Spotlight! Maison Verte
The Maison Verte Mission
The idea for Maison Verte started with a dream that local produce could be more equitably accessible, and growing food in urban settings could be easier. We noticed that organic food was always more expensive, and grocery stores didn’t make it easy to know what was local and what wasn’t. COVID made matters more complicated, with growers and buyers facing restrictions alike. So with a focus on improving food accessibility and food sovereignty, we set out.
First thing’s first, let’s give a brief “lay of the land” (pun intended). Food accessibility relates to food security, which was defined at the 1996 World Food Summit as “all people, at all times, having physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life” (World Food Summit, 1996). Next, food sovereignty is defined by Food Secure Canada as “the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems” (Food Secure Canada). These two definitions are our driving force and when we consider what projects to take on, and led us to create three pillars in addressing food accessibility and food sovereignty. The three pillars are community, research, and education - let's take a look at each of them!
How can we increase year round access to fresh local produce? How can we learn to grow in creative ways in urban spaces? These are just a few of the questions that led us to be a part of Project: 4000 - a community experiment on growing greens in a retrofitted shipping container. Through this project we hope to explore ways to grow greens year round in urban settings. Getting to be a part of this project has connected us to some amazing people in the community passionate about technology, sustainable growing, and equity to food access.
One way we see a chance to increase food sovereignty is by fostering connections and knowledge sharing between young farmers growing in similar ways. We started thinking of how we could achieve this goal, and after conducting an initial user research study, decided to develop an app that will allow young farmers quick access to connection in their day to day work. Currently in our research, we are hearing from young farmers what technology would be useful in daily work. If you are a young farmer and are interested in being a part of a pilot of this project, click on the link to fill out a survey, we appreciate it!
We love knowledge sharing! We’ve been lucky enough to offer a number of workshops in partnership with the University of Waterloo, My Voice Canada, and other organizations. In our collection of workshops we cover a variety of topics, such as backyard crop planning, the history of Canadian Agriculture, and food waste reduction. Interactive components are important to us, so in some of our workshops, we even mail out growing kits to set up together during the workshop!
One thing we love ~almost~ as much as the work we get to do at Maison Verte is a good plant pun, so to leaf off, we are excited to continue to grow in our work and plant seeds for a better future. If you would like to journey with us, we would be verte-y excited to have you. Follow us on Instagram or facebook, or head to our website to check out our blogs and our microgreen store!
World Food Summit
Food Secure Canada
Young Farmer’s Survey