Counter the limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables in some Montérégie municipalities.
The FruiGumes market provides easy access to fresh fruits and vegetables for citizens of certain Montérégie municipalities.
In the Montérégie, the Centre d’entraide régional d’Henryville (CERH) mutual assistance centre has helped set up the FruiGumes public street market. This initiative was launched in July 2017 to counter the limited access the municipalities of Saint-Alexandre, Saint-Sébastien, Sainte-Anne-de-Sabrevois, and Henryville had to fresh fruits and vegetables.
Although these municipalities are located in the heart of an important agricultural region, there are no nearby grocery stores or fresh food markets. The municipalities’ citizens must travel up to 32 km to get groceries in nearby urban centres. A needs analysis showed that the communities would all benefit from a better supply of fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the summer season.
The community got involved in the project on a truly impressive scale. The CERH mutual assistance centre formed a Healthy Eating Committee, which included two employees from the Centre along with Board members, representatives from the four municipalities, five professionals from the regional CISSS, and a social development coordinator from the Coopérative de service régionale de la Montérégie regional development services. A MAPAQ Development Officer also took part in the committee’s efforts to help members better understand the requirements and needs of a project of this type and scale, and to help guide decision-making.
Meanwhile, a subcommittee of citizens and volunteers was formed to plan the kiosk and the sale of products. Parents, children, and teenagers all donated their time and energy to this collective project. The organization Justice Alternative saw the CERH initiative as an excellent opportunity for young offenders to have a positive and enriching contact with the community, so the organization joined in along with young offenders to further contribute to this community initiative.
The project’s positive effects were felt very quickly. By providing easy access to fresh fruits and vegetables, the centre has helped create healthy eating habits for the municipalities’ residents. At the end of each week, any remaining produce is offered at wholesale prices to anyone in need and/or people receiving food assistance.
The FruiGumes project has exceeded expectations. In addition to its positive impact on nutrition, the street market has quickly become a gathering place for the entire community, promoting socialization, and fueling residents’ curiosity. And beyond that, all those who participated can see for themselves the power that citizen involvement and action can have on a community.
The Centre d’entraide régional d’Henryville mutual assistance centre is the proud recipient of the 2018 Solidaires Mobilization award.