Sign In

Local Economy Research Center

San Francisco | Paris © 2024 LocalScale. All Rights Reserved.

Achieving Food System Resilience: a case study on France

  • 2020-02-01 09:34:30.0
  • 11672



While working hard to produce food has been the lot of agrarian societies for 10,000 years, industrialized countries today meet their food needs with an ease that would be a wonder to our ancestors! While a significant portion of the population remains food insecure for economic or political reasons, never has so much food been produced, consumed, or simply thrown away. This abundance is based on a vast and complex organization: the food system.

A well-nourished society may devote more time to activities not essential for survival, such as recreation, art or science. Paradoxically, the rise of this knowledge now leads us to a certainty: the current state of material profusion will not last forever . Faced with the physical, geological and biological limits of our planet, the complex societies we have built are proving vulnerable. Scientific studies follow one another and leave no room for doubt. As the resources essential for our economic activity are depleted, the tragic consequences of the sixth mass extinction and climate change are now tangible. The historical conditions that allowed the industrialized food system to thrive are anything but guaranteed for years to come .

Despite this, the responses provided are derisory in view of the upheavals we are facing. Our future conditions depend largely on the decisions we make today, and on our ability to challenge the current economic and political system. Trying to accurately predict the future is illusory. Nevertheless, taking into account certain threats to anticipate their consequences at the local level seems to be a reasonable step, when the satisfaction of our basic needs is at stake . It is even a duty for elected officials, responsible for public order and civil security.

Beyond the observation and far from fatalism, we would like this document to participate in the construction of lucid, determined and creative policies, as we face the issues of our time.

Objectives and limits

The purpose of this report is twofold. Understand the current situation, by providing an overview of the threats hanging over the industrialized food system in France. Act , by proposing ways of resilience specific to each link in the food system.

It is aimed at local authorities, and in particular inter-municipal authorities wishing to put in place local food resilience policies : the emphasis is therefore placed on the levers of action that fall within their competence . The various actors of the food system will also find food for thought in these pages, as - more generally - anyone interested in subjects related to agriculture and food. Due to this focus on the territorial scale and on the role of communities, the actions to be taken at a more global level (national or European) are not detailed. However, it is obvious that these political levels can play a structuring role in building resilient food systems, by removing certain regulatory obstacles, defining a coherent political framework and granting ad hoc funding.

This work seeks to provide a scientific and cross-cutting framework for analysis, and to propose concrete actions in favor of better food resilience . It aims for a certain exhaustiveness in the consideration of threats and the description of the links in the food system, but only occasionally develops certain issues, such as food democracy, power relations and conflicts of interest at work. The relationship with the economic and social dimensions is discussed but is not the subject of an in-depth analysis; however, it is essential to take them into account.

Finally, this is not a "turnkey" guide. Many operational and organizational aspects are not detailed. Local food resilience projects must be adapted to the specificities of each territory and to their governance model.

Despite the care taken to ensure the reliability of the sources used, if you notice any incorrect figures or statements, please report it to the Greniers d'Abondance team. The underlined texts correspond to links, accessible in the digital version of the report.

Special Thanks

This report is the result of a collective project led by members of the Les Greniers d'Abondance association, and coordinated by Félix Lallemand, doctor in ecology and evolution, and Arthur Grimonpont, research engineer in regional planning. The development of the graphic model and the layout were coordinated by Edwin Paquiot and Cécilia Thibaut. The research, writing, proofreading, illustration and layout were carried out entirely on a voluntary basis. We would like to thank all of the following people for their contributions: Jean-Charles Abrial, Chloé Adelheim, Marie Baffard, Mathieu Bazaud, Sophie Boisselier, Mario Bon, Camille Blin, Eva Boyer, Anne-Cécile Brit, Jeanne Chiche, Vincent Cohen , Catherine Cuenca, Benjamin Cuillier, Valentin Deltreil, Étienne Dufour, Chloé Dusacre, Charles Englebert, Thomas Fabre-Barthez, Théa de Fouchécour, Élie Grinfeder, Paul Kennouche, Simon Klein, Philippine de Lattre, Léo Lemeray, Thibault Lorin, François Maître, Agathe Malbet, Joseph Maussion, Céline Monthéard, Justine Multon, Laura Papet, Rudy Patard, Corentin Pinsard, Aglaé Poisson, Louise Raguet, Thomas Sablé, Cécile Sambourg, Laure Schneider-Maunoury, Chloé Urvoas, Arnaud Vens, Lan Anh Vu Hong.

Proofreaders from outside the Greniers d’Abondance, experts in various areas of the food system, made this work more rigorous, coherent and realistic. We thank for their advice:

- Émilie Babut, chargée de projets d’investissement à la Banque des Territoires (groupe Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations)
- Adrien Baysse-Lainé, docteur en géographie et aménagement, enseignant à l’École Normale Supérieure Ulm
- Martin Bocquet, chargé d'études aménagement urbanisme foncier au Cerema Evelyne Bonilla, conseillère projets en agriculture biologique à la Maison de l'Agriculture Biologique de Charente
- Sébastien Bruand, maraîcher et président de la Maison de l'Agriculture Biologique de Charente
- Marianne Cerf, ergonome et directrice de recherche à INRAe
- Yuna Chiffoleau, agronome et directrice de recherche à INRAe
- Claire Delfosse, professeure de géographie et directrice de recherche à l'Université Lyon 2
- Éloïse Descamps, chargée de mission territoire et alimentation chez Solagro
- Aurore Dupont, cheffe de projet agriculture et alimentation à la communauté d’agglomération GrandAngoulême
- Fabien Esculier, chercheur en biogéochimie territoriale à l’École des Ponts ParisTech
- Gaël Léopold, directeur de Toilettes du Monde
- Marine Legrand, chercheuse en anthropologie de l’environnement et médiatrice à l’École des Ponts ParisTech
- Jérôme Libeskind, expert consultant en logistique urbaine
- Materne Maetz, agronome et économiste, ancien fonctionnaire principal pour les politiques agricoles de la FAO, fondateur du site
- Gilles Pipien, ingénieur général des ponts, des eaux et forêts, administrateur de l'association Humanité et BiodiversitéPhilippe Pointereau, agronome, directeur adjoint chez Solagro et co-auteur du rapport Afterres 2050Jean-Louis Rastoin, professeur émérite à Montpellier SupAgro, fondateur de la chaire UNESCO « Alimentations du monde », membre de l’académie d’agriculture de France

We also thank ADEME for the financial support provided for the paper publication of the report.

Part 1: Global threats

In this first part, the various threats to the food system are presented. They are the result both of global ecological and climatic upheavals, and of recent transformations specific to our economic and social organization. These changes have two types of consequences:
- basic degradation , gradual and predictable, which can affect each element of the food system;
- crisis situations , that is to say exceptional disturbances, limited in time, but the consequences of which are potentially catastrophic, in particular for already degraded systems.

Open this section

Part 2: Food resilience and local government

The basic degradations are already underway, diverse and deep. All the signs are that they will get worse, and in turn have major negative impacts on our societies. They will be accompanied by crisis situations, by definition unpredictable. Improving the resilience of the food system is essential in order to anticipate these various threats. The scale of action, skills, responsibility and democratic legitimacy of local authorities give them a privileged position to build food resilience projects.

Open this section