It is in December 2008 that the organization Au coeur des familles agricoles (ACFA) created Le Club des agriculteurs gais du Québec which would eventually become Fierté Agricole (“FA”). ACFA has for mission to create a mutual assistance network within the agricultural community.
During her visits and travels in cities and villages, Maria Labrecque-Duchesneau, street worker and founder of the ACFA, receives some confidences.
While it is true that the Quebec society has an ever-increasing openness to homosexuality, it remains hard to have a coming out in a community known for its traditional values. The homosexual population density is low outside of urbanized areas which makes the socialization and acceptance of these people difficult. This is why Fierté Agricole was created. It offered Maria’s confidants the opportunity to gather, meet and connect with each other to break their overwhelming loneliness.
The creation of Fierté Agricole earned the ACFA the mention of “Initiative par excellence” by the Jury during the Gala Arc-en-ciel 2009 held by the Conseil Québécois LGBT.
Fierté Agricole is a non-profit organization which has for mission to encourage a better knowledge of the rural and agricultural LGBT+ communities’ reality and to ease the social integration of people with diverse genders and sexual orientations who share an interest in agriculture.
FA notices that people living in rural areas and farm families often suffer from loneliness. This feeling of loneliness is stronger within LGBT+ people from small municipalities or rural areas who do not dare to assume their sexuality openly by fear of being shunned and becoming victims of rumours or bullying.
FA is committed to demystify all the LGBT+ realities in a rural setting. FA wants to fight against homophobia which still exists in the agricultural community and counter the isolation felt by its members through a socialization method that looks like them and which puts emphasis on the agricultural lifestyle.
Group the LGBT+ people sharing a common interest for agriculture and rural life together.
- Meet with the rural LGBT+ organizations and plan joint activities to meet new people and socialize with the members.
- Plan outings and events where participants from all of Quebec’s rural regions can meet up and connect with each other in a peaceful and respectful environment.
- Conduct focus groups that encourage exchanges and testimonies and that offer support to break the isolation and solitude of LGBT+ people living in rural areas.
Promote agriculture to the urban LGBT+ community
- Host events at farmhouses, in collaboration with the gay community, to bring urban and rural closer together.
- Promote the use of local food products during gay community events to support farm families.
- Take part in the activities of the LGBT+ community to represent the agricultural and rural communities and demonstrate the importance of the agri-food industry.
Raise the awareness of the professionals working in the agricultural and rural communities about the reality of the LGBT+ people.
- Increase Fierté Agricole’s visibility, talk about its mission and its objectives to promote awareness and bring about changes of behaviour.
- Create and distribute awareness material about gender and sexual diversity and intervene to stop the prejudices and stereotypes, and fight against homophobia and transphobia.
- Host briefings for the interveners to demystify mental distress in the agricultural and rural LGBT+ communities.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Fierté Agricole Board of directors is comprised of seven directors elected during the annual general meeting. Their term lasts two years. Specific roles within the Board of Directors are allocated through an internal allocation process.
Joé holds a DCS in dairy farming and manages the dairy herd at the Ferme M&M Desrochers in Lotbinière since 2015. His herd is comprised of the Holstein, Brown Swiss and Ayrshire breeds. He is involved in many agricultural organizations such as the Club Brown Swiss Québec and Relève agricole. He owns some laying hens. [More]
Mario is a director of a retirement home in the Lanaudière region since 2011. He completed his multidisciplinary studies in cooking, hospitality and catering at the ITHQ. He is also trained in prevention and intervention in crisis situations at Collège Bois de Boulogne and in real estate brokerage at Cégep de St-Jérôme. [More]
Jean-François is an agricultural worker at Les Jardins d’Hyden, a diversified vegetable farm located in Sainte-Clotilde-de-Horton, in the Centre-du-Québec region. He holds a DEC in Farm Management and Operation (organic fruit and vegetable production profile) at the Cégep de Victoriaville. He worked on different CSA farms in Ontario using draft horses to learn more about this approach in agriculture.
Michel has owned the M & M Desrochers Farm in Sainte-Croix since 1992. This farm has been in the family for five generations. He studied Farm Management and Operation at ITA in La Pocatière. In addition to his passion for the dairy production, he has new interest for bees. While maintaining the farm he owned a photocopy center.
Cong Hien holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Concordia University and a micromaster in business intelligence strategy from Sherbrooke University. He has worked since 2008 for an international mining company where he is now the Senior Business Intelligence Analyst. His job is to support managers in their decision-making processes. [More]
After studying geology and management, Pierre-Denis has held managerial positions in parks, national wildlife reserves and public investment programs at Parks Canada, the Canadian Wildlife Service and Canadian Heritage. Born in Beauce in farm families, he has been collaborating for several years with various communities (student, Nordic village, festival, LGBT group). He keeps himself active through continuous education.
Fierté agricole would like to thank Guillaume G. Larochelle and Gilles-André Gauthier for their commitment as members of the board of directors in 2017-2018.
Alain is an agrologist who has also been teaching at the Institut de technologie agroalimentaire (ITA) – Campus de Saint-Hyacinthe for 17 years. He was the owner of the Ferme Halther in the Centre-du-Québec region and the Equinox truck farm in Mauricie. He started his career as an animal and plant production technical advisor for an agricultural cooperative. [More]
- Maria Labrecque-Duchesneau