- In November 2022, Bordeaux Metropole launched its food policy as a holistic approach to create a more sustainable and local food system. The action plan framework addresses agriculture, short supply chains, collective catering, access to healthy, local, and sustainable food for all, and education
- The trickiest and yet the most valuable lesson is to insist on engaging with all relevant local actors. The challenge here was especially on balancing stakeholders' various interests and levels of commitment.
- Nevertheless, the Food Policy Council has owned its legitimacy over these types of stakeholders through its political commitment, operational action plan and dedicated budget.
- For a city wanting to embark on a similar journey, the recommendation is to build trust over time and to ensure a clear co-created understanding of roles and objectives to develop an operational and efficient food policy council
ContactFOOD TrailsApolline BEYRIS—DUVIGNAU, chargée de mission résilience alimentaire - email@example.com Carla QUIVIGER, chargée de mission gouvernance alimentaire – firstname.lastname@example.org
The InterviewClick on the questions below to read the answers
What was your city's specific focus in your food system transition and how did you initially start working with this focus area in your city?
In November 2022, Bordeaux Metropole launched its food policy as a holistic approach to create a more sustainable and local food system. The action plan framework is composed by 45 actions and 12 objectives regarding agriculture, the short supply chain, collective catering, access to healthy, local, and sustainable food for all, and education. We didn’t have a specific focus and are working on all the agricultural and food system. The local food policy council is at the core of the governance of Bordeaux Metropole's successful food policy. Local agricultural and food stakeholders work together to ensure the change to a sustainable food system by catalysing, coordinating, connecting people across the area and orientating the implementation of the food policy. It was the first French Food Policy Council. Bordeaux Metropole has been developing its network of local stakeholders since 2014. The Food Policy Council was officially launched in 2017. The Council brought together around 130 local food system actors – from agriculture to processing and distribution, from consumer organisations to stakeholders involved in trend analysis – all relevant players had their place on the Council. A realistic and ambitious Food Policy close to the needs of local stakeholders was created with the Food Policy Council in 2021 and 2022. At the beginning of 2023, the local food policy council became the official governance body of the Food Policy.
What were some obstacles or challenges you faced in your food system transition and how did you overcome them (or are planning on overcoming them)?
The trickiest and yet the most valuable lesson from Bordeaux’s Council is to insist on engaging with all relevant local actors. Over time, Bordeaux Metropole, and the food policy council have gained legitimacy over some stakeholders such as farmers. The challenge was to balance between stakeholders' various interests: between engaged stakeholders which gave strength to the network (such as NGOs) and stakeholders that needed to be convinced as farmers or economical stakeholders (retailers, wholesale market, supermarket etc). The Food Policy Council needed to be more operational and have more resources to engage more stakeholders. The Food Policy Council has owned its legitimacy over these types of stakeholders through its political commitment, operational action plan and dedicated budget.
Since you joined the project, what would you say were your biggest achievements or impacts that you achieved?
Bordeaux Metropole is one of the 11 pilot cities in H2020 FoodTrails project. This project aims to translate the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact’s shared vision and collective commitment to integrated urban food policies into measurable and long-term progress towards sustainable food systems. Bordeaux Metropole was able to hire two food officers through European funds, who participate in the implementation and coordination of the food policy. Bordeaux Metropole has been working on the evolution of the food policy council from a consultative body to its official governing body with the Food Trails project. Bordeaux Metropole organised the election of the new Food Policy Council representatives in 2023. The Food Policy Council is organised in five colleges: (1) public services, (2) food agriculture, (3) processing sector, (4) distribution sector and (5) food consumption. Each college votes for its member that should sit in the steering committee. This committee gives a realistic sample of the local food system and aims to support the implementation of the FP action plan. This election brought new stakeholders to the Food Policy Council and gave a fresh perspective to the steering committee. Now, the Food Policy Council includes more than 100 official stakeholders (who signed the charter) and around 300 active members (people involved in meetings).
What advice do you have for other cities who want to embark on a similar journey?
Building trust over time is the key to develop an operational and efficient food policy council. All the members should have the space to share their needs and aspirations, to improve the facilitation of the network to answer to their needs. The facilitation of a network requires time not only to create collectives’ tools and organise meetings but also to give support to each member if needed. To reach all the stakeholders of the food system, the objectives of the food policy council must be cross-disciplinary and concrete. Attentiveness and availability/time are key criteria to build trust with all the potential partners. Also, to ensure a clear understanding of the roles of the food policy council, the stakeholders involved must define its objectives and write together the rules and regulations of the network that include the governance tools, the members' powers, and the collective objectives of the network.