Accueil Bonneau: Greening Cities, Feeding People

Transforming rooftops and unused spaces into urban farms is at the heart of the MicroHabitat mission. In the deployment of our activities, we also support many social actors in the process. This is the case of Accueil Bonneau, an organization that helps people in situations of homelessness.

MicroHabitat delivers harvests grown on Manulife’s rooftops to the kitchen of Accueil Bonneau. 

“MicroHabitat is a partner that adds variety to our menus. We don’t always have the chance to cook with fresh, seasonal foods. We now can enhance our meals with lots of flavour and freshness.”

– Frédéric Michaud, head of production at the Accueil Bonneau food service.

The events that marked the spring of 2020 were particularly difficult for people in situations of homelessness. Like many members of the Quebec Food Bank network, the Accueil Bonneau was concerned about the possible shortage of food due to the magnitude of the crisis. Thanks to our Urban Solidarity Farms program, we are proud to have supported the Accueil Bonneau in its mission to feed people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Since 2016, the MicroHabitat team has been working to green cities in order to improve the living conditions of citizens and reconnect city dwellers to their food and nature. We transform the roofs and outdoor spaces of businesses, institutions and schools into fruitful edible gardens. Although often invisible to passers-by, some of these production areas contribute to a great cause: feeding communities in need. The Accueil Bonneau has greatly benefited from the partnerships developed by MicroHabitat. Each season, harvests from nine urban farms are directly brought to the organization’s kitchen.

“Being able to source locally is a major asset for us in terms of saving time and money, while reducing our environmental footprint.

– Frédéric Michaud

Urban farmer at work in one of Manulife’s MicroHabitat urban farms. Harvests are offered to the Accueil Bonneau

This initiative provides hundreds of people in need with access to fresh, healthy, ecological products. Herbs, fruits and vegetables produced some miles away are incorporated into the preparation of nutritious and nourishing meals. By the end of the 2020 season, nearly one ton of locally produced food has been donated to the organization, helping several people in precarious circumstances.

« We all benefit from this partnership. The kitchens first, because it is a real pleasure to work with fresh and seasonal products, as well as all those who eat here, that is to say our users, volunteers and employees, » says Frédéric, who is responsible for the production of the food service at Accueil Bonneau.

The Urban Solidarity Farms program shows that the societal involvement of businesses creates significant impacts for communities. Thanks to a network between Accueil Bonneau and MicroHabitat’s clients, more than 1,600 meals are served each month of the productive season, enhanced by fresh vegetables produced from the rooftops of downtown Montreal.

Together, we can cultivate change.