What’s unique about the initiative?
Maison d’Éducation à l’Alimentation Durable (MEAD, the Center for Sustainable Food Education) is a holistic municipal initiative in Mouans-Sartoux, France, that is enabling the town to transition to consuming organic and sustainably produced food. Since its launch, MEAD has prioritised the health of its children, families, older people, local companies, students, researchers and public authorities – and the needs of sustainable agriculture – through progressive food policy.
Most outstanding results
Since 2012, the town’s school canteens have been serving 100% organic food, with 96% of the vegetables produced in Mouans-Sartoux itself (organic food limits the residue of pesticides and endocrine disrupters, etc. in adults’ and children’s food). The town has also reduced the food loss and waste in school canteens by 80%, and includes two vegetarian meals in their weekly menu. Mouans-Sartoux was an early adopter of the idea of diversifying proteins in people’s diet, and has driven a threefold increase in the provision of agricultural land for sustainable farming in the area.
We run workshops and classes for children on sustainable food, and 51 families were or are being supported through a targeted six-month programme to shift towards more sustainable food habits. In addition, we’re supporting 100 families through a social grocery store, have engaged 21 companies on their use of sustainable food, and have also reached several thousand people through our festivals and events organised by the Town Hall. In a survey carried out in 2019, 87% of parents reported to us that they had changed their habits to eat more sustainable local, organic healthy food.
Our team of six to eight people is led by a steering committee, comprising elected officials, scientists, institutions and local people. They meet twice yearly to evaluate existing actions and propose new ideas. There is also a local group made up of local stakeholders and residents that meets regularly to make new proposals and strengthen our project. Our success story has generated much interest in France and abroad.
Covid-19 outbreak impact
Following the COVID-19 outbreak we had to cancel many of our planned events. However, the municipal farm continued to produce vegetables, some of which were used for the few meals served in the school canteen for the children of health workers and municipal employees who continued to work during the crisis. The surplus was frozen on site and food was donated to the nearest hospital and the town’s social grocery store. The MEAD regularly posted ideas for recipes and gardening activities on its Facebook page to help parents occupy their children during lockdown. Despite the challenges posed by the crisis, it can be seen as an opportunity to increase awareness about food resilience among local people and also at a wider scale.
QUOTE FROM THE EVALUATION COMMITTEE:
“A fantastic initiative on sustainable food systems at a territorial level, and deeply embedded in national policies and programmes with international echoes due to a strong communication framework.”
– Mamadou Goïta