Caen Normandy Metropole’s regional food project was launched in October 2017. For one year, a participatory approach involving all the regional players led to the development of strategic guidelines that were recognised by the National Food Programme (NFP) label in February 2019.
By organising thematic workshops and field visits locally (urban farm, wholesale market, association providing work in market gardening, farmer allowing individuals to do their own picking, canteens offering vegetarian menus and so on), stakeholders in the Caen region now have a qualitative and quantitative regional food diagnostic and routemaps to promote short food circuits.
The challenge now lies in implementing this ambitious 14-action plan, aimed at bringing consumers and food producers closer together in six strategic areas:
I - Implementing metropolitan food governance;
II - Taking food into account in planning and land use;
III - Supporting the local economy (distribution platform, vegetable provision, urban compost etc);
IV - Strengthening collaboration and social bonding (sustainable food house);
V - Promoting local sourcing in communities;
VI - Communicating about local food identity and Normandy gastronomy, raising awareness, educating and training.
The FRUGAL (Urban Forms and Food Governance) action research programme run with the University of Caen between 2016 and 2020 is proving to be a quality methodological support to this innovative community approach to food: researchers present the results of their research to elected officials each year and the participatory methodologies of communities at all levels (city, urban community, metropolitan cluster) allow for new partnerships between researchers and stakeholders.