Quebec’s expertise in collective kitchens is increasingly recognized across the world. Did you know that our collective kitchens have shared their experiences in France, Haiti, Gabon, and Peru? The Quebec Collective Kitchens Association has build bonds of solidarity and support with Peru, Mali, and Gabon, countries interested in Quebec’s collective kitchen movement.
The beginning of a long story…of cooking with Mali
Recently, an organization in Mali contacted us to learn more about collective kitchens and investigate creating collective kitchen groups in their country. The idea charmed Malian Selly Ouané (director of the Woïyo Kondeye organisation) during her visit the RCCQ’s annual symposium in 2006.
Back home, she convinced her fellow Malians that a collective kitchen could improve their health, their knowledge, and their economic situation. But where should they start?
Thanks to the Uniterra program, Woïyo Kondeye and the RCCQ became business partners as a way to provide mutual exchange of expertise and support.
For RCCQ, this partnership is more than an occasion to share our expertise. It embodies how collective kitchens can build international solidarity and offer a chance to work together for greater food autonomy and a more just world.
In January 2007, the RCCQ visited Mali for two weeks to understand the needs and experience of our Malian partners. They were delighted by the Malian group’s teamwork and organization of tasks like gardening, cooking, and drying. They also saw that the experience catching on beyond the Woïyo Kondeye organization: soon, other groups got a whiff of what was cooking and decided to try it. And so a committee of Malian collective kitchens was born!
In 1988, a “Dream” Committee was founded by members of the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve collective kitchen. The dream? A visit to Peru, where collective kitchens were also established – they’d even received an invitation to visit from a Peruvian collective kitchen leader. The Dream Committee shared the idea with the organization Development and Peace, which agreed to support them. In November 1990, eleven women took off for Peru.
Once there, they observed and participated in Peruvian collective kitchens. They were deeply impressed by their sense of organization and solidarity. They also observed how Peruvian collective kitchens were a political power and force for social change.
On their return to Quebec, they were more motivated than ever to organize a province-wide association which would build connections of solidarity and support between collective kitchens. After the first-ever gathering of collective kitchens in the province, the Quebec Collective Kitchens Association was born.
In 1995, a Quebec-Peru exchange was organized as a form of recherche-action. Its goal was to trade insights from research on collective kitchen activities in Peru and Quebec. The Quebec delegation participated in a variety of activities and lent their support to the Peruvian kitchens’ demands. Each group gained a deeper understanding of the models used to build and grow collective kitchens to the north and south.
In October 2001, the RCCQ celebrated the 10th anniversary of its first province-wide gathering of collective kitchen groups. More than 300 collective kitchens participated in the event, titled « Dix ans… soulevons notre chapeau ! » (“Hats off to 10 years!”). In addition to sharing their expertise and accomplishments, a delegate of Lima’s Federacion de comedores populares joined the group to introduce participants to their activities.