The Gleaner
Agriculture

Local producers shine at Agristars Gala

The ninth edition of the Gala of Agristars of the greater Montérégie took place on April 11 at the Étoile Banque Nationale venue in Brossard. Presented by Hydro Québec, the annual event honours the innovative work of members, syndicates, and groups within the Montérégie federation of the Union des Producteurs Agricoles (UPA).

As in previous editions, all proceeds from the event were donated to the Au Coeur des Familles Agricoles (ACFA) organization, which works to build and sustain mental health support networks within the agricultural community. A total of $21,000 was presented to the organization.

 


Jessica Huot of the Ferme Porchoc inc. in Saint-Valérien-de-Milton and Nathalie Lacroix of the Petits fruits St-Louis in Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague were recognized as the Women farmers of the year during the Agristars Gala. PHOTOS Fédération de l’UPA de la Montérégie

 

“The Federation is pleased to donate all the profits generated by the Gala to ACFA, which ensures the maintenance of our two social workers who do an exceptional job with our Montérégie farm families,” said Jérémie Letellier, the president of the Montérégie UPA, who went on to thank the financial partners of the evening for their generous contributions. 

Local producers honoured

Several “Bon coup” or highlight awards celebrating innovative ideas and actions were handed out this year’s Gala. A first award was presented to the Haut-Richelieu syndicate for its communications project, Ici on nourrit le Québec – Protégeons nos terres agricoles, while the Coup de Cœur prize went to Julien Dupasquier and the farms who participated in his project Tournée du Food truck.

 

Josée Lajeunesse of Le Domaine du Paysan in Saint-Stanislas-de-Kostka and François Vincent, the president of the Beauharnois-Salaberry syndicate of the UPA, celebrate their win in the Bon coup en santé psychologique for their Récoltons l’espoir project. PHOTO Le Domaine du Paysan – Facebook

 

The Agri-Environmental Achieve-ment Award for an Outstanding Business was presented to Paul and Pierre Caplette of Céréales Bellevue inc. in Saint-Robert, while the award for Outstanding Project was given to Maude and Renaud Péloquin of Ferme de Ste-Victoire in Sainte-Victoire-de-Sorel.

A new prize highlighting mental well-being, Bon Coup en Santé Psychologique, was won by the Beauharnois-Salaberry syndicate for its project Récoltons l’espoir (harvesting hope), created in partnership with the Domaine de Paysans in Saint-Stanislas-de-Kostka. In a brief clip presenting the project, owner Josée Lajeunesse explained she had worked with the local syndicate to find a link between mental health and agriculture. Together, they settled on growing rosemary plants.

 

Michel Hébert of Howick was recognized for 35 years of dedication to the UPA during the Gala on April 11.

 

“With COVID, life stopped. There was nothing left. But the rosemary kept growing… We don’t waste food, so we had to innovate with new products. We had no choice,” she says, explaining how they began the project by processing rosemary into different products including salts, jelly, and marinades. For every rosemary product sold, one dollar is automatically donated to the ACFA through the Récoltons l’espoir project.

In a Facebook post following the ceremony, Lajeunesse expressed her gratitude for the recognition, while dedicating the award to the social workers who work with farm families.

 

Jérémie Letellier, president of UPA Montérégie, presented a cheque for $21,000 to ACFA to Mme Élise Gagné, a mental health social worker with the organization, as well as Nathalie Roy, ACFA president, and Samuel Gosselin, the general manager of ACFA. PHOTOS Fédération de l’UPA de la Montérégie

 

Several other awards were presented to individuals and businesses during the ceremony, including the Women Farmers of the Year awards, which were presented to Mrs. Nathalie Lacroix of the Petits Fruits St-Louis in Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague (Montérégie-Ouest) and Jessica Huot of the Ferme Porchoc inc. in Saint-Valérien-de-Milton.

The evening also included the presentation of awards for commitment to the UPA to more than 50 recipients, including three local producers: Mr. Michel Hébert of Howick for his 35 years of commitment, Mr. Jacques Bourdeau of Franklin for 30 years of commitment, as well as Mr. François Vincent of Saint-Stanislas de Kostka, who has dedicated 20 years of commitment to the union.

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