In 2017, France held a series of national, regional and local workshops, and public consultations called the Estates General of Food. This offered a time of shared public reflection and collective construction of new solutions, which led culminated in the publication of a government roadmap for food policy for the period of 2018-2022.
This roadmap introduced new orientations, particularly concerning food sourcing for institutional catering, educating consumers about food, reducing food waste, fighting food insecurity. It also set development goals for local food projects.
It is as part of this preparation phase for a new version of France’s National Program for Food (a national strategic plan for food policy) that the Ministry of Agriculture and Food launched a national call for projects bringing together several other ministries with funds totaling 1.65 million euros to support exemplary initiatives from the public and private sectors.
The four priority areas of public policy focus for this call for projects were:
- Social justice to guarantee access of quality, healthy and sufficient food to all
- Consumer education through the transmission of knowledge on a balanced diet and sustainable food, which comes particularly through promoting the careers linked to food, its products, and the regions in which it is made
- Regional anchoring to strengthen the links between agriculture and society, particularly through encouraging high quality, local food sourcing
- In addition, a specific category for local food projects was created, in order to promote these projects that bring together actors in food in a specific region around actions that build more sustainable local food systems
The call for projects for 2018-2019 was a huge success, drawing nearly 250 proposals. Seventy-six were pre-selected both at the regional and national levels, then examined more closely by a national committee of experts coming from various disciplines. Following this selection process, 31 projects were selected. Unifying, reproducible or exemplary, the winning projects illustrate in a concrete fashion the philosophy of action of the National Program for Food.