Contact : Camille Rosa, co-founder with Wilfried Lamy
Location: Perpignan, France
Sector : Transformation, Sales & Services
Date of creation : April 2018
Date of analysis : June 2020
Maturity of the project : The association was created in April 2018. Since then, the organization is mature with 3 employees for the canteen and 8 volunteers running the college. The canteen has completed its launch phase, has reached its cruising speed but still has plans for the future.
Camille Rosa is at the base of the project. After a time of maturation and construction of the idea, she was joined by Wilfried Lamy to initiate the Miam Collectif.
Camille did not start her professional training in the restaurant business. She followed a training in the audio-visual field which led her to a position of communication manager in the association Justice Prison (assistance to prisoners). When she wanted a more manual job, she left her association to do a CAP in cooking, which she liked very much. In the idea, she did not see herself opening a catering business but rather a solidarity structure.
In order to gain experience in the field of self-managed alternative catering, Camille followed a one-week internship at the Cantine des Pyrénées (Paris 20th), an associative and solidarity canteen that works on voluntary work, self-management, recovery of unsold items and free meals. In the same way, Camille also joined a self-managed café during a training course and then the canteen of La casa consolat (Marseille), located in a cultural place and based on the recovery of meat, fish, etc. to offer solidarity meals at a range of prices.
These different experiences allowed Camille to better understand how solidarity catering works. The goal is to eventually create her own project, based on a viable economic model, where she could be remunerated while offering healthy, quality food that is accessible to all.
Camille had the chance to meet Wilfried and cook with him at his workplace at the time. As Wilfried’s contract was coming to an end, the latter, convinced by the solidarity catering project, decided to join Camille. This is how the Miam Collectif, an association whose objective is to propose a healthy culinary offer open to the largest number of people, was born in April 2018, only a few months after their meeting.
The Miam Collectif started its activity by catering in a mobile truck on festivals, in camps on degrowth etc.. These experiences in complex situations allowed Camille and Wilfried to train and test their limits before a more stable installation.
At the end of summer 2018, Camille being 6 months pregnant and Wilfried having to complete his CAP cuisine until the end of the first half of 2019, the activity of Miam took a break. Camille and Wilfried took the opportunity to complete grant applications that would help them build the project suite.
Camille wanted to settle in the south where she comes from, so the Miam Collectif was established in Perpignan, the city where Wilfried has been living for more than 15 years. They wish to impel there a real dynamic in the center. To date the main project of the Miam Collectif is the canteen but the goal of the association is to eventually bring other solidarity projects.
From spring 2018, they have been looking for premises in Perpignan. Because of the real estate speculation in the center, it was however very difficult to find affordable premises. They finally turned to a mutualization of the space of the bar L’atmosphère. Thus the canteen of Miam was able to settle in December 2019 on the place Rigaud in Perpignan.
Finding suppliers of unsold fruit and vegetables from organic farming was also not a small matter.
The first option considered was the recovery of unsold products from the wholesaler AlterBio. Small element of context: Perpignan is a big crossroads of fruits and vegetables, the city being located at the Spanish border and in a market gardening region. Many wholesalers are located in St Charles International, the first European platform for marketing, transport and logistics of fruit and vegetables in Europe. Alterbio’s unsold produce passes through the Phenix association, which only redistributes to recognized associations of general interest. The Miam Collectif, although being of general interest, did not have this status, not having formalized it at the creation of the association. The association could not thus benefit from this advantageous partnership.
Another way was possible, that of the association “Les Sentiers”, which collects unsold items from Alterbio, and sells them in the form of baskets of fruit and vegetables for 5€.
The final option, chosen for the opening of the canteen, was the recovery of unsold items from one of the Biocoop of Perpignan, whose doors were wide open by the new manager at the time. Biocoop was preferred to the other options, the fruits and vegetables recovered being free and of a higher quality than the simple organic label, because they are mostly seasonal and rather of French origin. They then found another weekly source of supply via the O’PRÉS producers’ store.
From a financial point of view, the installation of the canteen – notably material – was subsidized by the Occitania Region via the call for projects “Let’s develop the circular economy and the fight against food waste”. The Miam Collectif was awarded Pyrénées Orientales and received more than 15 000€ in subsidies.
We met Camille and Wilfried in June 2020, since our departure, the team has grown to include a third employee and a freelance volunteer.
Lia Forcioli-Conti, trained at Ferrandi in Paris, worked in several star kitchens before joining the Miam Collectif. Tired of the noxious atmosphere that reigned in this demanding catering sector, she was seduced by the relaxed and militant atmosphere of the Miam when she volunteered to cook there during the first confinement. In July, she became the third employee of the shock team, freeing up hours for Camille and Wilfried and making it possible for the canteen to open on Saturday lunchtime.
Charlotte Darnal, a seasoned Miam volunteer, is now also an integral part of the team, using her management skills (administration, accounting) and her attraction to networking and fundraising.
– 50kg of unsold fruits and vegetables recovered each week, 70% of which are valorized in the kitchen.
– 3 employees and 30 volunteers
– 25 place settings at free price (recommended price: 7€) every noon from Tuesday to Saturday
– 30% of the people taken in are in a precarious situation.
Recovery of unsold fruits and vegetables from a Biocoop twice a week and from an organic grocery store once a week to valorize them in the kitchen.
Unsold specifically selected organic and the rest to the maximum local and organic also.
The Miam Collectif is an association with about thirty active volunteers (mainly residents of the neighborhood), including 8 who are part of the college leading the structure. Camille and Wilfried are not part of it, having withdrawn from the college when they became employees of the Miam canteen.
The first flagship project of the Miam Collectif, carried by Camille and Wilfried, is the solidarity canteen. It is a warm place that offers vegetarian menus at free prices from Tuesday to Saturday lunchtime in the bar l’Atmosphère on the Place Rigaud in Perpignan.
It is a unique menu (starter-dish-dessert), of quality, varying every day according to the unsold items recovered during the week. The menu is at free price (with however a recommended price of 7€ to balance the cost of the meal and the charges).
Every lunchtime, thanks to the help of at least 1 volunteer, the canteen restores about thirty people. The clientele is varied, between friends and local residents, with about 30% of the people welcomed in a precarious financial situation.
The canteen welcomes many regulars but since the opening it has had more than 300 new members to the association (each new client must join the association for 10€ for one year to benefit from the meals – price exempt for people in a precarious situation).
Three times a week, the association collects unsold organic fruit and vegetables from nearby stores. Two collections are made at the Biocoop, on Monday and Wednesday, and the last one is also made on Wednesday at a store of O’PRÉS producers. The nature of the unsold produce varies every week and in every season.
Camille, Wilfried and Lia each take care of a recovery, they are generally satisfied with what they are given, despite a lack of variety in the off-season (in April-May it is almost only leaf vegetables for example).
Every week, 50kg of unsold goods are sorted, prepared and cooked for the canteen. Counting the losses (damaged parts, peelings etc.), 70% of the fruits and vegetables are saved and consumed by the customers of Miam.
During the first confinement, the Miam Collectif organized the distribution of free meals and hygiene kits every Saturday. The solidarity initiative thus benefited more than 100 people in a precarious situation every week.
During the second confinement, the canteen was reorganized to offer takeaway meals. It also offered vulnerable people the opportunity to come and eat, based on the principle of unconditional welcome.
In France, supermarkets produce, depending on their surface area, between 10 and 120 tons of biowaste/year .
If we now look at the global “food losses” at the distribution level, i.e. the share of avoidable bio-waste that unfortunately ends up in the trash, this represents 8 kg/inhab/year  , or 120,000 tons/year in France. These losses can be recovered through food donations, to charities in particular, an example would be the Miam Collectif. The volume that can be recovered in the food trade through donations is important. It is estimated at 42% of the deposit of bio-waste from these businesses. 
At the Miam Collectif, about 70% of the unsold food recovered by the association ends up on the plates of the canteen’s customers, which represents 35 kg of fruit and vegetables saved and valorized each week. The 15 kg of bio-waste per week are not yet recovered, as the city has unfortunately not set up a composting system. Camille and Wilfried have requested it, but do not have enough time and means to put pressure on it.
The Collective Miam allows to avoid food waste but also allows to highlight the structures involved in food waste partners (especially the Biocoop). For these structures it is therefore a reputational gain that can be transformed into economic benefit.
In a more direct way, food donations to associative structures allow a tax reduction up to 60% of the donations, within the limit of 5/1000 of their turnover.
It is a win-win situation for both parties, as the association that recovers unsold items can develop a balanced business while providing valuable assistance to the most disadvantaged.
30% of the people hosted at the Miam Collectif are in need. This figure could be higher but social barriers persist.
In France, it is estimated that more than 2,600,000 people benefit from the food aid distributed by the associations. 
The Miam Collectif goes even further than just adding value to unsold food, by offering quality cooked meals.
The canteen is a welcoming and warm place that also helps some volunteers in transitory difficulties in their socialization.
Thanks to the arrival of the third Lia cook, the employees work between 24 and 27 hours a week, each one being present 3 lunches a week. This rhythm provides them with an ideal work/life balance, a godsend in the restaurant business.
As soon as we talk about an associative structure, the question of budget management is fundamental, often based mainly on fundraising. The various solutions found by the Miam Collectif are explained below:
– A launch subsidized up to more than 17 000€ by the region following a call for projects.
– Camille and Wilfried benefited from a subsidized work contract (40% of 20 hours of their salary is covered).
– The rent for the Atmosphere room is shared with the bar managers.
– In addition to ecological reasons, the use of unsold food has enabled the canteen to provide quality products at a lower cost.
A structure wishing to engage in solidarity catering therefore needs to find diversified levers to ensure financial stability.
The associative organization is also associated with specific management issues for which the project leaders have not always been trained (accounting, volunteer management, communication, etc.). It is necessary to devote time to these issues, outside the working hours of the employees.
It is therefore an organization that requires a significant commitment from the project leaders, in an almost entrepreneurial way and more than a simple remunerative job. Volunteers are also valuable in carrying out the activity and their good management is fundamental.
The canteen’s goal is to reinvest all their profits, so their next investment will be in an oven more suited to their kitchen.
In the long term, the solidarity canteen could be transformed into an integration enterprise.
In a city that fell into the hands of the extreme right in 2020, this is a courageous project that goes against the tide and fights to revitalize the neglected city center.
The Miam Collectif is a socially motivated approach, which has called for an economy of recovery beneficial to the environment. In order to offer healthy menus that are accessible to all, they have turned to vegetarian cuisine based on the recovery of unsold items.
This project shows that synergies between social and environmental aspects are beneficial, and this is linked to economic stability.
The Miam Collectif is a perfect example of a sustainable food project with a social focus. We hope that it can inspire many to carry out a solidarity catering project.
 Analyse détaillée des expérimentations en cours dans la distribution pour la collecte et le traitement des déchets organiques – Etude CONVIS – PERIFEM 2011
 Enquête sur les quantités de nourriture gaspillées dans l’Europe des 27, Bio IS pour la Commission Européenne, 2010
 Etude PERIFEM/CONVIS : analyse détaillée des expérimentations en cours dans la distribution pour la collecte et le traitement des déchets organiques
 ADEME, Guide « Prévenir, trier et valoriser les biodéchets des gros producteurs », 2013