“Yesx tons of fruits and vegetables have been saved since last June.” Julie Hermet and Faustine Bochu at the head of l’Économe are very proud of the number achieved.
June corresponds to the birth of your mobile cannery. A truck equipped as a kitchen that allows farmers to transform surplus production into pots. An almost unique approach in France.
In a 50 km radius around La Garde, where the vehicle spends its nights, the two founders of L’Économe, accompanied by Valentina, the structure’s chef, fight against food waste.
How it works?
“We go to meet the producers going straight to their homes”, explains Julia. There, the two young women collect unsold items to make jams, soups or even spreads. “We try to be creative, Faustina continues. We recently developed a sweet potato hummus for example… The idea is to highlight the local product.”
Today, around thirty producers regularly host the mobile cannery. “We are very happy. Word of mouth works well in the farming world.”
It must be said that the producers have everything to gain from this. They optimize their harvests and thus avoid having to part with the fruits of their labor. “Farmers pay us to go to them to produce the pots. Then it’s up to them to market them.”
The treasurer’s other activity, the donation of food to associations (Banco de Alimentos do Var, Secours populaire, etc.), also allows operators to make tax exemptions.
At the other end of the chain, with consumers, the success of pots made at L’Économe is also part of the game. “There is a real enthusiasm for local consumption and sustainable products”plus silk Julie.
Where to find the pots?
The fruits and vegetables processed by the association are sold on farms or in markets by the producers.
L’Économe also sells it. In particular in partner grocery stores in La Farlède, Ollioules or even Pierrefeu.
Next step: internet sales. “We will not make a shipment, but a system of click and collect through our website”, explains Faustina. This should be effective within the year.
You can find Econome in the markets of Garéoult (Tuesdays) and Solliès-Pont (Wednesdays). The association also carries out numerous actions to raise awareness of food waste in schools or during demonstrations.
France Winner Glance
To make the mobile canned food project a reality, the association L’Économe received help. Mainly by the state.
In 2020, Faustine Bochu and Julie Hermet received 20,000 euros as part of the national strategy to prevent and fight poverty.
The following year he rebelled. The state pulls out its checkbook. The two young women are selected as part of the call for “local and solidarity food” projects under the France Relance plan, led by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. 30,000 euros at stake.
726 million euros for Var
“That money allowed us to equip our truck. To make it a real laboratory kitchen with a steam oven, a professional pot…“, explains Julie Hermet.
“In addition to providing economic support to companies, it is clear that this plan made it possible to boost some of them. The treasurer is an example of this.“, adds Evence Richard, the mayor.
In Var, this famous plan by France Relance has so far totaled €726 million.
For Ferdinand Vlaar, producer at Serre du Plan in La Garde, “there is a real economic interest”
Ferdinand Vlaar and his wife Alexandra are at the helm of Serre du Plan in La Garde. They grow strawberries there, as well as shitakes and herbs. In recent weeks, the couple has been collaborating with L’Économe.
How did you find out about the association?
In a market! Our stands were next door. We fought. They told me about their activity and I made them come to the farm.
What interest do you find there?
In addition to not wasting, there is a real economic interest. My strawberries, once picked, have a limited shelf life. If I don’t sell them, what do I do with them? The Treasurer brings me this solution. I add value to my production by selling jam jars.
What is the result of your most recent collaboration?
In just a few days, 600 jars of jams were made. In concrete terms, this means 120 kg of strawberries saved. We donated 50 to the food bank.
Are these products new to the market for you?
Exactly! We optimize like this. I work a lot with restaurant owners, confectioners, they are also very interested in this type of product. I also asked Julie and Faustine if it would be possible to make strawberry syrup. My customers would be buyers.
Does this have an impact on the way you work?
It is true that, as a result, it is easier to downgrade certain less “perfect” strawberries, as we know that we will be able to do something with them. Thus, we increase the quality of our trays.
On the farm, located at 5 chemin du Néoulier in La Garde, strawberry jams are sold for 5 euros per 220 gram jar.