Lanaudière: a pantry at the end of a village

Whoever passes La Visitation-de-l’Île-Dupas, in the Berthierville area, at the end of the village, cannot help but see this small piece of land converted into a forest care and very often stopped there a few years ago.

“More and more people come to get blueberries and currants,” Jean Drainville, one of the citizens who makes sure the place runs smoothly, told us during our visit.

As of 2019, he and other villagers have been developing and maintaining the 120-foot-by-120-foot (about 36.5 m by 36.5 m) island-divided site, which now has more than 300 edible plants out of 90 different types.

This nourishing forest, a kind of garden, a landscape ecosystem inspired by the forest, dotted with different edible species, is not only at the heart of the residents of La Visitation-de-l’Île-Dupas, but also of the cyclists of Passage.


Lanaudière: a pantry at the end of a village

Simon Dessureault / QMI AGENCY

“We didn’t expect to find anything like this when we came here,” mentioned one of them, Denis Destrempes, whom we met at the site overlooking Route 158. I’ve already tasted cherries, I’ll definitely be back, I’m interested in educating myself about permaculture [NDLR: agriculture respectueuse de l’environnement].”

And we can confirm that there are not only cherries or blueberries and currants in this new type of garden, since during our visit we were able to taste raspberries and blackcurrants in addition to a pear and a plum tree.

Marie-Pier Aubuchon, who was mayor of La Visitation-de-l’Île-Dupas from 2017 to 2021, has been involved in the birth of the project for the last two years of her tenure and says she is proud of the result.

“We also want to be an example, we want to see more and more nutritious forests in Quebec,” explained Ms. Aubuchon, who was also met on the spot. I am proud to have brought this to the community.”


Lanaudière: a pantry at the end of a village

Simon Dessureault / QMI AGENCY

food resilience

Amélie Drainville, a citizen involved in the project, is currently writing a master’s thesis on Quebec’s agricultural and food policies at the School of Applied Politics at the University of Sherbrooke.

In your opinion, this kind of initiative is beneficial.

“Our food resilience as a people is of great concern to me,” she told us. As soon as the chain of the global food system breaks because of rising oil prices or war in Ukraine, everything collapses and we can no longer eat. We need to rethink our food systems on a small scale.”


Lanaudière: a pantry at the end of a village

Simon Dessureault / QMI AGENCY

In fact, the reflective element is part of the project. There, conferences as well as yoga sessions are offered around the nourishing forest.

“The aim is to further improve the educational aspect,” stressed Jean Drainville.

The civic committee that tends this nutritious forest estimates it required approximately 2,000 hours of volunteer work between 2020-2021 and received $50,000 in grants for its establishment between 2019-2021. .

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