our community and actively contribute to sustainable citizen initiatives in the neighbourhood,” explains Catherine Dagenais, President and Chief Executive Officer of the SAQ. “This partnership deepens our involvement not only with food assistance, our corporate cause, but also, and even closer to home, with the borough’s residents.”
About the Cuisine collective Hochelaga-Maisonneuve
The CCHM’s mission is to promote healthy eating, encourage autonomy and, by refocusing the economy to serve social needs, develop people’s ability to take action. For five years now, the CCHM has been active in urban farming as a way to make a significant contribution to the local production of supply of fruits and vegetables for the community it serves. The SAQ is the CCHM’s fourth urban farming site in Montreal’s East End and there are more to come. Together, they should produce 35 to 40 metric tons of fruits and vegetables for food assistance programs in the next four years. Many thanks to all who support this project.