La Maison verte promoting green-living through solidarity and co-operation

Coop la Maison verte is the first environmental solidarity co-op in Canada, offering ecological solutions and products for responsible consumption.

Coop la Maison verte is the first environmental solidarity co-op in Canada, offering ecological solutions and products for responsible consumption.

La Maison verte is committed to providing a green lifestyle alternative, offering a wide range of products and services, from sustainable products and technology, to organic or fair-trade food.

The co-operative was created in 1999 at the initiative of its seven founding members (Dan Ahmad, Jennifer Auchinleck, Jean-Martial Bonis-Charancle, Roger Haughey, Hans Heisinger, Jason Hughes and Marc Poddubiac), who, after having witnessed the 1998 ice storm, wanted to make a positive change in their local community.

Due to the storm, 600,000 people had to leave their homes, 130 power transmission towers were destroyed and more than 30,000 utility poles fell.

Seeing how local communities were struggling to get back on their feet, the founding members decided to create a solidarity network to help people develop more self-sufficient, sustainable lifestyles in the neighbourhood.

They also questioned the concentration of capital in a few large corporations and wanted to offer a co-operative alternative, strengthening social and community links.

The co-op was initially funded by the seven co-founders and its' first 200 members. La Maison verte also received a grant from local economic development corporation the Corporation de développent économique et communautaire Côte-des-Neiges / Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (CDECCDN/NDG CDEC).

From the very beginning, the community showed a lot of interest in the project, and locals were keen on the ethical life-style alternative proposed by la Maison verte. More and more, members gradually joined la Maison verte and what then started as a small local store and café in the Montreal borough of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, is now a co-op with over 8,000 members. The co-op offers more than 1,000 ecological and fair trade products.

La Maison verte officially became the first solidarity co-operative in Canada in 2000, when it was incorporated with the Ministère de l'Industrie et du Commerce du Québec.

It operates on co-operative democratic principles and encourages members to get actively involved in the decision making process. It is also keen on working with local producers and vendors, aiming to boost local income.

In order to keep its members and the public informed, the co-op runs an eco-living blog where locals can read about the latest updates in terms of eco-living, innovation and research.

Moreover, to get more and more people involved, the co-op offers volunteering opportunities for those willing to make a difference in their local community. The co-op is looking for people to join the administrative council and has a number of positions available. La Maison verte also runs monthly workshops on various environmental subjects.

Furthermore, its educational and social programmes have managed to bring a positive change into the lives of the local residents, inspiring them to be environmentally friendly.



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