The Sud Landes - Pays Basque food initiative as part of the PTCE Sud Aquitaine

Déniché pour vous 120 file

September 2023

Réseau des collectivités Territoriales pour une Economie Solidaire (RTES)

The « Déniché pour Vous » files have been developed by the RTES. They present local initiatives in France, their environment, their purpose and their development, with particular emphasis on the role of local authorities. Whether the initiatives focus on the energy transition, shared spaces, the circular economy, food, sustainable mobility, immigration or digital technology, these case studies offer an instructive immersion in the field of territorial social innovation.

The PTCE Sud Aquitaine intends to integrate a food approach that aims to contribute to the agro-ecological transition while strengthening the area’s food resilience. The action is based on a concrete starting point within the region, with outlets provided by two collective catering outlets. This entry point will enable a broader approach to be developed, incorporating a number of issues linked to the region and agro-ecology.

To download : fiche_deniche_pour_vous_n_120_-_ptce_sud_aquitaine.pdf (300 KiB)

Origin and presentation of the initiative

The Pôle Territorial de Coopération Economique (PTCE) Sud Aquitaine (Southern Landes, Basque Country and Béarn) is a group of players working together on a regional development project based on the principles and values of the SSE. It is managed by the Comité de Bassin d’Emploi du Seignanx (Seignanx employment basin committee), and has been involved in a participative, democratic approach and local projects, particularly in the field of SSE, for the last twenty years. The PTCE Sud Aquitaine works on a variety of areas and functions: inclusion, business creation, training, ecological and energy transition, research and development, international cooperation and sustainable food and local food circuits.

Since 2016, the Comité de Bassin d’Emploi has been structuring a food initiative in the Sud Landes - Pays Basque catchment area as part of the cooperation framework of the PTCE Sud Aquitaine. It leads a group of local players, including SSE structures that are members of the PTCE, as well as local authority partners. The aim of the group is to work together from upstream to downstream to structure local food circuits in order to develop local, high-quality food for as many people as possible in the Sud Landes - Pays Basque catchment area, strengthen local agriculture that provides food, diversity and sustainability, and create leverage effects for the structuring of local food circuits.

This approach involves a wide range of players and partners: SSE players who are members of the PTCE and beyond (structures, CRESS, resource centre, etc.), agricultural players (more than 60 producers involved, as well as a producers’ shop, groups of farmers and craftsmen, etc.) and local authorities (Seignanx Community of Municipalities, Bayonne City Council, Basque Country Conurbation Community).

The TAP, which is part of the PTCE Sud Aquitaine, has been awarded the « Projet Alimentaire Territorial » (Territorial Food Project) level 2 label, and has 3 main aims:

This food initiative works thanks to the commitment of the various stakeholders, but also thanks to the leadership of the initiative and cooperation by the Seignanx CBE, where a person is in charge of developing local food circuits and organising inter-knowledge and ongoing dialogue.

The Sud Aquitaine food initiative also relies on collective tools, in the form of SSEs, which are particularly relevant for organising cooperation around the territorial food project: the Eole solidarity restaurant, created in 2005 by the CBE and local players to meet the food needs of the catchment area, is a not-for-profit SCIC. Involved in the food project from the outset, the Eole solidarity restaurant currently provides more than 5,000 meals a day in the southern Aquitaine basin: 3,500 meals for schools in 4 communes and 25 crèches, 1,000 meals delivered to homes and an inter-company restaurant in Tarnos. The meals produced by the Eole restaurant are made up of 45% local produce and 70% organic produce. The Eole restaurant has been awarded the Ecocert level 3 cooking label. From a budget of €300,000 in 2006 to more than €5 million in 2021, the restaurant has grown from 14 employees to 62. In 2021, the Eole restaurant will have purchased more than €1.5 million worth of food products in the Basque Country. This volume is in the interests of local producers and supply chains.

The SCIC Légumes pro, a vegetable factory set up in 2016, aims to encourage the supply of fresh, quality produce to collective kitchens in the Basque Country and southern Landes. Located in Lahonce, Légumes pro specialises in vegetable processing for collective catering (storage, cleaning, cutting, packaging and delivery of ready-to-eat or ready-to-cook vegetables, enabling the use of fresh, organic agricultural produce in collective catering). Committed to developing local food channels, the SCIC works directly with local market gardeners (25 farms) and wholesalers, buying vegetables at the same price, whatever their shape or size. Their mission is to sell the produce of market gardeners that others don’t want (surplus) and also to plan crops to supply canteens with local and organic vegetables. The SCIC brings together its employees, producers and agricultural networks, collective restaurants, associations and local authorities. SCIC légumes pro is due to move to a larger site by the end of 2024, with the prospect of developing a canning facility.

The Lacoste eco-environment, located on a 10-hectare former farm, has been collectively designed to accommodate: a solidarity farm (organic market gardening integration workshop), an organic market gardening agricultural test area and public spaces (shared gardens and popular education areas). The Lacoste ecolieu solidarity farm was born out of a diagnosis of the area noting the absence of a part-time integration structure, adapted to the needs of the public furthest from employment, and the growing demand for sustainable, high-quality food́. Since spring 2021, the solidarity farm has employed 17 employees, including 13 on integration courses, who produce organic, local and solidarity vegetables to feed local residents.

Links with local authorities

Local authorities may be involved to varying degrees: they may be present on steering committees: some local authorities are part of the TAP project group, in particular the Seignanx Community of Municipalities, the town of Tarnos), others may be involved in the governance of the structures (association, SCIC) or work on more specific projects of local interest in line with their own objectives (test area, raising public awareness, setting up a canning factory, etc.).