Sustainable foodscape

« Food is among the elements most integral to the cultural landscapes of the European Union and its member countries. Through food, the peoples of European countries actively produce and draw substance and meaning from cultural landscapes. This realization is at the heart of recent and still expanding food cultures and movements in Europe and throughout the world. It is also relevant to current interests and projects on the EU’s cultural landscapes, where the role of food traverses the marvelous scenes of heritage-type and officially designated landscapes-such as those of the terroir products-to those of diverse and often similarly compelling non-heritage sites. »  (Karl Zimmerer)

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Support policies to peri-urban agriculture are developing, and can be anchored on major metropolitan natural areas. Grand Parc Miribel Jonage is a peri-urban park whose mission is servicing landscapes, for which the role of farmers is essential. Grand Parc Miribel Jonage had a previous vegetable farming business, which still remains in Vaulx-en-Velin and Décines, with for example the Vartan gardens, that produce organic vegetables and distribute fresh food on 2000 m² of greenhouses and 13,000 sqm of outdoor cultivation. Healthy and tasty products are supplied upon choice directly on the ground, or with a morning pick-up for immediate delivery. Unavailable on-site productions come from the region: summer fruits from Drôme, Bresse chicken, Lamb of Saint Romain, …. Grand Parc Miribel Jonage owns 400 ha of farmlands operated by 16 contracted farmers, plus 100 ha operated directly by GPMJ. Those are mainly cereals. Although farming is limited in GPMJ by legislation from the 1970s, revised in the early 2000s, breed continues, with cows for land maintenance and goats on dry grasslands. GPMJ implemented a label « Les Saveurs du Grand Parc » that aims to encourage producers, distributors, processors and consumers to focus on organic and local products. Origin of the label is historic and rooted. It started with the Woodstower festival, which hosts 17,000 people, and wants to be an eco-festival to give meaning to his action to give meaning to his action and generate stakeholders’ connections. The partnership has resulted in a search of local products, which continued with Grand Parc productions. After a first hemp cultivation for the production of oil, the second product delivered was honey with the installation of hives, and the accompaniment of draft beer with a local cereal production for Dullion Brewery. Then came a cheeses offer with the GAEC of Garotière. Lys’sentielles joined the process in 2013 with herbs. Moulin Marion, last independent miller, fits into the sector in 2014, and 2015 saw the arrival of the labeled organic meat production from the GPMJ breed for lanscapes maintenance. The HERCULES program contributed to the organization of a workshop around this approach to evaluate the balance between supply and demand, and the tools to implement to promote local supply.

“Les saveurs du Grand Parc” productions and Moulin Marion old mill

The charter of the label defines a scope for the products involved, that are divided into seven families:

  • Grain products or derivatives ;
  • Fruit / vegetables or derivatives ;
  • Honey or derivatives ;
  • Flowers and herbs or derivatives;
  • Dairy products ;
  • Meat ;
  • « Welfare » products.


Geographical borders are also defined, so that the headquarters of the farm and packing places should be located within 100 Km of Grand Parc borders.

Large peri-urban parks can also supply timber industry, as is the case of GPMJ, with assistance of the National Forest Organisation in forest management plan, but also the Parilly park, which has a woodworking workshop within the service, and Lacroix-Laval Domain, using also horse for some logging operations, and for other uses, horses being much appreciated by the public.

Forestry in Lyon metropolitan parks

Other good practices were collected in Rhône-Alpes rural area. Between those, Biau Panier association was created in 2005 following strong demand from Trieves residents  for a bio local supply chain. The purpose of this non-profit association, is to offer a wide range of local organic products. The association currently groups nineteen producers to offer a variety of products. Vegetables, pasta, bread, flour, eggs, jams, cheeses, meats, beers, syrups, processed products, cosmetics, … are offered to individuals. The producers are grouped to facilitate access to their products throughout the country. Another advantage for vegetable producers: they gather the customer order: there is no waste. The producers set their prices as convenience but are obliged to charge the same prices on the regional markets. Producing for local delivery and organic agriculture, producers try to sow and plant the largest percentage of local seeds or very close, and breeders favour local breeds adapted to the climate and the region. As for a « drive » of a supermarket, customers choose on the website in a catalogue for the desired Wednesdays products, customers pick up their baskets in one of six collection points, preferably in carpooling. There is no obligation to buy each week, a customer can order only once or every week if he wants to. The customer profile is multiple, young, older, single, couple, working on Grenoble or locally. The location of this association is a « sustainable » Place. Trièves is composed of 28 towns of about 10 000 inhabitants, and is a center of organic agriculture: one-third of farmers are and retraining of farmers working in traditional towards greener practices is increasing. Most new installations of young farmers are organic. The disparate geography has created small plots that leave little room for « conventional » agriculture especially as in some villages like Monestier, where there was no consolidation.

Organic vegetable farm in Trièves

In Lesvos, citizens of Gera founded a non-profit organization to preserve the forests of olive trees in the region, and contribute to social and economic development through the production of olives and agro-tourism. The approach is part of an initial finding of abandonment of olive groves, loss of environmental and cultural value, and lack of competitiveness of the production of olive oil because of geographical features of the area (land sloping, non-irrigated). However, the community has a rich ‘human capital’, based on actors with other activities, and local actors bridged together with other farmers and inhabitants of Gera in an NGO ’tis Allis Syn’ and the social enterprise « MODOUSA ». Their desire is to adopt new management systems, more decentralized and more open to change and innovation, while strongly ntégrant landscape conservation: the aim is to use the features of the landscape, developing uses to ensure the profitability of farms of olive trees (e.g. with innovative protocols to fight against the olive fly) to preserve the aesthetics of the landscape.

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