In Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, a recipe for eating organic and local with anti-inflation

Pioneers of “healthy eating” With 83% organic, 100% homemade and almost the same amount of local, the canteens of the municipality of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence are intensifying their efforts to resist accelerating inflation without compromising on quality.

“Green salad, corn, tomato and croutons, spaghetti bolognese and for dessert: cantaloupe, honey syrup and basil whipped cream.” This morning, six “Ambassadors of Taste” and CP and CE1 students diligently and democratically selected a “balanced” menu that the city’s public school children would eat for their September lunch.

In Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, four schools and a nursery serve 600 meals a day, prepared on-site with 83% organic, local animal products and an “Etica” label – at least 50% non-native intensive farming.

“It’s so good,” May, 9, said as she patted her Basque chicken in the small, sunny canteen at République Primary School. “We can refill three times if there is still some,” Palmer determined. “We take advantage of it: He seems to be no good at college at all,” adds Juliette, 10.

Here only 22 grams per serving ends up in the trash, versus 140 on the national average.

It is the fruit of a global project implemented by the municipality, including the preservation of the environment and health, education about food and the environment – from kindergarten, watering the children in the vegetable garden, going to the producers … – and animal care.

If 60% of primary school catering is directly managed by cities in France, as opposed to 40% awarded to large corporations (Sodexo, Elior, Compass, etc.), few communities are very proactive.

“Parents of pupils, children and municipal employees decide the menus,” assigns AFP the mayor, Hervé Cherubini, “we decide the supply: we work with local producers 50 km away, we educate in taste, we do it organically. Managing our canteens is more profitable in terms of Health, taste, food and education.”

– bulk purchases –

At the beginning of the 2021 school year, prices for canteens, which have not changed since 2017, were raised by 5% to pass the increase in the cost of purchasing raw materials, but “it is still meager for parents, with a starting price of 2, from 10 to 3.65 euros, knowing that The meal is ours, all inclusive, 9 to 10 euros,” explains Thierry Vanbervelt, school catering coordinator.

In the end, the municipality bears 82% of the annual cost of school catering services, or 571 thousand euros.

Since the beginning of the year, despite the accelerating inflation, these costs have remained stable: thus, the partnership with the agricultural school will guarantee two years of fixed-price supply of PDO organic olive oil, whose mark has increased by 39% in one year. .

Fixed price also for natural sourdough bread made “like 50 years”, without chemical yeast and without preservatives, sets Grégory Doriac, creator of Painprenelle organic bakery with his partner Sandrine Stegemann, graduate of the International Bakery School.

For fruits and vegetables purchased at the La Courte Échelle Social and Solidarity grocery store, the absence of middlemen saves 15% on apples and 52% on carrots. “We are putting farmers in competition and committing to tons for the year,” Mr. Vanberfleet identifies.

For pulses, “we had to get a little creative,” switching to bulk with supplier l’Entrepôt in Avignon, which cut purchase prices by 35% on average, and “up to -64% for Camargue AOP organic long grain rice!” , rejoice.

Organic meat and charcuterie—alpine lamb, Crau pig, upland beef, and pasture-raised—come from the family business Alazard et Roux, whose slaughterhouse directly runs 250 breeders.

Canteens: in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, a recipe for eating organic and local food while resisting inflation

With the “lowest-price culture that prevailed in calls for bids” in communal restaurants, kids “began to hate ground steak: they ate the dry meat of discarded cows, slaughtered after 10 years of dairy production,” explains Olivier Roux, president of Alazard and Roux.

He concludes, “A good minced steak today, made from local meat, cooked and soft, has nothing to do with it. You have to eat less and better meat.”


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