If you want true food transparency, there’s nothing better than knowing that your food was grown at a farm within 5 miles from your home, or that your favorite wine comes from a winery across the beaten path. Now, France’s National Assembly (upper chamber of Parliament) wants to make local food an imperative with a law that requires 40% of all food served in ‘collective restaurants’ to be sourced locally.
This means that France’s school cafeterias, senior living communities, prisons, and other state institutions, as well as local pubs and restaurants, will rely on their local growers instead of on the often GMO-contaminated imports from the U.S., India, Canada, Mexico, and others. The proposal will need to be approved by the lower chamber (Senate) before it becomes law.
Besides being locally sourced, the food must be organically grown, in season, and certified ecologically sustainable. No more herbicide-laden salad greens or GMO potatoes.
Some Definitions Still Being Hammered Out
The law doesn’t specify an exact definition of ‘locally grown’ just yet. Different recommendations will be given depending on the product and its usual geographical origin. Local fruits and vegetables will likely be those coming from within a 30-kilometer (ca. 19-mile) radius of the dining establishment. Foods such as meat and grains that need more processing before consumption will likely be given a 100-kilometer (ca. 63-mile) source radius.
Some cities are already well ahead of the proposed law. St. Etienne in central eastern France is already serving 100% organic food at its institutions.
Law Expected to Pass and to Stimulate Local Economies
The law aims to stimulate the local food economies, restructure the food system, and shorten the food supply chain to a minimum, with fewer intermediaries between the food supplied and the customer who eats it. This would reduce waste in food packaging and transportation.
Government officials are expecting the law to pass, as they have already begun ‘sensitization campaigns.’ Regional agricultural ministers will help institutions re-organize to comply with the sourcing changes, and help them connect with local farmers and producers in positive ways.