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The Complices Alimentaires adds more fruit and vegetable freezers to its network

The Complices Alimentaires inaugurated the latest addition to its network of fruit and vegetable freezers at the Huntingdon Medical Centre on April 18.

The “smart” or self-serve freezer is now stocked with low-cost frozen fruits and vegetables from local farms that was processed and packaged as part of an employability program at Huntingdon’s École Arthur-Pigeon high school. The affordable products are now available for purchase through a social pricing system, where clients pay what they can afford.

New freezers were also recently installed in Mercier and Chateauguay, bringing the total number of service points to ten locations, including the Hemmingford post office, the MRC du Haut-Saint-Laurent, the town hall in Dundee, and La Bouffe Additionnelle. The organization, which reduces food waste by recuperating locally harvested fruits and vegetables that would otherwise go bad, also has plans to install a freezer in the library at the Valleyfield CEGEP.

Project manager Nathalie Collin says the collective is now receiving requests from different organizations to install more freezers. She says the challenge for this year will be its employability program, which now includes 15 employees. “We believe that if we are going to improve the lives of those working for us, we need to pay them,” she explains, noting there are no volunteers.

 

Nathalie Collin of the Complices Alimentaires inaugurated the new smart freezer at the Huntingdon Medical Centre on April 18 with Dr Fabienne Djandij who co owns the building PHOTO Sarah Rennie

 

“We have been able to help numerous young people gain access to the job market,” says Collin, but, she admits, this involves an investment in time and energy to ensure the employees are well supported. This is the first year since the project started that the Complices have maintained their employees throughout the year.

The “smart” freezer in the Huntingdon Medical Centre was installed thanks to funding from the Table de concertation en sécurité alimentaire du Haut-Saint-Laurent. “When they approached us, we jumped at the opportunity,” says Marie-Josée Fournier, who co-owns the medical centre with Dr. Fabienne Djandji. “We are very happy with the freezer and with what it brings to the population. Everyone can eat, and it doesn’t cost very much.”

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