AgroCité: Winner of the Environment AVENIR award

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Photo Credit: AgroCité

 

Year after year, Cascades lends its support to a variety of educational and entrepreneurial organizations, including Forces AVENIR, which recognizes young people’s dedication and involvement in community projects. As a partner in the Environment category of the 2016 Forces AVENIR Gala, Cascades is pleased to shine the spotlight on Université Laval’s AgroCité project. Our team had the pleasure of talking to Alexandre Chamberland, President of AgroCité.

 

What is AgroCité?

AgroCité is a group of students from Université Laval working to develop an urban agriculture business model. The group’s mission is to supply the university’s main cafeterias by growing garden produce locally using hydroponic and aquaponic systems. Our extracurricular project aims to support Université Laval in asserting its leading role in sustainable development by providing produce for the university community, educating it and raising awareness about consumption challenges of the 21st century. The goal: bring hydroponic production closer to the people.

 

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Photo Credit: Gilles Fréchette

 

Who is behind AgroCité?

Our multidisciplinary team is made up entirely of students from eight different university faculties. It comprises five committees—production, system design, R&D, communication and business development—as well as an executive committee and a board of directors.

 

Where did the greenhouse idea come from? And the idea to grow lettuce on campus?

The idea first came up in 2013 and it got off the ground in 2014 with a prototype project.  Then a second and third prototype were implemented and we had our first harvest in fall 2014. We now systematically supply the L’Intégrale cafeteria at the Alexandre Vachon pavilion once a week. This summer, we even set up a hydroponic system right in one of the lobbies! And we’ve made several adjustments to improve our crops. We also installed an aquaponic system with live fish in the water to nourish the plants.

 

What other projects does AgroCité have up its sleeve?

Reproduce our concept throughout campus! Develop new products and services. Diversify production by growing other vegetables and fruits to sell directly to students. In the long term, we also want to develop a passive solar greenhouse on campus that would be a production and interpretation centre for the community. The university would become a feeder campus, providing fresh produce to the students. That’s our vision.

 

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Photo Credit: AgroCité

 

Winning an Environment AVENIR award doesn’t change the world, but

It certainly gets people talking about the project! It confirms that we’re on the right track and that people believe in us. We’re really proud!

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About the Author
Anne-Marie Gingras

A Communications Advisor with Cascades since 2011, Anne-Marie now also fulfills the position of Community Manager. She holds a BA in Public Communication from the Université Laval and a Certificate in Marketing from the Université de Trois-Rivières. As Community Manager, she is in constant contact with the public, sharing the company's newest innovations and reporting on its involvement within the communities it calls home. "I am very pleased to have the opportunity to work for a company that is responsible, respectful and transparent. It gives me a great sense of pride! Through social media, we are now able to interact with the population and we value this close contact. Cascades is an organization that encourages creativity and initiative, which allows us to develop in a very stimulating work environment."

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