The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted several questions about societal priorities and values. The Institut du Nouveau Monde (INM) and the Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA), Québec’s largest farm organization are organizing the Dialogue sur l’autonomie alimentaire du Québec or dialogue on food autonomy in Québec this fall.
“Quebecers’ preference for local products has taken on a whole new dimension with the pandemic. Local purchasing was quickly promoted by our governments, to the great satisfaction of producers and citizens, and the idea of consolidating or even increasing our food autonomy quickly gained ground,” said UPA General President Marcel Groleau.
This dialogue on food self-sufficiency will be an opportunity to support citizens in acquiring knowledge on the issues related to the subject and to take into account the voice of producers, who are an essential link. The dialogue provides opportunities for open and constructive exchanges between agricultural producers and citizens.
Thousands of citizens and agricultural producers will receive an invitation to take an interest in the process and submit their candidacy. Citizens will receive the invitation by mail following a random selection through Canada Post lists. Producers will be contacted by email through the list of producers registered with the agriculture ministry. Then, the two groups selected by the INM (each composed of 24 to 36 people) will go through each of the stages provided for in the dialogue from September to December. More detailed information on the entire process, each of the stages and their timeline is available at: https://inm.qc.ca/dialogue-autonomie-alimentaire/.
The INM will provide the expertise and administration for the activities. For the UPA, this dialogue between agricultural producers and citizens, located at both ends of the Québec food chain, will help the public to develop the issue of food autonomy, essential for the economic recovery of Québec.
“Food self-sufficiency is a social project that drives the population and that deserves careful consideration. Where are we, where do we want to go and how do we get there? This is the meaning of this approach, which aims to be a positive rapprochement between the agricultural world and citizens, with a view to creating new forms of solidarity, as well as a common vision of our food future”, added Julie Caron-Malenfant, General Manager of the INM.