Agroecology and food policy

Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole is committed to agroecology and food transition policy to support the optimal balance between “eating well” and “producing well.”

Ambitious agroecology and food policy

For the past two years, Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole has been driving an agroecology and food policy based on cooperation. Montpellier is the first metropolis in France to implement public policy of this type.
 
To improve access to healthy food for everyone, Montpellier Métropole and its partners are working to develop agro-ecological food agriculture and redirect local products to local distribution channels.
 
Determined to anchor its policy for the long-term, Montpellier Métropole signed a pact in Milan in October 2015 relating to urban food policies, alongside a hundred other cities around the world.
Valérie De-Saint-Vaulry, Chargé de mission agronomie, agriculture, circuits courts

Valérie De Saint Vaulry

Mission Manager, Agroecology sector

Key goals of the P2A food and agriculture policy

This approach involves 5 key objectives:
  • Offer healthy local food to as many people as possible.
  • Support the farm and food economy, as well as jobs.
  • Preserve scenic heritage and natural resources.
  • Limit greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change.
  • Promote social cohesion by taking care of ties with nature and the links between cities and the countryside.

Objectives that must take several issues into account

An agricultural sector undergoing profound change and decline
The number of farms without successors is considerable in the Montpellier Métropole area: 477 of 568, or 84%. This phenomenon also affects wine-growing farms, whose number has fallen by 50% over the past 10 years, from 703 to 299, even though the sector is still the largest in the area (69% of all farms in the territory).
 
The emerging digital influence
With respect to agri-food technology and technological innovation, Montpellier Métropole is adapting to the rise of today’s digital reality, notably with #FoodTech grouping entrepreneurial initiatives harnessing the potential of digital activities to support the food sector.
 
Broad diversification of the social forms of agricultural production
As a practice, farming can be an “end in itself” (such as for professional farmers) but can also be a means to foster other objectives, such as social inclusion and quality of life.

A collaborative process

Agroecology and food programs form a shared policy framework that is both clear and sustainable. Dialog is particularly rich and sustained with cities, neighboring territories (Grand Pic Saint Loup and Pays de l'Or to start), the research community, and all stakeholders in the territorial food system. The goal is to cooperate more effectively, learn good practices, and experiment with new ideas to take action on the most efficient levers.

Policy with an international dimension

In 2015, Montpellier Métropole signed the pact on urban food policies in Milan, alongside a hundred other cities around the world, to make its Territorial Agroecological and Food Policy sustainable.
 
This pact is based on a fundamental fact: local public authorities have a strong responsibility to take food issues into account. Signatories commit themselves to work “towards the development of sustainable, inclusive, resilient, safe, and diverse food systems.” Goals include: providing healthy and affordable food for everyone as a basic right, reducing waste as much as possible, preserving biodiversity, and reducing the effects of climate change while continuing to adapt.