About this good practice
Social and solidarity grocery stores play a key role in territorial food systems and participate in the ecological and solidarity transition initiatives of their territory. Two social and solidarity grocery stores – Epi’Cerise in Vesoul and Au Caddy Fleury in Tournus – have embarked on an experimental approach to improve accessibility for all to quality food.
This experiment was supported by “Active Pôle de l'économie solidaire” throughout the process. Individual and collective working groups were put in place, with the accessibility for all to quality food as common thread, taking more specifically into account people in precarious situations.
The key steps of the experiment were the following:
• Both grocery stores carried out a shared diagnosis of their organization, from supply to support to their customers, with a focus on ecological transition. Interviews and workshops were led at the same time to further understand beneficiaries’ needs. This diagnosis enabled the stores to better identify their assets regarding ecological transition and develop progress axes.
• About 20 working groups were then set up, boosting the emerging of new activities.
• Experimenting new actions: several actions were then tested: setting up a local producer’s market, creating an organic vegetable garden for integration, creating an activity center, making fruit juices, workshops for manufacturing household products, setting up compost, creating a sales area dedicated to bulk….
This experiment was supported by several state services in the region: the Regional Department for the Environment, Planning and Housing, the Regional Department for Food, Agriculture and Forest and the Regional Directorate for the Economy, Employment, Labor and Solidarity, the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Region and the Maison Colin Seguin Foundation.
• Three employees from Active involved in the project
• Froups of project holders within social and solidarity grocery stores
• About forty actors mobilized within the two grocery stores: employees, volunteers, administrators, beneficiaries.
• Approximately €55,000 annual budget.
Evidence of success
The two social and solidarity grocery stores have developed numerous actions to boost socio-ecological transition. As an example, the “End of the season campaign”, launched in 2021, helped increase the supply of fresh products through donations.
Main other results: consolidation of their economic models and territorial anchoring, diversification of their activities. Reduction of bio-waste by setting up bio-waste composting, establishment of a back-to-work organic vegetable garden, etc.
Potential for learning or transfer
The success of this experiment mostly relied on the following strengths:
- the commitment of directors and presidents of social and solidarity grocery stores, and their ability to take risks to move towards innovative models
- the mobilization of sufficient funding to carry out and sustain the experiment
- the establishment of trust-based work environment
- the valuation of the learning and transfer potential of the experiment: a film relating the process is also available online.
This experience is transferable. The method used and its results are described in a booklet accessible to all social and solidarity grocery stores wishing to engage in a process of socio-ecological transition and circular economy (see external website).