Members of Agiska Cooperative, Covris Cooperative and Uniag Cooperative gathered on April 9 at the Hôtel Rive Gauche in Beloeil, for the 14th edition of the Forum coopératif féminin. Nearly 100 women – farmer-members, employees and friends of the three host cooperatives – took part in the event, which is one of the most important meetings for women producers in the province.

The gathering, which has become an annual tradition for women cooperators in Montérégie and Centre-du-Québec, was hosted by Jeannine Chartrand, President of Covris Coopérative and Director of Sollio Groupe Coopératif. While historically there was a morning conference and an afternoon conference, this latest edition featured a total of three conferences, contributing to the professional and personal development of participants.

Women’s leadership as a force for change

The day began with a one-hour conference on human resources management in the agricultural sector, led by Valérie Côté, farmer and trainer at the Cégep de Victoriaville. She provided guests with tools specifically designed to help women manage human resources on the farm.

The next guest speaker was Maude Farley-Fournier, Senior Director, Innovation and Business Solutions for Sollio Agriculture. Ms. Farley-Fournier presented the crucial role of women in the agricultural world, and how female leadership is a key driver in the transition to sustainable agriculture.

Guests enjoyed a delicious lunch from Le Coureur des Bois, featuring split pea soup, veal flank steak with duck fat confit potatoes and truffle sauce, and a savory maple dessert.

The afternoon was devoted to Ms Rose-Marie Charest, renowned psychologist, speaker and columnist, with her talk entitled ” Learn to assert yourself to get involved effectively “. She set the stage by stating that women are often reluctant to get involved for fear of not being competent enough, even though their level of self-demand is often very high. She went on to suggest ways in which women can assert themselves, influence and increase their effectiveness, to the benefit of their entourage, companies and communities.

The Women’s Cooperative Forum organizing committee donated $400 to the Women and Resilient Agriculture program of the Centre d’étude et de coopération internationale (CECI), the equivalent of $5 per participant. The symbolic cheque was presented to Mr. Ollé Doli, CECI’s Communications and Public Relations Advisor. In addition, all kilometers driven by guests in gasoline-powered cars were accounted for in order to offset greenhouse gas emissions through the purchase of carbon credits.

In addition to a number of randomly won prizes, each guest received a maple cone, a bag of fresh cheddar from Fromagerie Saint-Guillaume and a packet of herb seeds, courtesy of W.H. Perron. The Women’s Cooperative Forum would like to warmly thank the event’s partners: Sollio Groupe Coopératif, Financement agricole Canada, Desjardins Entreprises, Promutuel Assurance Verchères – Les Forges, Banque Nationale, W.H. Perron et Hôtel Rive Gauche.