Hundreds of children attending daycare centres in the region have been eating more local, organic food over the last few months as part of the Croqu'Plaisir Project which was implemented by the organization, Équiterre.
Équiterre offered participating daycares personalized support to facilitate their procurement of local, organic food and provided them with teaching tools for raising the awareness of adults and children to the pleasures of eating.
Throughout the harvest season, children and educators had the opportunity to taste local, fresh fruits and vegetables that were grown in the region through purchasing locally, planting gardens or participating in thematic, educational activities.
In the Vallée-du-Haut-Saint-Laurent, CPE Abracadabra in Ormstown, Kaleidoscope in Hinchinbrooke and Bobino in Beauharnois along with several home daycare centres participated in the Croqu'Plaisir Project.
Nancy Ashton, Director of CPE Abracadabra in Ormstown, undertook planting gardens in the Center's yard. This collective project involved parents who provided the materials.
Ashton feels it is essential to let children marvel at a growing tomato plant. They need to be able to play in the garden and discover a world of textures and smells. A learning garden is also a powerful tool that allows children to discover the origins of food.
At CPE Kaléidoscope, Assistant Director Émilie Ricard-Robidoux took the opportunity with the Croqu’Plaisir Project to create new business contacts with local producers, notably at the Huntingdon Farmers' Market which is held every Wednesday.
A number of home daycare service providers also participated in a meeting with Équiterre about the Croqu’Plaisir Project - local food procurement for daycare services. This meeting was organized by the project coordinator (CPE Kaléiodscope) in collaboration with Jeunesse Rurale en Forme.
Marie-Elaine Morin, from Saint-Antoine-Abbé, was among those attending. She also, always gives preference to local producers and procures from public markets.
The RSG (home daycare service providers) in the region would like to form a group for purchasing collectively and thereby establish sustainable connections with local producers.
Altogether, Équiterre has worked with 63 daycare centres, representing some one hundred establishments or approximately 5 500 children throughout the Montérégie.
Translated by Cathleen Johnston