In Toulon, this converted truck transforms unsold fruit and vegetables to avoid food waste

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 figure reached.

June corresponds to the birth of their mobile cannery. A truck fitted out as a kitchen which makes it possible to transform the surplus production of farmers into jars. An approach almost unique in France.

Within a radius of 50km around La Garde where the vehicle spends its nights, the two founders of L’Économe, accompanied by Valentina, the structure’s chef, are fighting against food waste.

How it works?

“We go to meet the producers by going directly to their homes”, explains Julia. On site, the two young women collect unsold items to make jams, soups or even spreads. “We try to be creative, Faustina continues. Recently, we developed a sweet potato hummus for example… The idea is to highlight the local product.”

Who participates?

Today, around thirty producers regularly host the mobile cannery. “We are very happy. Word of mouth works well in the world of agriculture.”

It must be said that producers have everything to gain from this. They optimize their harvests and thus avoid having to dispose of the fruit of their labor. “Farmers pay us to come to them to produce jars. Afterwards, it’s up to them to market them.”

The other activity of the Bursar, the donation of food to associations (Food Bank of the Var, Secours populaire, etc.), also allows operators to make tax exemptions.

At the other end of the chain, with consumers, the success of the jars made in 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 jars?

The fruits and vegetables processed by the association are sold on the farms or on the 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 rather a system of click & collect through our website”, explains Faustine. This should be effective within the year.

Know +

You can find the Econome on the markets of Garéoult (Tuesdays) and Solliès-Pont (Wednesdays). The association also carries out numerous operations to raise awareness of food waste in schools or during demonstrations.


Winner of France Relance

To make its mobile cannery project a reality, the association L’Économe received help. Especially by the state.

In 2020, Faustine Bochu and Julie Hermet received 20,000 euros as part of the national strategy for preventing and combating poverty.

The following year rebelote. The state pulls out its checkbook. The two young women are selected as part of the call for “local and solidarity food” projects of the France Relance plan, led by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. 30,000 euros up for grabs.

726 million euros for the Var

This money allowed us to equip our truck. To make it a real laboratory kitchen with a steam oven, a professional pot…“, explains Julie Hermet.

Beyond the economic support for companies, it is clear that this plan has made it possible to boost some of them. The Bursar is an example of this.“, adds Evence Richard, the prefect.

In the Var, this famous France Relance plan has so far amounted to 726 million euros.

For Ferdinand Vlaar, producer at the Serre du Plan in La Garde, “there is a real economic interest”

Ferdinand Vlaar and his wife Alexandra are at the head of the Serre du Plan in La Garde. They grow strawberries there, as well as shiitakes and aromatic plants. For the past few 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 have discussed. They told me about their activity and I made them come to the farm.

What interest do you find there?
Beyond the fact of not wasting, there is a real economic interest. My strawberries, once picked, have a limited lifespan. If I don’t sell them, what do I do with them? The Bursar brings me this solution. I add value to my production by selling jars of jam.

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.

For you, are these new products to market?
Exactly! We optimize like that. I work a lot with restaurateurs, pastry chefs, 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 clients would be takers.

Does this have an impact on your way of working?
It’s true that as a result, it’s easier to downgrade certain less “perfect” strawberries since we know we’ll be able to do something with them. We therefore 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.

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