Les Petits Producteurs – a successful food co-operative in Liege area
Rural topic(s): Local food Chains
Type: Success story
Date of writing: December 14, 2020
Organization(s): CATL (Ceinture aliment-terre liégeoise), Les petits producteurs
La Ceinture Aliment-Terre Liégeoise (CATL) or “The Lièges Earth-Food Belt” brings together and cross-fertilises food co-operatives with a social agenda in the Belgian city of Liège. It is a radical plan to mobilise the people of Liège in the creation of short, ecological food chains and a sustainable food supply for the region.
Antoine Lejeune shared with us the story of how Les Petits Producteurs – a co-operative under the CATL umbrella – was founded in 2017 with the view to generating demand for sustainable and organic food in order to help foster that type of production.
Today, Les Petits Producteurs has four shops selling local and/or organic produce in the Liège area, an annual turnover of more than 3.5 million euro and provides 21 permanent jobs. The cooperative provides strong support to local producers.
Les Petits Producteurs keeps costs down through a number of key principles including a “one product for one need” mode of operation and minimising intermediaries in the value chain. This helps ensure that as much value as possible goes back to the producer (while paying employees a decent wage).
And the work of Les Petits Producteurs does not end there. In dialogue with local authorities and with the support of Ceinture Aliment-Terre Liégeoise, Les Petits Producteurs has established Cre@te Farm to support two young vegetable crop producers in setting up their own enterprise.
The project secured a long-term lease on unused land owned by the city, overcoming the access issues that many young producers face. Additionally, Les Petits Producteurs provides free financing to the cultivators, takes care of commercialisation elements of the enterprise and offers part-time employment during the winter months. Acting as an incubator, but not a controlling entity, Les Petits Producteurs gives the producers the freedom to progress the project as they please.
This is an inspiring approach to the sustainable cultivation of unused publicly owned land. Antoine noted that other cities have been in touch with them to enquire about the application of Cre@te Farm.
Extract from ARC2020’s article: www.arc2020.eu/regional-rural-responses-reimagined/
« Local Food – Reimagining Regional Responses was about sharing the ideas of innovative communities that are experimenting with ways to shorten, amplify and democratise food supply chains with a view to exploring how such approaches might be replicated, scaled up and scaled across.
Pioneering initiatives, impressive in size and ambition, ethos and impact joined us: Peri-urban Oosterwold, DESIRA, the Redon Sustainable Food Consortium, La Ceinture Aliment-Terre Liégeoise and Cloughjordan Community Farm. Equally noteworthy were the 100+ participants who tuned in generously to share knowledge, inspiration and food for thought, continuing the quest to re-imagine our regional responses for a better food system. »
Ceinture Aliment-Terre Liégeoise (CATL):www.catl.be
Les Petits Producteurs: lespetitsproducteurs.be
Scale of intervention : Regional
Keywords: food souvereignty, short food chain, local supply chain, organic farming, farmer’s shop, direct selling, social and solidarity economy
Actors: cooperative, farmer, producer, citizen, consumer