The Occitanie / Pyrénées-Méditerranée Region has made food the “Great Regional Cause” for 2018 and 2019. The result is the Regional Pact for Food in Occitania, which was adopted at the Plenary Assembly of December 2018.
Food in Occitania in figures
- First regional employer
- 1990 agro-food companies including 400 cooperatives and 160 subsidiaries, agriculture and agro-food provide 14% of regional jobs, i.e. 164,000 jobs
- 21 billion euros in annual turnover, including 5 billion from exports
- From 100€ to 200€ on average spent on food per week by a household residing in Occitania
- 35% of households in the territory spend less than 100€ per week on food
Agriculture in Occitania in figures
- Second agricultural region in France in number of farms and cultivated areas with 82,515 farms (i.e. 16% of French farms) for 69,979 farmers
- First region in certified organic areas
- First appellation vineyard in the world
- First Apiary in France
- First European region in number of productions under signs of identification of quality and origin (SIQO in French).
- 10% of the national production of fishery and aquaculture products, and 90% on the scale of the Mediterranean coast
- Average income per agricultural worker 35% lower than the national average
- 30,000 farms that have disappeared since 2010
A 4-step consultation process
To build this regional food policy intended to support all stakeholders in the food sector, a major consultation was launched at the end of 2017, with 4 steps:
1 - Diagnosis and reflection phase
Between November and April, debates and hearings were organized to define the themes to be addressed and brought together professionals from the agricultural and agro-food sectors, organizations representing consumers, experts, communities, etc.
2 - Online questionnaire on consumption habits
In April 2018, the region opened an online consultation to identify food practices, habits and expectations of consumers in Occitania. Until August, nearly 55,000 people responded and real expectations for better identification of the local or regional origin of products emerge from this questionnaire: 92% of respondents would thus favor foods produced in Occitania if they were easily identifiable.
3 - Meeting with consumers and food stakeholders during regional meetings
14 regional meetings were organized in all departments of Occitanie to collect proposals for concrete actions to act in favor of healthy and sustainable food, good for health, preserving the environment and animal welfare while allowing farmers to make a decent living from their profession. 1,200 participants took part in the meetings which took place from May to July 2018.
4 - Organization of a citizen consultation to define action priorities
From October 12 to November 18, the citizens of Occitanie were able to express their priorities among a set of actions resulting from the consultation. In just 4 weeks, nearly 45,000 citizens took part in this consultation.
Results of the consultation:
In total, more than 100,000 contributions were recorded during these two consultation phases. Some examples of the lessons learned from the consultations:
- For 98% of respondents, it is very important to limit food waste and to have a diet that is "environmentally friendly" (96%), "which allows producers to earn decent income" (96%) and "healthy" and balanced ”(71%).
- Eating healthy means above all "eating seasonal products" (79%), "varying foods (vegetables and fruits, meat and fish, starches, etc.)" (62%) and "consuming local products" (59% ).
- Classic supermarkets or hypermarkets remain the primary supply points for 40% of respondents and 70% go there regularly.
The results of the survey and the regional meetings made it possible to bring out 4 fields of action for sustainable food:
- Environment & Health: for sustainable agriculture
- Encourage the consumption of Occitan products
- Education: allow everyone to choose their diet
- Innovate from field to fork, at the right price, for everyone
This new form of democracy, more inclusive and close to the field and the territory, is an unprecedented initiative at the level of a French region. The Occitanie Region has thus shown that citizens are mobilizing to give an opinion within the framework of a decision-making process and thus contribute to the development of a new regional policy.
Regional Pact for Sustainable Food
Built in particular thanks to citizen contributions, the Pact was adopted by regional elected representatives during the Plenary Assembly of December 20, 2018. It was implemented in January 2019 and is based on 6 strategic orientations allowing action on the whole issues related to food:
- Promote the regional food heritage
- Structure sustainable food chains
- Awaken, inform and train for informed food choices
- Promote food solidarity and citizenship
- Make food a pillar of the ecological transition
- Make Occitanie an innovation laboratory for the food of tomorrow
5 million euros will be allocated specifically to the implementation of the Pact.
Based on the priorities set by citizens, the Region has identified 10 flagship actions that will be implemented in the future Pact:
- Support farmers towards practices aimed at reducing the use of pesticides and synthetic phytosanitary treatments through sustainable agricultural transition contracts
- Develop methods of cultivation and breeding that are thriftyl in synthetic inputs or use alternatives
- Fund training
- Fund research programs to reduce the use of inputs and synthetic phytosanitary treatments or find alternatives
- Organize regional food distribution meetings (large and medium-sized stores, wholesalers) to support local producers in their right to fair remuneration
- Negotiate with large distribution
- Strengthen the presence of Sud de France products, through the labels "Product in Occitanie", "Bio Occitanie" and "Excellence of Occitanie ", in large and medium-sized stores
- Develop and support new distribution networks (producers' stores, markets, auction houses, e-commerce) to increase the purchase of local products at the right price
- Strengthen the network of regional short circuits
- Support local and fair trade businesses
- Develop projects based on cooperative models
- Create a regional food center for local, organic and quality products in partnership with existing initiatives
- Facilitate the supply of organic and local products for local communities, by relying on high schools engaged in the "Occitanie dans mon assiette" scheme to enable Occitanie to be an exemplary region
- Develop collective tools for transformation, collection, logistics and delivery in the territories
- Provide financial assistance to high schools, and training centers, so that the additional cost is not supported by families
- Train collective catering professionals and promote good practices
- Introduce young people to eating well and to the use of local, quality and seasonal products, through cooking classes and educational activities such as the creation of a food truck
- Create an “educational food truck”
- Fund educational actions and cooking classes
- Create web information media and a mobile application
- Organize a regional cooking competition for young people
- Promote and train young people in the professions of tomorrow in agriculture, agrifood and catering by increasing the number of meetings with professionals to raise awareness and encourage vocations
- Promote the use of Occitanie products in hotel high schools
- Promote professions at TAF (“travail-avenir-formation”, stands for “work-future-training”) trade fairs
- Anticipate and promote the professions of tomorrow within the “Cités des métiers” and the “Cités régionales de l’orientation”
- Preserve regional know-how by connecting the talents of Occitania (great chefs, artisans and traders ...) with trainers
- Reward exemplary initiatives to combat food waste and reduce packaging by moving towards the "Zero plastic in restaurants" objective
- Go towards the ZERO plastic objective in collective restauration and eliminate plastic packaging from events organized by or in partnership with the Region
- Halve food waste by 2023
- Support innovation in packaging within companies
- Train professionals in the fight against food waste
- Organize a call for projects with a citizen jury to finance innovative projects to fight against food waste (participatory budgets)
- Support citizens' initiatives in favor of sustainable food, in particular with the creation of a "Sustainable Food Spring", a civic and festive event around the food issue
- Organize a “Sustainable Food Spring”, a civic and festive event around food
- Support the creation of food houses open to all to promote food education (exhibitions, conferences, Fab Lab, courses of the kitchen…)
- Use the participatory budgets of the Region to support projects linked to sustainable food
- Foster the development of social, solidarity and household grocery stores and support initiatives allowing everyone to access quality food
- Use social and solidarity grocery stores to develop household education actions (purchasing management, budgets, cooking training, etc.)
- Support food aid associations by financing logistics infrastructure (shared storage platforms, refrigerated trucks, processing tools, etc.)
- Create "menu" cards (any medium) for meals at less than 5 euros per person
- Provide financial support for the transition to take better account of animal welfare, during the breeding, transport and slaughter of animals
- Encourage and support outdoor breeding, grazing and the outing of animals and help breeders to move towards production methods that are more respectful of animal welfare
- Condition investment and equipment grants to structures while ensuring compliance with animal welfare standards
Source: Occitanie Region, 2018
Last modification : 12 Sep 2020.
La région Occitanie
In Occitania, agricultural and agro-food production is an essential sector of the regional economy. With 164,000 jobs, 82,515 farms, 1,990 agro-food companies including 400 cooperatives and 160 subsidiaries, agriculture and agro-food provide 14% of regional jobs, making it the largest employer in Occitania.
For these reasons, the Occitanie / Pyrénées-Méditerranée Region has decided to make food the great regional cause since 2018. Throughout 2018, through a citizen approach unprecedented in France, the Region invited citizens, professionals from the agricultural and agrifood sector, territories and associations to collectively build the Pact for sustainable food in Occitania adopted in December 2018.