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"Ici.C.Local", an organisational and social innovation for sustainable food systems

"Ici.C.Local" (here, it's local) is an innovative system which indicates that products are being distributed via short distribution channels to retail outlets and associates the actors involved in such channels in its management. This work has revealed the mechanisms underlying social innovation and has studied how and under which conditions short distribution channels can favour more sustainable food systems.

Marché circuit court de Grabels. © INRA, Yuna Chiffoleau
By Eric Mignard
Updated on 12/19/2017
Published on 01/09/2015

Short food distribution channels which bring producers and consumers closer together are no longer a niche activity and form part of agricultural and consumption dynamics. Ici.C.Local is a collective brand that allows consumers to identify products available via short and local distribution channels in their markets and shops, and also encourages partnerships between producers and local retailers.  Associated with decentralised and participative monitoring, the brand also commits local actors to defining their priorities with respect to sustainable agriculture.  An opportunity for firms to facilitate and valorise their involvement in the transition towards more sustainable food systems.


Short food distribution channels: growth and new challenges

One in five farmers now sells part of their production via short distribution channels.  Defined and supported by the French government since 2009, these channels represent more than twenty different selling methods, and are used by  42% of the French;  furthermore, new consumers no longer mainly come from higher social categories.  They nevertheless require more information and guarantees in a context of an increasing number of initiatives.  On their side, retailers and artisans still receive little recognition when they make a commitment to local agriculture.


Ici.C.Local: a simple response based on participation

To respond to the demands of consumers and retailers, since 2010 INRA and the town of Grabels (situated to the north of Montpellier) have been experimenting in the town's market with a coloured labelling system which indicates to consumers whether a product originates from the seller in front of him (green), whether it has been purchased directly in the region from a producer known personally to the seller (orange) or whether it comes from further away (mauve).  Green and orange products must also comply with certain sustainability criteria, defined at a local level.  As a reflection of cooperation between producers and retailers, orange labelling can restore the reputation of reselling.  This initiative is monitored by a territorial committee made up of representatives of sellers, the authorities and consumers.


Just another brand?

The interest aroused by this experiment, and the need to test it at other sites, encouraged INRA and Grabels to protect the initiative in 2014 under the name "Ici.C.Local": Innovation for Cooperation and Information in local supply channels.  The Ici.C.Local brand can be used free of charge by any producer or retailer involved in short distribution channels and sustainable agriculture, while at the same time it enhances the complementarity between different channels and types of agriculture. Compatible and complementary with existing brands, its originality resides in the involvement of licensed firms in a participating locally-based initiative.  The experiment has now been broadened to include processed products where a lack of transparency remains a concern.

Scientific contact(s):

Associated Division(s):
Science for Action and Development
Associated Centre(s):

Ici.C.Local - Innovation pour la coopération et l'information en circuit local

Une marque collective et un règlement d'usage

Marque figurative Ici.C.Local. © INRA
Marque figurative Ici.C.Local © INRA
Le système combinant charte, étiquetage et gestion collégiale, a été déposé à l’Inpi (Institut national de la propriété industrielle) en mars 2014. L'ensemble est la première marque collective de l’Inra, c'est-à-dire qu'elle peut être exploitée par toute personne qui s'engage à respecter les critères définis dans le règlement d'usage. La marque est copropriété de l'Inra et de la ville de Grabels et son utilisation est gratuite. Il ne s’agit pas d’une marque commerciale qui viserait à concurrencer les marques existantes, mais d’un dispositif valorisant une gestion transparente, participative et relocalisée du lien production-alimentation.
Présenté au Salon de l’Agriculture en 2014 sur le stand de l’Inra, le système et les hypothèses sous-jacentes nourrissent à la fois des actions de développement dans le cadre d’un programme Casdar (développement agricole et rural), les fronts de recherche sur l’innovation sociale et sur la durabilité des systèmes alimentaires, ainsi que des réflexions au service de la décision publique, de l’échelle locale à l’échelle européenne.

Voir aussi la page "Marchés circuits courts" sur le site web de la Ville de Grabels

En savoir plus

  • Le marché "circuit court" de Grabels. Entretien avec Yuna Chiffoleau, sociologue, chargée de recherche à l'Institut national de la recherche agronomique (Inra) et en charge du projet "marché circuit court". Propos recueillis par Céline Mouzon. Alternatives Economiques Poche, n° 68, Consommer autrement, mai 2014 
  • Chiffoleau Y., Dalmais M., Divet J.P., 2013. Signaler et garantir l’origine des produits dans les circuits courts alimentaires : l’expérience du marché de Grabels, Projet PSDR Coxinel, Languedoc-Roussillon, Série Les Focus PSDR3. 8 p.
  • Chiffoleau Y., Prévost B., 2012. Les circuits courts, des innovations sociales pour une alimentation durable dans les territoires. Norois, 2012/3 (224), 7-20. Sur Cairn.info
  • Yuna Chiffoleau, 2012. Circuits courts alimentaires, dynamiques relationnelles et lutte contre l’exclusion en agriculture. Economie rurale, n°332, 88-101 Sur Cairn.info