A movement that continues to grow…

femme qui cuisine

A movement that continues to grow…

The RCCQ brings together over 1,000 groups including almost 10,000 participants. Together, they cook over one million portions each year.

Today, the Quebec Collective Kitchens Association (or RCCQ) is comprised of nearly 1,400 groups run by 9,850 participants. Together, they prepare 1.4 million servings of food each year.

The collective kitchen groups represent different cooking preferences and concerns: vegetarian, healthy eating, multiethnic cooking, etc. They may also offer their support to specific demographics like people living alone, men, children, teens, the elderly, or multigenerational groups. Collective kitchen groups are creative and rich in diversity, thanks to a strong sense of individual and collective empowerment and autonomy.

The RCCQ and its member groups have also built connections with the global community. The RCCQ maintains ties of solidarity and exchange with international collective kitchen groups in Peru and Mali; in France and Belgium, the RCCQ (remotely) supports efforts to build European collective kitchen groups.

In Quebec, many regions have multiple collective kitchens or would benefit from coordination with other regional groups. To support their needs, the RCCQ instituted a regional collaborative group. Its members work together on shared concerns and contribute to productive and unifying initiatives.

1288
Members
7712
Participants
17640
People Fed
1084309
Cooked Portions

International solidarity

The RCCQ and its member groups have built connections of solidarity across Canada and in peru, mali, france, and belgium.

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!

Peru

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.

Crédit : Julie Rainville, coopérante volontaire
Crédit : Mathilde Lauzier, du RCCQ en mission afin de comprendre les besoins de nos partenaires maliens.
Ici un séchoir pour les fruits et légumes
Comité de cuisines collectives maliennes
luttes et revendications

Food is essential to life and access to it constitutes a fundamental human right. In this sense, the right to food autonomy should be part of the fight against poverty and social exclusion.

Struggles and demands

The struggles and demands of collective kitchens, and the issues that define them

According to the Moisson food banks, over 500,000 people rely on food aid each month. Their organizations respond to 1.9 million requests for food aid each year, with an increase of almost 50% in meals delivered to children since 2013. A disproportionate number of requests come from people who live alone: they represent half of all food aid requests, yet only one-third of Quebec’s population. And food banks only respond to half the province’s need for food assistance.

Access to food isn’t a responsibility managed by governments: in legal terms, food is just ordinary merchandise. From farms to stores, businesses who supply our food are progressively fewer in number and larger in size. The companies that remain in our food system hold enormous power.

Meanwhile, every day, more and more people struggle to feed themselves well. This lack of food security is a key component in poverty.

Pour le Droit à une saine alimentation

The RCCQ formed a Right to Food committee to take action in this issue by promoting the adoption of a legal framework to enforce, protect, and act on the right to food for the entire Quebec population.

Meanwhile, the RCCQ and its collective kitchen groups face pressure to consolidate their activities. Their current level of financing doesn’t allow them to respond to all the needs of collective kitchen groups, nor does it permit sufficient salaries for the RCCQ’s working groups. Consequently, teams burn out and personnel leave. More work is needed to keep the organization running and address its financial needs.