Bédard & Blouin Inc- Happiness is at the farm”

“Gardening has an incredible positive impact on both physical and mental health. Our farm helps people reconnect with nature, and that’s very precious!” responds Sarah Bédard when asked about her decision to take over her parents’ business.

Well-established in Beauport, Ferme Bédard et Blouin is not only a sought-after workplace but also a vast ‘playground’ for horticulture enthusiasts and other nature lovers. The Groupex member company, which employs about fifty people during the peak season, has a nursery as well as several greenhouses and extensive urban agricultural lands.

Sarah Bédard grew up on the family farm before pursuing studies in social work and administration. It was in 2011 that she decided to get more officially involved in the management of Ferme Bédard et Blouin, alongside her brother Nicolas. Today, she primarily oversees communications, marketing, customer service, and human resources, while Nicolas is in charge of production. Their parents, Denis Bédard and Raymonde Blouin, remain very active within the company.

“I was lucky to be raised here, but it was only later that I understood the importance of contact with nature,” confides Sarah, who is also a mother of five children, in addition to being an administrator and treasurer of our cooperative. “I realized that my work absolutely had to have a social impact. I think that’s why I still work on the farm today.”

Gradually, the young entrepreneur began to think of various ways to give back, to share the richness of the environment she lives in. “My drive is really to take concrete actions that positively influence people’s lives. Our employees, our clients, the coop, and also the entire community around us,” she says, mentioning the sustainable development policy of her farm, which is part of Groupex’s eco-responsible cohort.

Sarah also cites several actions taken by Ferme Bédard et Blouin with schools, youth centers, or therapy centers: donating plants, creating a vegetable garden, establishing a garden, etc. “For us, it’s just a little help, but for people, it makes all the difference.”

The Green Thumbs

Among all the social outreach projects of her company, the one Sarah is most proud of is undoubtedly the Les Pouces verts daycare. “We had just acquired new land with an ancestral house, and we didn’t yet know what to do with it. I thought it would be the ideal spot for children to enjoy, spend time outdoors, and learn.”

Inspired by the Scandinavian model of “forest schools,” which advocates education through nature, Sarah set out to develop this ambitious project, which presented several challenges, including obtaining a permit. She approached the CPE La Courtepointe, which immediately joined the adventure, and in 2019, Les Pouces verts finally came into being.

“We had the perfect place for a daycare, and the CPE already had a permit and all the necessary expertise. It’s a win-win partnership: we set up the project together, we remain owners of the building and lend them the land, in addition to organizing several small activities for them, but they are the ones who manage the organization on a daily basis,” explains Sarah with great pride. The daycare currently welcomes about 75 children and employs about twenty educators. “The children play outside daily and come to see us at the farm. They learn a lot of things, like picking pumpkins in the fall, for example. This project makes me really happy, and I hope it continues for a very long time!”