“February without a supermarket”, a month to raise awareness of short supply chains and support farmers

FIGARO TOMORROW – The initiative which starts on Monday and of which this is the fifth edition aims to change the habits of consumers by surfing their craze for local products.

For the fifth consecutive year, this Monday will start the operation “A month without a supermarket“. This initiative, launched in 2017 by Swiss journalist Leïla Rölli, founder of the site En Vert et Contre Tout, was inspired by the participatory survey “100 days without supermarket»Produced by our colleague Mathilde Golla, then journalist at Figaro*.

Far from being akin to a boycott of mass distribution, the operation aims to raise awareness of alternatives: small local shops, short circuits, farms and markets. And since it is not always easy to find the possibilities offered near home on your own, Leïla Rölli started by launching a Facebook group near her home. The idea being that each member exchange advice, tips and good addresses. Over the past five years, 80 regional Facebook groups have been created little by little on this model and their number continues to grow, in seven French-speaking countries such as Switzerland, France, Belgium, Luxembourg or Quebec, but also Spain or Tunisia, affecting a total of 50,000 members.

Short circuits on the way to 20% of sales

The operation is surfing on a trend which has already accelerated in 2020. During the first confinement, the French favored short circuits, to the point that their weight, estimated by INSEE at 10% of sales in 2010, would be in pass from passing the 20% milestone, according to the National Institute of Agronomic Research (INRA). Small local producers, farm purchases or maintaining your own vegetable garden were the subject of the same enthusiasm. Some have (re) discovered the pleasure of fresh produce and home cooking, even if it takes a little time, whether in town or in the countryside. It is also not insignificant that the government has announced to put 30 million euros on the table, as part of its recovery plan, to develop urban agriculture (13 million more than before) and shared gardens (17 million).

What is impressive is the ability to react and adapt that this short circuit system has demonstrated ”

Laurent Marcoz, beehive manager at La Ruche who says yes

The underlying trend is there, as the online sales sites for organic or local products have seen, which have emerged as big winners from the health crisis. At Aurore Market, which exclusively sells organic at a reduced price upon membership (60 euros per year), the number of orders has doubled in 2020 compared to last year. At the Hive who says yes, Laurent Marcoz, manager of a beehive in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, also believes that attendance doubled during the first confinement, a figure comparable to that of other hives which were able to open then, the reception products being made in a local neighborhood. “But above all, the producers who succeeded in immediately reorganizing their logistics have for some quadrupled their sales, which gave them a real breath of fresh air. What is impressive is the capacity for reaction and adaptation demonstrated by this short circuit system ”, notes the latter.

The initiative was launched by the site En Vert et Contre Tout DR

The idea of ​​this operation is that everyone does what is within their reach near home, so as to cause a mass effect. If only to start by picking up your bread every day at the bakery, which is not obvious for all bread consumers. Because in the background, the entire agricultural sector is at stake. While many farms are on the verge of bankruptcy, rather than selling their milk at a loss, many farmers are starting to sell directly. They are pooled and some local authorities do not fail to set up market places to support them, such as Chambéry, Saint-Étienne or many others. The Ministry of Agriculture, for its part, in partnership with the chambers of agriculture, has set up a national platform two weeks ago to locate farm products close to home.

An invoice reduced by 10 to 12%

Some will not fail to point out that it is complicated to do without supermarkets altogether and that increasing the number of outlets for shopping takes time. Leïla Rölli, for her part, prides herself on saving time by placing all her orders online on the same site. The local counter, La Ruche qui dit oui, Aurore Market or La Fourche, to name but a few, offer this possibility, even if not all have a wide enough range to meet all the needs of ‘a home.

As for the detractors who will retort that not everyone has the means to do their shopping outside supermarkets and hard discounters, Mathilde Golla, godmother of this 2021 edition, had highlighted, during her investigation, that to obtain supplies in short circuits made it possible to reduce the bill by 10 to 12% on average. Aurore Market puts forward, for its part, a free membership proposal based on social criteria. The number of members who benefited from it increased from 1,300 to 2,400 between 2019 and 2020 (out of a total of 30,000 members).

* The experiment gave rise to a book, 100 days without a supermarket, the first guide to short circuits“, published in 2018 by Flammarion editions.

To see also – Opening of a bistro, short circuits …: how a village in the Alpes-Maritimes knew how to reinvent itself (03/09/2020)


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