St-Étienne-de-Bolton, a nourishing community

Translation: Alexandre Hackett 

Emmanuelle Vincent-Racicot and David Auclair are engaged citizens in St-Étienne-de-Bolton, a town of 800 residents. Parents of four young children, they have lived in the heart of the village for four years. Emmanuelle is a native of St-Étienne and her family has been there for many generations. David is now the mayor of the municipality, a natural result of what locals see as their commitment to the community. 

They are the instigators of numerous community projects such as a chicken coop, a food bank and, as soon as they get the permits, a community greenhouse. They collected 20 tons of food during the first year of operation of their food bank, Touski’s Mange, helping to feed numerous families in St-Étienne during the difficult pandemic period. They are proud to note that around 140 families were able to benefit from this food aid. The 5% of surplus collected was given to animals, including the animals of the Lobadanaki wildlife refuge.  This environmentally-minded couple also tried to find solutions for last summer’s droughts and gave workshops on water recycling and the use of composting toilets. 

During the first year of the pandemic, they also gave yellow tomato seeds to anyone who wanted to try and develop a local St-Étienne strain. This year they finished the construction of a greenhouse on their land, and many residents showed an interest in building one as well. To that end, they gave a conference at the beginning of April that about 50 local residents took part in. And more people would have participated had not COVID restrictions limited the number of people allowed to attend. 

Avant-garde and visionary, Emmanuelle and David plan to grow vegetables year-round for their family, but also to feed the community through the local greenhouse. We will come back to see them once the greenhouse project gets off the ground. But so far, it’s safe to say that this couple truly embodies the concept of community, and many other municipalities can be inspired by their example.