Between July 28th and August 3rd, 25 participants discussed topics as food provision, urban agriculture, eatable landscapes, cooking education, gardening experiences and efficient waste management, at the Eating City Summer Camp in France. They were inspired by lively discussions around the meal tables, by the cooking skills of the French chef, the delicious homemade bread and the sweet cherries handpicked from the farm trees.
Eating City International Platform
The young people represented 25 European countries at the Bergerie de Villarceux, France. The event was organized by the Eating City international platform, a project of Risteco, (an organization which started as the environmental branch of a public catering company),and it gathers people from organizations as diverse as the Terre Citoyenne Alliance, the independent agricultural think tank Groupe de Bruges and the Slow Food Movement.
From food logistics and procurement to plankton and religion
The structure of the meeting had a mix of formal and informal styles, with lectures, working groups and participating in baking and cooking activities. Lectures were given by experts in the most diverse aspects of the food system: Logistics, Fishing certification, Public Food Procurement, Local Food Marketing, and Youth Food Movements in Europe.
There were also speakers introducing less obvious topics: the nutritious potential of plankton as a widespread food; and the connections between food, culture and religion.
The perfect setting: the Bergerie de Villarceux
It is not by chance that the meeting took place at the Bergerie. The Bergerie consists of 600 hectares that were part of an old property of the Marquis de Villarceux. Part of that property still hosts the castle and gardens of Villarceux and is administered by the regional authorities of Ile de France. The part of the Bergerie was turned into an Ecocenter and a biological farm, hosting hundreds of animals, and producing cereals and lentils, among other things. The Bergerie has been committed to a process of ecological and social transition for more than 20 years.
With participants that are fascinated and appreciators of good food it is no wonder that baking the daily bread together with the baker, and helping the chef preparing the meals, were some of the most popular parts of the program. The food was, needless to say, prepared using always biological local ingredients, including meat and lentils from the farm.
Declaration of Villarceux
The meeting resulted in the Declaration of Villarceux, elaborated and signed by all participants. In September the Declaration of Villarceux will be widespread through the Eating City platform and the participants’ networks throughout Europe.