Blois, a Town of Sustainable Nutrition

Above and beyond its renown as the historic cradle of Poulain chocolate, Blois is a land of gastronomy striving for better nutrition in schools, in markets and by promoting organic food, short commercial circuits and a wide range of positive initiatives.

Land of Gastronomy

  •  Cradle of Poulain chocolate
  •  Five Michelin-starred restaurants
  • Four “designation of origin” (AOC) wines (Cheverny, Cour-Cheverny, Touraine and Touraine-Mesland)
  • Two “designation of origin” (AOC) goat (Selles-sur-Cher and Sainte-Maure)
  • Two local dishes

Nutrition as an Educational Imperative

The town’s contribution to improved nutrition begins in schools, where its food service delivers 450,000 meals a year. The mission statement requested by the town stipulates, among other exigencies:

  • 72% of sustainable products (local, organic or labeled)
  • Green vegetables and soups prepared on site, from local, fresh or in-season products
  • 100% fresh raw foods
  • Suitably ripe fruits when they are consumed
  • 100% organic pasta
  • Bread produced by Blois-based artisan bakers
  • Meat of French origin
  • “Red label” poultry
  • Zero waste recipes
  • Combat against food wastefulness

As regards children’s health (a key priority), the town painstakingly draws up balanced and diversified menus, which are validated by a commission including parents, a dietitian and a person representing the company preparing the meals.

The meals are prepared in the town’s central kitchen by Api restauration, the company chosen following a public procurement procedure. The same company is tasked with delivering meals and snacks to school canteens and recreation centers. It will soon be provisioning the seven local “early childhood” structures.

Several eating areas function as “self-service growth” facilities. They provide children with wider choices, empowering and sensitizing them as early as possible to the importance of a healthy balanced diet.

The fight against food wastefulness is launched through the preparation of meals by fully trained staff and use of a guide for proper portions and “zero waste”. Tray and trolley clearing are scrupulously attended to (sorting tables, waste weighing, sensitization, etc.). Unsold nourishment is entrusted to the people’s aid (Secours Populaire) of Blois. Last but not least, thanks to optimal enrollment management, from 800 to 1,000 meals that used to be thrown out are now economized.

The Organic Market

Organic food is increasingly popular, and its promotion by Blois favors health and the environment. Among its six markets, a once-a-week market initiated by the town is exclusively dedicated to organic food (place Rol-Tanguy, Friday evenings).

The organic market hosts twenty stands showcasing numerous regional products (bread, wine, vegetables, flour, oils, tea, jams, eggs, coffee, chocolate, hygiene and cosmetics products, etc.).

Urban Agriculture

Municipally Assisted Organic Market Gardening

In 2013, plots of land in the Vienne neighborhood of Blois were set aside for market gardening. Since that time, the 9-acre La Vacquerie site has hosted a horticulturist, and she is not the only resident market gardener.

Les Métairies (Tenant Farms), or the Art of Eating Well

Near the Saint-Michel bridge, the Métairies is an eco-district in the Vienne neighborhood. Its 7 acres are devoted to the art of eating well, with shared gardens, educational workshops and festive events. The project is the brainchild of a collective composed of six Blois residents, lovers of the earth and the land, who wish to help people to recover sovereignty over what they eat and, one day, where they dwell.

Garden of Plenty (Jardin de Cocagne)

The Garden of Plenty is a 9,000 m² vegetable farm in the Vienne neighborhood of Blois producing organic vegetables and having them marketed in short commercial circuits. Production is organized without pesticides or chemically synthesized fertilizers and is subsequently locally distributed (weekly food baskets, direct selling, organic market, marketing to restaurants, etc.). The Garden also welcomes numerous persons in socio-professional integration and/or sustainable employment.

Shared gardens

In addition to the Métairies, Blois accommodates shared gardens across its different neighborhoods.

Horticulture High School and Agriculture vocational school (CFA)

The lycée and the apprenticeship training center provide training for professions associated with agriculture (gardening, plant production, landscaping, research and development, etc.) from pre-baccalaureate (CAP) to post-baccalaureate (BTS) levels.

They are equipped with state-of-the-art greenhouses and spaces converted to organic agriculture for the purposes of forming young people who will help to define future food habits.