Agroecology and food policy

Montpellier is committed to agroecology and food transition policy (“P2A”) to support the optimal balance between “eating well” and “producing well.”

For agroecology transition and sustainable food production

Since 2014, Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole has been driving an agroecology and food policy based on collaboration. Montpellier is the first metropolis in continental France to implement public policy of this type.

To improve access to healthy food sustainably 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. Local authorities have welcomed in 2019 the 5th summit of the (now) 180 cities signing the Pact.

Valérie De Saint Vaulry

Agroecology and food policy coordinator

+33 (0)4 67 13 61 13

Key goals of the “P2A” agroecology and food transition policy

This action 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
  • Favor social cohesion by focusing on links with nature, and links between cities and the countryside

Strategic objectives 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% (Hérault Chamber of Agriculture, 2015). This phenomenon also affects wine-growing farms, whose number fallen by 50% over the past 10 years, from 703 to 299, even if though the sector is still the largest (69% of all farms in the territory).

Emerging digital influence
Agri-food technology and technological innovation: Montpellier participates in today’s emerging digital reality 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 policy forms a shared policy framework that is both clear and sustainable. Dialog is particularly rich and sustained with cities, neighboring territories (currently Grand Pic Saint Loup and Pays de l'Or), the farming profession, research community, and all stakeholders in the territorial food system.

The goal is to cooperate more effectively, learn from each other, and experiment with new ideas in order 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. Local authorities are preparing the 5th summit of the (now) 180 cities signing the Pact in October 2019.
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.

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