Reimagining today’s farm: Les Cocagnes

Réimaginer la ferme d’aujourd’hui : Les Cocagnes

This is the 2nd season of Cocagnes which is underway and if you live in the Brome-Missisquoi region, you have certainly heard about it given the great success of this unifying project.

Les Cocagnes is a 40-acre agro-ecological collective farm in Frelighsburg with the mission of giving access to land to small agro-ecological businesses. Gourmet farm-to-table evenings are also offered thanks to country meals welcoming guest chefs on weekends, not forgetting the aperitif with artisanal pizza on Tuesdays, just as unifying.

These gourmet tables are unique; this is the opportunity to live a one-night experience where the chefs leave their kitchen (and their comfort zone!) and accept the challenge of preparing a menu on site, consisting exclusively of products from the farm and local producers. the region.

Everything is prepared under the pergola itself, in the company of the guests. The venue is idyllic and accommodates around twenty guests, which promotes an intimate atmosphere. The drinks offered also come from the region and the selections are rich in discoveries.

Then, we are treated to the personalized presentation of the dishes by the chef before each service, an attention and a set that creates an atmosphere that could not be more friendly and warm.

Regarding the producers present, market garden plots are currently rented by farms The Whistlers And Rizen , for which Stéphanie Wang has just won a Gastronomy Laurel for the “Producer of the Year” prize.

A flower farm is expected for next season, and other projects are being organized. The idea is to build this collective project with varied productions that promote biodiversity, while creating a prosperous and supportive community that supports each other.

A project by and for the community

The Les Cocagnes project began when the founder, Stéphanie Hinton, previously based in Montreal and newly settled in the region, became interested in this 40-acre agricultural land. She began to imagine its full potential, and had the idea of ​​creating an NPO that issued community bonds, a type of “patient capital,” to raise the necessary funds.

The ensuing fundraising campaign achieved impressive results, all in just a few weeks. The project responded to high human and ecological values, in addition to being extremely local, an interesting proposition for those who want to invest differently. It was therefore in July 2020 that the NPO was able to acquire the land.

Stéphanie Wang working in the field

A set of challenges carried by hope

Like any start-up business, this initial rise was followed by doubts and pressure, while the period between the idea and the first substantial revenues which allowed the construction of the promised infrastructure carried its share of insecurities.

The search for grants also turned out to be more laborious than expected, but this entrepreneur had a vision and got through the more difficult times with flying colors, and the future bodes very well.

The founder recalls how important subsidies and the trust of collaborators are at the dawn of a project, and it is often the influence of a first partner which allows the ripple effect necessary to complete a set-up. financial, because a positive response creates trust and rallies other people and institutions.

And although Stéphanie Hinton specifies that she has never planted a vegetable, everything from her background and her personality seem to have led her to the creation of the Les Cocagnes project.

Whether it's an appreciation of natural amenities as a whole, of an environment that doesn't look artificially manicured, of her sensitivity to the beauty of landscapes, or of a distant passion for architecture .

And, as an only child, she wanted to create a gathering place which also responded to her entrepreneurial spirit, and to a deep sense of justice which explains her horror of the great divisions in our society.

A model to follow for the next generations of farmers?

Les Cocagnes therefore addresses an important problem for the next generation of farmers who have difficulty accessing land. Today's agricultural financial model no longer works with the severe increase in the price of land subject to speculation; it will be virtually impossible over the course of a lifetime to generate enough agricultural income to simply repay the purchase price of one's land.

An organization like the NPO Les Cocagnes contributes to this change in ownership culture by offering acres for rent to agricultural entrepreneurs who could not otherwise afford it. It is not appropriate here to own, we must rather recreate the agricultural model where land once constituted the only pension fund for farmers.

It is now a matter of creating a financial framework that works for producers and consumers. It also breaks the isolation that agro-entrepreneurs can experience, with no shortage of challenges and pressure, whereas being part of a community can change everything.

This collaborative ecosystem model certainly holds one of the keys to our future in food sovereignty in Quebec. Les Cocagnes is also officially one of the finalists for the 2023 Tourism Excellence Award of the Quebec Tourism Industry Alliance in the “Innovation and development of the offer” category.

For the 2023 season which began on June 17 , tickets (which include the 5-course meal and tip) are purchased in advance online and this makes it possible to welcome people in a friendly way without having to worry about transactions, and a short visit is always included during both services, at 5:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. So there remains a few season tickets which continues until September 24, so hurry to experience this place and these magical evenings!

The Cocagnes
33 Dunham Road
Frelighsburg QC​

Read more

Le meilleur fromage du Québec de 2023 révélé aux prix Caseus
La Mission Ouest de l’Île pour nourrir la communauté avec dignité