Érika Laliberté is an agriculture student at the Victoriaville Cégep. This summer, she was hired by Le Grenier Boréal Coop, a non-profit environmental organization located in Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan, Québec to work as a gardening assistant and agritourism facilitator. This job was made possible thanks to the CPRA’s Green Jobs Initiative, which is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Summer Work Experience Program.
“As a biology student, I wanted to learn more about the reality of growing crops in the north. I wanted to learn about its advantages and its challenges, and learn the basics of working on a farm” - Érika Laliberté, student
“As a biology student, I wanted to learn more about the reality of growing crops in the north,” said Erika. “I wanted to learn about its advantages and its challenges, and learn the basics of working on a farm.” Erika’s daily routine included various tasks like harvesting fruits and vegetables, weeding and soil conditioning. “I really enjoyed guiding tours through the fields and speaking with visitors about the Coop’s developments,” she said. These daily interactions allowed Erika to inform the visitors about the new vegetables and to build awareness about the importance of protecting biodiversity. “When we deliver our fresh produce, I take the time to tell people about their vegetables. We also send them new recipes they can discover. It strengthens what we taught them before.”
In addition to her daily tasks, one of Erika’s favourite tasks was planting a raspberry field. “There’s a lot ot do in a very short amount of time,” she says. “You need to mark off a space in the sand, create earth mounds, enrich the soil, plant more than 650 raspberry bushes, nurture them all season long and pick the fruit for harvest.”
You need to mark off a space in the sand, create earth mounds, enrich the soil, plant more than 650 raspberry bushes, nurture them all season long and pick the fruit for harvest” - Érika Laliberté, student
Josée Bélanger, General Manager of the Coop is really proud of the work Erika did. “Thanks to this funding, we were able to hire students to do daily tasks and raise awareness about growing crops in the north with the visitors.” It boosted the popularity of the program within the community, and also with tourists who visited the Côte-Nord region. “The north is often believed to be arid, but in reality it is abundant and generous. It’s important that visitors get to experience it first hand.”
Next year, the Coop wants to build a greenhouse. “This program gave Erika the opportunity to be a part of exciting horticultural improvements,” said Josée. “We will absolutely apply again for future funding”
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