Quinoa to be grown on the West Island for the first time


Quinoa, the increasingly popular South American grain, will be harvested on the West Island for the first time this fall.

Planting will happen this weekend in Senneville, thanks to a new urban agriculture project.

The project is called Quinoa for Change Montreal — spearheaded by MacDonald College grad Olivier Labrie.

"Our goal is really to change the way that people think of the food industry and change the way that people think about what they buy in the grocery stores and make them think twice about how it's affecting people in other regions," Labrie says.

The ancient grain, known for its antioxidant properties, has been a staple food in parts of South America for centuries, but its skyrocketing popularity in North America has driven up prices to the point where many people in places like Bolivia, Chile and Peru, can no longer afford it.

The edible greens from the plants will be sold at community markets this summer, while the grains themselves will be sold after harvest time, expected in mid-September.

For every 500-gram bag sold, Labrie says the group will donate one other bag. The recipients will be two Montreal groups which provide food to the city's needy — Santropol Roulant's Meals on Wheels, which delivers food to seniors, and the N.D.G. Food Depot's emergency food basket program.

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