An ambition, and means: the Minister of Solidarity, Jean-Christophe Combe, launched, Thursday, May 11, the implementation of the Better eating plan for all. It aims to improve access to quality food for the most modest, to protect their health – they are twice as affected by obesity as the French population as a whole – and to preserve the environment, with more fruits, vegetables, legumes and local and labeled products (organic, AOP, AOC, IGP, Label rouge, etc.). The 60 million euros of the fund for sustainable food aid, announced in November 2022 by the Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, are allocated to it. If we add the 40 million in exceptional aid granted in this year of inflation, “State credits for food aid, which were 56 million in 2021, will reach 156 million euros this year”argued the minister during a trip to Montreuil (Seine-Saint-Denis).
Two-thirds of the budget must allow food aid associations authorized at national level to obtain supplies in a healthier and more sustainable way. “We have already increased the share of fruit and vegetables to 25%. Thanks to this plan, which is multi-annual, we will be able to get closer to the recommended 33%, by forging partnerships with cooperatives, chambers of agriculture…”appreciates Laurence Champier, Executive Director of the Federation of Food Banks, which provide nearly 6,000 associations and communal centers for social action.
“We can only rejoice”
The remaining 20 million euros of the plan are intended to support, for one to three years, local food aid schemes, including existing ones: these may be solidarity gardens, vegetable processing workshops, projects intended for “white areas” (not covered by associations) and various experiments – workshops to learn how to cook at low cost, food vouchers… The call for projects is open until 30 June.
“We can only be delighted to find in this plan the main axes resulting from the consultation between the actors of the sector, which ended in September”, salutes Julien Adda, who co-chaired one of the working groups. He himself runs the Jardins de cocagne network: people who are unemployed produce organic vegetables there, some of which are sold at a solidarity price.
In Montreuil, Jean-Christophe Combe was presented with the “Passerelle” project, carried out in 2022 by Action against Hunger and the Salvation Army, the department and the municipality. For four months, 200 households in precarious situations benefited from direct cash transfers and social support. According to the impact study carried out, these people appreciated this non-stigmatising help. They were able to increase their food security and remobilize to access their rights. And the effects in terms of well-being continued for the following months. “This shows that it is not just food, but also equipment, support, social ties”, said the minister. He also committed to increasing the resources allocated to the plan over the next four years.