Desjardins and Solidarité rurale du Québec presented the fisrt-ever Ruralia-Desjardins award to the Coopérative de solidarité de Baie-Johan-Beetz for creating “Les Choix de Marguerite”, a local multiservice centre. After the town’s only grocery store closed, residents were forced to travel hundreds of kilometres to stock up on food and supplies. Not exactly convenient! That’s why, a few years later, the community rallied together and opened “Les Choix de Marguerite”, a co-op with a grocery store, gas station, post office and Internet café all under one roof. “Small communities need cooperation and community spirit to prosper While we got a lot of outside help, the members of our community really worked hard on this project. Without this community involvement, I don’t think the other organizations would have taken up our cause”, says Anne-Marie Tanguay, spokesperson for the Coopérative de solidarité de Baie-Johan-Beetz. Each year the Ruralia-Desjardins award, which offers a $25,000 bursary, will be given for an innovative, citizen-initiated project that brings residents of a rural community together to achieve sustainable prosperity.