In 2017, Lille Métropole, Région Hauts-de-France, Département du Nord, the Association of Mayors and the Chamber of Agriculture were at the initiative of an innovative approach to jointly develop local supply in the restaurants of schools and medico-social institutions they manage. The process was called “Ici je mange local - Here I eat Local”. In partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, this initiative will now be extended to other territories in the North of France (Region Hauts-de-France), in terms of actors (hospitals, private schools,...) but also in terms of subject matter (fight against food waste, introduction of organic food, education to taste, etc.). Through this approach, Lille Metropole intends to establish a community of actors in the collective restaurant & catering on its territory.
The objectives assigned to the approach “Here I eat local” by the partners are condensed in a common charter to emphasize, to value and to encourage schools, medico-social institutions and their teams offering a local, qualitative and seasonal food supply in their collective catering and promote all steps to progress in that direction. These objectives are based on 4 principles:
- Promote local sectors, producers and rural and culinary heritage,
- Enhance the professions of collective catering & restaurants
- Raise awareness about the consumption of local products
- Ensure remunerative opportunities for local sectors and productions
The collective catering of which “Here I eat Local” is part of, is entirely embedded in the food and agricultural policies of Lille Metropole in particular at the level of the Metropolitan Agricultural and Food Strategy (Stratégie Agricole et alimentaire métropolitaine - 2016) and the Territorial Food Project (Projet alimentaire territorial - 2019) as well as in relation to other schemes such as the climate plan (2021) or the local waste prevention program (2022).
The approach “Here I eat local” is completely in line with the current EU goals like the “from farm to fork” strategy. Furthermore it’s a project, focusing on the entire food chain that easily can be runned, duplicated and extended. “Here I eat local” makes it possible to increase clearly the use of qualitative and sustainable (bio) products, but also fight against food waste, promote the non-use of plastic, organize education on taste, etc.
The significant increase of labelled institutions since the start shows the success of the initiative. 179 institutions were involved in 2018 and despite the health crises this number was more than doubled in 2020 with 439 institutions involved.