Toolbox for Carrying Out a Food Access Diagnostic and Evaluating the Effects of a Food Cooperative

This toolbox is designed to help stakeholders carry out a food access diagnostic, reflect on the establishment and evaluation of a food cooperative, and evaluate the effects of a food cooperative on individuals and communities.

The information and documents contained in this toolbox are drawn from the EffICAS study. This study, which began in 2021 and is still underway, aims to evaluate:

  • the process of establishing food cooperatives (co-ops) in small communities located in food deserts far from major urban centres;
  • the effects of food co-ops on the purchasing habits, perception of the food environment, diet quality, and health of community residents;
  • the effects on the vitality and well-being of these communities.

What is included in the toolbox?

Who can use this toolbox?

It is intended for professionals in the public health network, as well as their partners, particularly in the municipal sector, who wish to carry out a diagnostic portrait and evaluate the establishment of a food co-op.

Anyone looking to begin a diagnostic portrait or an evaluation for the first time is advised to work with people experienced in collecting, processing, and analyzing statistical data.

Establishing food co-ops in an area with poor food access is a promising solution for improving food access. This intervention is part of intersectoral action, and could have positive effects on community members’ eating and health, as well as on the vitality and well-being of the community.1–5 This is what the EffICAS study is exploring.


  1. Cadieux, É., Corbeil, D., & Payette, J. (2017). Accessibilité géographique aux commerces d’alimentation. Outil pour comprendre et utiliser la cartographie des unités résidentielles répondant aux critères de désert alimentaire.
  2. Conseil québécois de la coopération et de la mutualité. (s. d.). Coût d’opportunité du maintien des services marchands de proximité.
  3. Conseil québécois de la coopération et de la mutualité (2014). Guide d’information – Une économie de proximité à votre portée.
  4. Lebel, A. (2015). L’Identification des déserts alimentaires en milieu rural.
  5. Table intersectorielle régionale en saines habitudes de vie COSMOSS du Bas-Saint-Laurent (TIR-SHV). (2018). Favoriser la saine alimentation grâce aux outils d’aménagement du territoire.