The First Carrefour des PAT: uniting stakeholders for sustainable food systems

July 20, 2023

The association Terres en villes and the French Chambers of Agriculture jointly organised the inaugural Carrefour des PAT (Projets Alimentaires Territoriaux or territorial food projects) on Friday, 30 June 2023, in Paris.

The event brought together nearly 300 stakeholders from various sectors, including local authorities, agricultural professionals, food economy players, researchers, educators, consulting firms and government services. The objective of the Carrefour des PAT was to foster collaboration and knowledge-sharing among these stakeholders to drive agricultural, food and environmental transitions on a local level.

Exploring the ambitions of the PAT Initiative

PATs are voluntary local initiatives designed to bring together different actors within a territory to organise agricultural, food and environmental transitions. The enthusiasm surrounding this territorial initiative reflects the growing recognition of its importance. To facilitate and coordinate this dynamic, the Climate and Resilience Law (2021) introduced the creation of a national network for PATs. The network has three primary missions: monitoring the deployment of PATs, disseminating best practices, and developing methodological tools to support local authorities.

Highlights of the first Carrefour des PAT

The event featured engaging discussions between local elected officials and ministry representatives, as well as presentations of experiences from PAT stakeholders and project leaders. Additionally, studies were shared, and methodological tools were presented to illustrate the three key missions of the national PAT network. The event received sponsorship from the French Ministry of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty and was conducted in partnership with ADEME (The French Agency for Ecological Transition).

Support from key figures

Marc Fesneau, the French Minister of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty, expressed appreciation for the collective momentum given to PATs in recent years. He emphasised the significance and attention placed on local food systems as a crucial driver for the food and ecological transition. The organisation of the first Carrefour des PAT marks an important milestone, highlighting the dynamic nature of this approach. Fesneau expressed the wish for PATs to continue their on their path and expand throughout all territories.

Sébastien Windsor, President of the French Chambers of Agriculture, noted that this event opens up promising prospects for the future. The network of chambers of agriculture is fully committed to supporting and promoting PATs, which align with public policies promoting food sovereignty and ecological planning. Windsor emphasised the importance of state and regional support for these initiatives.

François Beaupère and Laurent Duval, co-presidents of Terres en villes, highlighted the inclusive nature of PATs, bringing together farmers, citizens, local authorities and other stakeholders. They emphasised that these initiatives demonstrate the possibility of ecological planning when time is dedicated to co-construction. Recognising the value of this method, they stressed the need to support the dynamic nature of PATs.

Jérôme Mousset, Director of Bioeconomy and Renewable Energy at ADEME, underlined that PATs create an essential dynamic for guiding territorial food systems toward more sustainable practices. By connecting stakeholders throughout the entire food chain, from upstream to downstream, and re-establishing links between agricultural production and consumption, PATs contribute to the social, health and environmental dimensions of sustainable food systems. Mousset emphasised the catalytic role of PATs in local dynamics and the need for continued support to ensure their operational success.

The first Carrefour des PAT served as a pivotal moment for uniting stakeholders invested in sustainable food systems. The event showcased the commitment and enthusiasm surrounding the PAT initiative in France, demonstrating its potential as a powerful driver of agricultural, food and environmental transitions.

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