In Mouans-Sartoux, a town of 10,000 inhabitants on the French Riviera, local councillors have developed an agricultural policy aimed at municipal self-sufficiency.
In the area, competition for land is high due to the double pressure of urban sprawl and increased tourist demand. If farmland use continues to decline at the current rate, it will all be gone within 25 years.
In this context, the local councillors of Mouans-Sartoux decided to develop a strong local agricultural and food policy in order to move towards self-sufficiency at the local level. Their first objective was to offer 100% local organic meals in the town’s three school restaurants.
From early on, the municipality had developed a strategy of acquiring “strategic” farmland. In 2005, it had pre-empted the sale of an old agricultural estate, the Haute Combe estate, which was going to be bought by a real estate developer. In 2009, the municipality decided to use the Haute Combe estate45 to develop vegetable growing.
The municipal Park Departments tested vegetable growing on a few acres for one year, producing one tonne of potatoes and 130 kg of squash. These vegetables were included in the three school restaurants. After a successful first year, the municipality decided to hire a grower under the status of "municipal agent".
In addition to producing food for school meals, the municipal farm is an opportunity to re-connect with agriculture. Children are directly involved in this educational project. During the summer, the harvest surplus is given to a local food bank.
Read the full case study in our report Supporting access to land for farmers in Europe: Experiences and potential of local authorities, 2017