Arrivage is a platform that connects farmers directly with professionals, including restaurants, grocery stores, schools, and hospitals, allowing for farm-to-fork sales.
Our belief is that food sourced from local farmers and artisans is not only beneficial for human health but also for the environment. However, over the years, industrial food has become the norm in our daily lives, and we have become accustomed to consuming commodity food that is designed for efficiency and profitability. This has resulted in the loss of many important aspects of food. Local farmers’ produce has much more to offer, starting with freshness, nutrients, and taste. Hence, we have developed a platform that empowers farmers to access B2B markets, enabling them to reconnect professionals with real, wholesome food.
Tell us about yourself?
Growing up in Normandie, France, I inherited a deep love for good food, which is deeply ingrained in the French culture. However, after joining my local Greenpeace branch, I became aware of the many issues surrounding our current food system. From the use of harmful chemicals and GMOs to the tragic phenomenon of farmer suicides, I began to see the negative impact that our food choices can have on our health, culture, and the environment.
I then worked for Max Havelaar/Fairtrade France, which further opened my eyes to the limitations of our international food systems. It became clear that a fundamental reconstruction of the way we source our food was necessary, not just for consumers but also for businesses and institutions.
After completing my studies in Canada, I realized there was a shortage of high-quality food in supermarkets and restaurants, which came as a surprise to me as a French person who knew that farmers and artisans produced excellent products. Being an entrepreneur by nature, I began speaking with chefs and shop owners to understand the issue better and find solutions. Over time, and through many fortuitous encounters, I co-founded Arrivage with Félix-Étienne Trépanier to address this local food access problem.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
If I had the chance to travel back in time a year or two, I would advise myself to evaluate who Arrivage is truly benefiting the most. While it is important for farmers and cooks to establish strong relationships, our main objective was actually to address a larger issue: the government’s problem. Our solution aligns with various government priorities, such as supporting rural areas and small farms, providing schools and hospitals with fresh, locally-sourced food, and promoting a sustainable economy. To ensure that we could collaborate more effectively, we made an effort to establish closer ties with decision-makers. As a result, we have developed a solution that can be shared among various public partners, reducing costs and accelerating regional efforts to make local food more accessible to everyone.
What problem does your business solve?
Despite the challenges, I was determined to make a difference. Along with my friend Félix-Étienne Trépanier, who is the senior web developer, we decided to dedicate our time and resources to solving this complex problem. Our focus was on bringing local farmers back into the market, as they are the only ones capable of sourcing healthy and sustainable food.
Our efforts have yielded positive results, with more and more regions and municipalities seeking to establish relationships with local farmers. This collective approach has opened doors we never thought possible, and now hospitals, schools, and even charitable organizations are ordering from local farmers. We believe that this shift towards a culture of local food sourcing is just the beginning and hope that it will have a lasting impact on our food systems.
What is the inspiration behind your business?
We find the international Slow Food movement to be an incredibly inspiring source of influence.
It’s a bit strange to consider that we’re currently working towards repairing a broken food system that was once the norm just a few decades ago. Our grandparents would have found it commonplace to purchase locally-sourced, seasonal produce, whereas nowadays, those who do so are often seen as cutting-edge thinkers.
As previously mentioned, food is a critical component in resolving numerous issues, especially during times of unpredictability. Recent months have seen climate change, war, and pandemics jeopardize international food supply chains, which can be crippled by minor process adjustments. On the other hand, local food systems are robust and durable. They can supply the necessary resources for independence and quick response in providing food for communities. They are less reliant on global demand and pricing, making them more secure.
By supporting local food systems and empowering small-scale farmers, governments can address a variety of issues at once, including revitalizing rural communities, enhancing public health, promoting biodiversity and soil health, lowering carbon emissions, decreasing dependence on chemicals and fertilizers, and supporting education, food diversity, culture, tourism, and much more. Everyone benefits from a strong local food system!
What is your magic sauce?
Our passion and unwavering belief in what we do at Arrivage have been the driving force behind our continued success even after seven years of hard work. We are convinced that food plays a vital role in addressing many societal issues, and it also brings immense pleasure. Whether it is creating stronger social connections and local communities, relishing the taste of seasonal fruits, or exploring the landscapes where our food grows, we invest ourselves in the world of food on a daily basis. We are committed to using food as a means to make the world a better place, and our passion fuels us to continue striving toward that goal.
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?
Our goal is straightforward: to empower people with the ability to identify the farmers responsible for growing the food they consume, whether at a restaurant, hospital, or corner store. We want to attach a name and a personal story to the tomatoes or chicken wings on their plates and provide them with information on how their food was produced. To achieve this, we aim to establish deeper connections with regions and cities in Quebec and beyond. Through these partnerships, we can enhance the Arrivage platform with additional features and strengthen relationships between producers and consumers, from the farm to the table.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
In 2023, after operating for seven years, we made a crucial decision to convert Arrivage to non-profit status. At a time we went through financial difficulties, this decision will facilitate stronger relationships with public partners, which was our primary objective. Our vision for Arrivage is to be a tool that empowers farmers and creates positive change in the world, and we are more passionate about solving problems than being attached to any particular organizational structure. Many stakeholders recognized the shift to a non-profit as a critical step to access more significant contracts and grants, leading to new collaborations and fresh opportunities to tackle problems on a larger scale.
Given the state of the planet, taking this decision was an obvious choice. We do not have much time left to change things and provide practical solutions to make a difference. By becoming a non-profit, we hope to give small-scale farmers the best chance of support they will need more than ever in the coming years. Many of them are struggling, so joining the social economy as a non-profit is a vital step to call everyone to action! The need for change is urgent, and it must happen now.
How can people get involved?
Arrivage is currently directing its efforts toward aiding public entities such as cities, counties, and regions in building more robust food systems within their respective territories. Those who are managing related projects and seek further information may contact us by visiting our website at www.arrivage.com or by sending an email to email@example.com. Additionally, farmers and professionals are welcome to join our platform to buy and sell their produce.