Articulation of the regional agri-food system

Alliances and agro-ecological projects around the Milan Pact

January 2019

Fondation Daniel et Nina Carasso (FDNC)

Towards a Europe of territorial food systems?

This study is extracted from the analysis of twenty-two French and Spanish projects related to new food models, all highlighting different challenges.

In Spain, governance is being built, while French food systems are looking for solutions to change scale. But in both countries, accessibility remains the weak link.

In Madrid, political advocacy actions by civil society have led to the organisation of participatory workshops in conjunction with the municipality. They aim to define a global strategy and a common vision for the promotion of healthy and sustainable food in collective catering. The actions set up aim not only to promote local organic products, but also the entire development of the Madrid bioregion.

Madrid, Spain

A quarter of the surface area of the autonomous province of Madrid is devoted to agriculture, with a diversity of productions: rainfed crops, fertile plains, olive trees and vines. 0.26% of the active population of Madrid works in the agricultural sector.

Since 2015, the Madrid Agroecological Platform represents the main space for mobilising civil society to promote the agroecological transition. It plays an interface role, influencing public policies. As a signatory of the Milan Pact, the Madrid City Council works along several strategic lines, directly or indirectly linked to the city’s food policy. The project for a regional agri-food system is built as a tool. Its objective is to coordinate existing initiatives, to intensify the logic of collaboration between the different actors of the food chain and to extend participation to other protagonists. The project addresses and installs a global vision, associated with the development of specific actions. These actions act in two distinct areas of the food system: the integration of clauses in public procurement favouring the supply of organic and local products, and the strengthening of the agricultural sector in the Madrid bioregion.

The Madrid City Council organises all actions concerning the Milan Pact through its territorial and associative coordination service. The Equality, Social Rights and Employment Service works directly with the canteens of public crèches. The association VSF-Justicia Alimentaria, the cooperative Germinando, the association Surcos Urbanos and the cooperative Garúa support the coordination of the different axes of the project. The participatory workshops serve as a starting point for the construction of a common vision. Thanks to the complementary skills of each of the protagonists involved, it is easier to link the agricultural supply of the territory with the demand for school canteens.

The project of the city of Madrid is articulated with another programme aimed at stimulating the social and solidarity economy, the Mares project, in order to accelerate the strengthening of the agricultural sector.

Integrating local sustainable food into school purchases

In moving to municipal management of the crèches, the city of Madrid coordinated the transition of the canteens in 56 centres. The introduction of clauses making a balanced and sustainable diet compulsory makes it possible to offer a greater number of organic and local products each year. The specifications are designed for four years, with a possible two-year extension, to ensure continuity. They are accompanied by training for the educational community on the application of these specifications, monitoring and control.