Agriculture, sustainable food and the social and solidarity economy

Kit RégionalESS N°9

June 2021

Réseau des collectivités Territoriales pour une Economie Solidaire (RTES)

In connection with the renewal of regional executives in June 2021, RTES proposes a Regional SSE kit to raise awareness among candidates and provide tools for future regional teams wishing to support the social and solidarity economy (SSE).

This kit will include about twenty practical sheets, based on the principle of the MunicipalESS Kit published in 2020, illustrated with examples, and presenting in a synthetic and concrete way how a regional council can include the SSE in its policies. Sheets 1 and 2 of the RegionalESS kit are SSE presentation sheets. They can be consulted under the references Social and Solidarity Economy: What are we talking about? (handout n°2504.) and Why implement a cross-cutting policy to support the social and solidarity economy? (fact sheet n°2505).

Fact sheet 9 presents the role of the regions in the agricultural food transition.

Climate change, the collapse of biodiversity, repeated crises in the agricultural world, food insecurity, etc. many factors are pushing us to transform our food model, by rethinking production and consumption methods towards greater sustainability and territorial anchoring.

The regional councils are in charge of setting up young farmers, agricultural and forestry investments, and agri-food processing. In partnership with the actors of the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE), they have a major role to play in this food and agricultural transition.

Several possible levers of action:

Directing aid towards small-scale farming

As managing authorities of the EAFRD, the regions have an important role to play in supporting the ecological transition of farms and rural development, particularly via the European Leader programme. There is a strong stake in ensuring that SSE structures have access to these European funds.

The regions can also develop the conditionality of aid to farmers to respect environmental criteria and the territory’s project.

A contract of objectives « Agricultural installation » in Normandy

As part of its support measures for setting up a farm, the Normandy Region has set up a multi-annual Contract of Objectives for setting up a farm with the players involved in supporting the setting up of a farm, including Terre de Liens, based on eleven individual or collective support actions for project leaders, and the management of innovative projects in the territories (land cafés, agricultural mentoring, etc.).

Facilitating access to agricultural land

The regions can support alternative agricultural installation through, for example, support for cooperatives for installation in peasant agriculture, agricultural test areas, etc. They can also participate in the SAFERs, develop agreements with them for land porting, or develop collaborations with the solidarity land company Terre de Liens.

Encouraging the territorial anchoring of food

The regions can promote the development of local food circuits and the deployment of Territorial Food Projects (TFPs) by co-financing the implementation in various sub-regional territories of these tools for the relocation of agriculture and food, which make it possible to work on the issues of accessibility of quality products, fair remuneration of producers, etc.

The call for agriculture, food and territories projects in Burgundy-Franche-Comté

This call for projects from the regional council, open in particular to local authorities and SSE actors, aims to promote the territorial anchoring of food. Launched in 2019, it will support initiatives to develop local supply in collective catering; to anchor processing tools in the region; and to facilitate the emergence and structuring of food chains led by groups of farmers and intended to supply markets located in Burgundy-Franche-Comté.

Supporting the structuring of supply chains with SSE actors

The regional councils can promote the structuring of food chains, from the producer to the consumer, through processing and distribution.

The region can promote cooperation between actors, publicise initiatives to the population, or financially support collective facilities: processing workshops, producers’ shops, slaughterhouses, etc.

The Cooperative Society of Collective Interest form is particularly suitable for these projects (platforms, but also local slaughterhouses bringing together farmers, butchers, consumers and communities, etc.).

SCIC Blé d’ici and Pain d’antan in Occitanie

The SCIC Blé d’ici et Pain d’antan was supported by the Occitanie Region as part of the « Transmission-takeover contract » scheme (aid for the purchase of a business to open a bakery in Auch in the Gers).

The aim of this SCIC, which brings together flour producers, artisan bakers, pastry cooks and consumers, is to develop a local sector, from the field to the plate, which will make it possible to offer quality bakery products at fair prices, without additives and based on the use of old, organic and local flours.

Promote the supply of organic and local products in collective catering

This promotion can be done by supporting supply and distribution platforms for collective catering. Many of these platforms are supported by the regions, such as Résalis in New Aquitaine.

The Regions can support buyers and suppliers in their responsible public procurement initiatives.

In the canteens of secondary schools and regional administrations, actions can be taken to raise awareness and train canteen staff to improve their practices and control costs: combating food waste by working with local associations or national SSE players; reducing the proportion of meat in orders (vegetarian meals); consolidating orders by grouping contracts with other local authorities with local intermediaries.

Eating well in Breton high schools

As part of its « Eating well in high schools » roadmap, the Brittany Region is experimenting in 2020-2021 in 14 pilot high schools with various actions to provide technical and legal assistance to public purchasers of collective catering for the supply of foodstuffs, as well as actions to educate the public about food and to fight against waste. To do this, the Region has selected the Aux Goûts du Jour association and four organic farmers’ groups (GAB). These experimental actions will be generalised in 2021-2022 in all Breton public high schools.

To go further

  • RTES online conference series on sustainable food, 2020-2021

  • RTES newsletters n°27 Local food circuits and n°30 Accessible sustainable food and their complementary files online

  • PARCEL: web tool Pour une Alimentation Résiliente Citoyenne Et Locale and the guide Agir sur le foncier agricole, un rôle essentiel pour les collectivités locales, Terre de Liens, January 2019

  • Collection of initiatives La transition en actions, Fondation Carasso, January 2019

  • Organic canteens, a practical guide for elected representatives, Un Plus Bio, September 2019

  • Towards food resilience, Les Greniers d’Abondance, February 2020.