Name of organisation
MIRAMAP Accessibility Working Group
Chantier Accessibilite Alimentaire
Type of organisation
Community-supported agriculture network
“short food supply chains”; “civic food networks”; “social justice”
Who is the “Accessibility Working Group”?
The heart of this working group is to make the AMAP more accessible to people who are socially and ideologically far from local peasant agro-ecology networks.
This working group brings together volunteers and paid staff from various local AMAP networks. Its mission is to strengthen the skills of AMAP movement members to act more strongly in the fight against food insecurity and for access for all to food produced according to peasant agro-ecology principles. The goal is to capitalize on initiatives and practices and to share knowledge, know-how and skills via webinars, exchange days and via a participatory action-research conducted in 2022.
In 2020, the General Assembly of the MIRAMAP gave mandate to the Accessibility working group (hereafter WG) to work on the topic and to regularly share its progress with the MIRAMAP Board of Directors (Collectif). On some subjects, the WG relies on other MIRAMAP bodies such as the ‘bureau’ and the ‘financial management’ commission. Meeting minutes are available online in a shared folder. The WG produces a summary of its activities and perspectives for the annual activity report and shares it at the General Assembly.
Who does the “Accessibility Working Group” work with and how do they do it?
The Accessibility Working Group is cooperating with other organisations at different levels. At local level, MIRAMAP members (AMAP groups and local AMAP networks) are building partnerships with local public or private social structures, including community centers, local family allowance funds, local authorities, anti-poverty organisations and alternative agriculture partners also engaged in the fight against food insecurity. At national level, the MIRAMAP is a member of the Collectif pour une Sécurité Sociale de l’Alimentation (SSA), the collective for a Social Security for Food (https://securite-sociale-alimentation.org/).
At the level of the MIRAMAP, an agreement has been found with the Ministry of Social Cohesion within the framework of our research-action and spin-off programme: the network is now receiving subsidies from this Ministry for its two year-programme on accessibility.
The majority of anti-poverty organisations still support the food donation system (food banks and charities), whereas we MIRAMAP are trying to build sustainable alternatives to this system! This is a major challenge to collaboration. For example, the idea to fight food waste by giving left-overs to the people in a situation of poverty can be questioned. Why don’t we havearen’t there national political strategies to really fight against poverty and enable access to chosen food to everyone? And why are the majority of farmers still subjected to this food production system?
With alternative food systems partners, we MIRAMAP call this kind of food “gift” a “food violence” (“Violence Alimentaire”, cf Bénédicte Bonzi PhD thesis). Even if it Whilst this can may be necessary in emergency situations (of course we don’t want people to starve), it is far away from food democracy, all the more that it has now become structural and not conjunctural anymore. Issues related to food donation (food banks and charities) are described in the following webinar series report.
What could be done: the AMAP model should be better understood by social partners (local public or private social structures, including community centers, local family allowance funds, anti-poverty organizations) and should receive more institutional support. The challenges of helping citizens in a situation of poverty to really settle down by improving their income, accommodation, social issues… should also be part of the objectives of those involved in the fight against poverty. But there is still a long way to go!
The initiative is closely linked to territorial food systems: in the AMAP and AMAP networks, the programs to support the development of ‘two-way solidarity’ baskets are sometimes partly supported by public funding and are part of local, territorial or national policies that aim to develop accessibility to quality food.
The WG developed a series of 8 webinars to foster exchanges between practitioners, combined with a major input from Food Justice experts (see links to the recorded webinars below). This way, we have tackled the following main topics while discussing with potential partner networks.
What are the “Accessibility Working Group's” main challenges?
A major challenge is the time needed to raise awareness among local social partners about peasant agriculture and the AMAP system. It is not enough any more to talk with social partners to explain our point of view regarding the gap between “access to food” and “access to quality and chosen food” for everyone. We have to create close and long-time relationships to learn from them and for them to learn from us, and only then we can truly cooperate towards food democracy.
The WG is working on the AMAP movement’s weaknesses and the obstacles to the development of accessibility initiatives in AMAP partnerships. The main obstacle seems to be the ability to collectively reexamine our alternative initiatives in order to get out of the inner circle of militants, without losing our principles.
What are the priorities for the “Accessibility Working Group”?
The WG tries to take into account the different financial capacities and agency of consumers, in particular by reexamining the way AMAP members and producers act and the way they talk (militant jargon). The goal is to make sure AMAP partnerships more inclusive and welcoming to all, including the so-called precarious public.
The following key points were addressed during a self-reflection process within the network:
- Conditions for the emergence of accessibility initiatives: from idea to action
- Conditions for the sustainability of food accessibility initiatives in the AMAP: the social, economic, legal and fiscal models of these initiatives
- Methods, practices and tools for raising awareness and training farmers and AMAP members in the implementation of their projects
Based on this self-reflection, the following top priority actions were decided:
Action 1 – Study of existing initiatives and lessons learned: from a collective analysis day to a collective synthesis day (December 2021-May 2022)
Action 2 – Creation of the training kit: 1st day of training of trainers; Writing the various teaching aids and setting up the training; 2 days of collective work accompanied by a graphic designer
Action 3 – Training, dissemination of resources and support for AMAP groups in various regions; online training; deployment of training in various territories; Dissemination of materials; Feedback seminar
What are the key resources to learn more about it?
The working group organised a series of 8 webinars on Accessibility and Amap / CSA. You can watch the replay using the links below:
Web-RDV #1 : Se nourrir quand on est pauvre ? / Feeding yourself when you are poor
Web-RDV #2 : Faisons le point sur les grandes notions / Let’s take a look at the main concepts
Web-RDV #3 : Sortir des logiques du don ? / Getting out of the donation logic
Web-RDV #4 : Les paysan⸱nes dans l’accessibilité / Farmers’ perspective on accessibility
Web-RDV #5 : La participation de tous et de toutes aux projets de lutte contre précarité alimentaire / The participation of all in projects to combat food insecurity
Web-RDV #6 : Comment agir collectivement dans un territoire / How to act collectively in a territory ?
Web-RDV #7 : Coopération entre associations – quelles alliances vertueuses ? / Cooperation between associations – what fertile alliances?
Web-RDV #8 : Parlons chiffres – qui finance la solidarité alimentaire ? / Let’s talk figures – who funds food solidarity?