According to a recent CROP survey in published in l’Actualité, a Quebec public affairs magazine, 24% of Canadians and 23% of Quebeckers – whatever their income bracket – claim they would pay more for local products.
This is a true social phenomenon. According to Alain Giguère, Chairman of CROP, a public opinion and market research survey institute, the term “local” needs to be taken in a very broad sense. While “local” above all else emphasizes proximity and a bond with nearby farmlands, seen as a guarantee of the singular, genuine nature of the products, it more broadly expresses the desire to align with values such as wholesomeness, authenticity and sustainability. At the same time, it is part of a worldwide movement against over-industrialization and the planned obsolescence of industrial products.
This trend is so strong that in 2015, the Quebec Board of the French Language included the term localivore in its Grand Dictionnaire Terminologique online terminological database. Composed of the root word “local” and the suffix “-vore”, this French-language term describes a diet based on eating food items or ready-made dishes produced within 160 km of the place they are consumed.
Finally, this trend is being encouraged by the Canadian government as, since 9 May 2018, labels reading “Produced in Quebec”, “Grown in Quebec”, “Harvested in Quebec”, or bearing the name of the product (e.g. cucumbers, strawberries, raspberries, etc.) followed by “from Quebec” are mandatory for fresh fruits and vegetables!
Restaurants are also in on the action, with an increasing number of eateries promoting their foods as locally and organically grown. The ‘farm-to-table’ and ‘garden-to-table’ movements are now firmly established.
Some restaurateurs have taken things even further, setting up their own organic gardens. This is what’s happening at three of Montreal’s top restaurants, Joe Beef, Liverpool House and Vin Papillon, which belong to the same group and share an organic vegetable garden just behind their kitchens. The three restaurants are located next to each other and harvests from the garden – which can be reached from each of the eateries by a side street – provide a part of the produce that they use. The garden even has its very own Instagram account: @joebeefgarden!
But they are not alone: Hôtel Le Germain in Charlevoix also has its own organic garden, beehives have been set up on the roof of Château Frontenac in Québec, and others are sure to follow suit. Canada’s locavores seem to have an insatiable appetite!