Local farming and added value for the farm are represented by the “+ “ in the CETAB+ acronym.
Local farming means short distribution channels – channels involving no more than one intermediary between farm and consumer. Stands at the farm, community-supported agriculture, stands in a public market, virtual markets, specialized and/or neighbourhood groceries, and producer co-ops are examples of short channels. Local farming is aimed at, among other things, reducing the distances travelled by fruits and at reestablishing the relationship between consumer and farmer.
Added value for the farm means any process or activity enabling farmers to obtain a greater share of each dollar spent by the consumer on food. In this sense, short channels provide added value for the farm.
Added value for the farm, combined with local farming ( short channels), promotes:
- Development and long-term survival of farming businesses
- Revitalization of rural areas
- Reduction of the agricultural and agri-food sector’s ecological footprint.
CETAB+ initiatives regarding local farming will be focused chiefly on innovative methods of organizing production, work, and marketing.
Examples of short channels in Québec
The best-known type of short channel is public markets. They provide an opportunity for producers to sell their produce directly to consumers. A list of public markets in Québec can be found on the website of l'Association des Marchés publics du Québec.
In recent years, other short channels have been developed in an attempt to provide other ways of meeting both the demands of consumers and the needs of farmers.
Community-supported agriculture (CSA) is a well-established system launched in Québec in the 1990s by Équiterre. This system matches consumers directly with producers. Consumers pay in advance for a share of the harvest of their family farmer, who delivers a weekly basket of organic produce to them. This provides a stable income for farmers, since consumers share the risks inherent in agriculture.
Another system, this one developed by Friends of the Earth Québec, brings producers and consumers together in Marchés de Solidarité Régionale, “regional solidarity markets” where customers can order produce from a regularly updated online catalogue. Orders are delivered once per week to the market. Unlike in CSA, there is no advance payment and consumers choose what they wish to buy. For producers, there is no guaranteed sale of the harvest, but nor is there an obligation to provide a varied range of products every week. About a dozen towns and cities in Québec have a regional solidarity market: visit this Friends of the Earth page for links.
Ecomarkets are groups of producers operating along similar lines to those of the regional solidarity markets. They can be found in a number of towns and cities in Québec (L'Avenir, Chateauguay, Trois-Rivières and others).
Équiterre has put together a directory listing numerous short-channel initiatives in Québec: public markets, online markets for doing grocery shopping on the Internet, private “à la carte” baskets delivered by producers, and grocers and institutions who do business directly with farms.
Lastly, we must not forget fruit and vegetable stands on farms and pick-your-own operations, which are the most direct forms of short channels. Fraîches du Québec lists many growers of organic strawberries and raspberries where consumers can pick their own fruit.
All these systems are examples of local farming.