Competing for the Convergences Europe Award, Uniterres is a local programme whose aim is both to make fresh and good quality products (especially fruits and vegetables) available to the beneficiaries of food aid and to participate in developing local agriculture, while strengthening the links between producers and consumers. Brought by the Association Nationale des Epiceries Solidaires (ANDES), the project brings together dozens of partners around an integrated approach to food aid and was awarded the Special Convergences Award “Sustainable cities and territories”

A double observation at the origins of the Uniterres programme

The Uniterres program responds to two main issues:

  • A low consumption of fresh products (mainly fruits and vegetables) by the recipients of food aid mainly is observed and mainly due to a lack of these products in food aid structures.
  •  The number of vulnerable farmers having to have recourse to food aid and the severe crisis currently affecting farming continues to rise every year.

One solution to solve a double problem

Uniterres is a local programme which aim is both making fresh quality products (especially fruits and vegetables) available to food aid recipients and to participate in the development of local agriculture, while strengthening links between producers and consumers.

Vulnerable farmers are supported by the Uniterres programme for 3 years. The aim is to make them regain economic sustainability through technical and social support, fixed prices, an annual pre-control system and the management of their logistics. In the social grocery stores of the ANDES network, Uniterres allows fresh, local and seasonal products to be supplied.

Impact of the Uniterres Programme

The Uniterres programme seeks to provide a solution to problems encountered both in the context of food aid and in the context of the agriculture crisis. Several actions have therefore been put in place that addresses these multifaceted challenges:

  • Agricultural counselling brought to 138 farmers currently part of the programme
  • Support in farm management
  • Logistics (transport of products from the farms to the 74 social grocery stores)
  • Supply of social grocery stores in fresh local products (about 25,000 beneficiaries in 2015)
  • Awareness raising of the teams of the ANDES network via workshops, connecting members of social grocery stores and farmers (farmers meeting, farm visits, etc.).
  • Support for integration into commercial channels for farmers

Which partners are involved into this ambitious program?

The Uniterres programme emerged to propose a solution to the supply problem of social grocery stores with fresh fruits and vegetables and to the economic difficulties faced by many “small” farmers in France. This programme solves two problems through matching innovative partnerships.

Uniterres is a transversal programme with implications on the social environment, solidarity economy, agriculture, health, sustainable development, the fight against food waste and the environment.

Without setting these relations and creating partnerships that has never been created before the solidarity existing in the Uniterres programme could not have seen the light of day.

Establishing the dialogue between antagonistic stakeholders: the strength of the Uniterres program.

The Uniterres programme brings together many actors who wouldn’t necessarily meet.

This programme allows them to establish dialogue, whereas these actors do not have the habit of consultation and may typically have antagonistic relationship: the Chambers of Agriculture, the FNSEA, Peasant Solidarity, the private sector, local authorities…

The solidarity cause brings together all stakeholders around the table in order to co-construct together and to improve the situation for both small producers and recipients of food aid, both at the national and the local level.