Director and co-founder, National Association for the Development of Solidarity-based Grocery stores (ANDES)
BACKGROUND / Professional and academic:
For 15 years, fighting food assistance and helping beneficiaries become independent has been the core strategy of Guillaume Bapst, founder-director of ANDES, and its teams. Navigating between the professional and social sectors, he managed, within 16 years, to reconcile associative action with the sense of entrepreneurship, bringing an innovative inspiration to food assistance.
From the nineties to the years 2000: the beginnings of social entrepreneurship…
Director of rental management at the Nièvre social housing departmental agency, Guillaume Bapst was mainly in charge of outstanding payments. Having no control over the households’ resources, he thought of a means to influence their spending. He noticed that, by reducing food expenses, people manage to pay their rents on time and enjoy a better quality of life, food being always the adjustment variable for low incomes.
Four years after the opening of a solidarity-based store in Nevers, Guillaume Bapst co-founded the National Association for the Development of Social and Solidarity Grocery stores (A.N.D.E.S.) in April 2000. Within the movement of social entrepreneurship and social and solidarity economy, ANDES thought of a median path within the food assistance sector, at the confluence between the social and economic worlds. From the beginning, Guillaume Bapst has established a logic of partnership among mass-market retailing, companies, foundations, the State …
2001 – 2009: Steps towards an innovative social entrepreneurship
In 2001, Guillaume Bapst developed the activity of ANDES while preparing a post-graduate diploma (DESS) in Local Development and Solidarity Economy. He was rewarded for his social entrepreneurial spirit in 2006: he became one of the first five social entrepreneurs chosen and rewarded by Ashoka, the international association for social entrepreneurship and innovation, during its launching in France. In 2008, Marianne’s Vegetable Garden « le Potager de Marianne », the first ANDES integration project for sorting unsold fruits and vegetables attributed to food assistance, opened in Rungis wholesale market. In 2009, Guillaume Bapst was elected « entrepreneur of the future » at the National Assembly. The Cistella de Marianne, second integration project for sorting fruits and vegetables was created the same year at Perpignan.
2010 – 2013: To go further in terms of innovation and spirit of entrepreneurship
Guillaume Bapst is one of the social entrepreneurs of Canal + movie « Les Défricheurs » broadcasted on November 10, 2010. During the same month, ANDES launched the Popular cuisine manual, an original idea of Guillaume Bapst and Eric Roux, a culinary journalist. The third and fourth social integration projects of sorting fruits and vegetables « La Banaste de Marianne » and « Le Gardin de Marianne » opened respectively in Marseille in November 2010 and Lille in January 2011. In January 2012, the project « La Grande Maison » was launched, a solidarity-based vegetable farm combining social insertion through economic activity, supply of the food assistance networks and sale on the market. During the same year, he became treasurer of the Fédération des Paniers de la Mer. He became member of « l’Echappée Volée » Editorial Committee in 2013, and participates in the TEDx events. In November 2014, Guillaume Bapst was appointed Knight (Chevalier) of the National Order of Merit by the President of the French Republic. This medal rewarded almost 15 years of involvement of ANDES and its founder in the fight against food insecurity.
ACTION / Describe your project, initiative, company
At the beginning in 2000, I chose to work in the food assistance field which is far from being a « sexy » subject since it affects people living in insecurity, exclusion or social integration.
The idea of creating a network of solidarity grocery stores emerged and ANDES was born in the form of an association. We had two options then: either « fit in » with a logic of perpetual reparation or tackle the problem in a different manner, mainly in a positive way!
We immediately favored this second approach to “rethink food assistance”, with a strong obligation to be innovative! ANDES chose therefore an « entrepreneurial » path, an approach which was singled out within an essentially community-functioning sector.
LOCATION / In which city, country, region do you operate?
IMPACT / What is the positive economic, social, political, environmental… impact of this action, project, initiative, company?
By adopting the companies’ model, ANDES applies a professional management integrating the impact of its actions. This approach which proved to be profitable in a context of scarcity of public financial assistance, enabled us to be supported in our endeavors by both public and private partners.
Social integration projects fighting food waste and helping unemployed people find work, supplying food assistance entities with fresh fruits and vegetables, supporting solidarity-based grocery stores, etc… ANDES has constantly innovated in such actions and co-built responsible programs.
We have included them in a context where 8.6 Million people live below the poverty line (1 000 Euros/month) that is 14 % of the French population (source: INSEE 2013) and where, according to the ABENA 2 study, 6.5% of the people resorting to food assistance entities ate 5 fruits and vegetables per day in 2011 (quantity recommended by the National Nutrition and Health Program).
We are proud of the result and its impact. As examples:
In 2015, within the framework of our four social integration projects, we have delivered 2 069 tons of fruits and vegetables to the food assistance regional entities located near the sites, 39% of them were valorized (selection of donations). In terms of « employment assistance », we provided support to 129 people, knowing that 90% of the people integrated in 2015 were long-term unemployed.
For the four projects, the dynamic exit rate reached 76 % while the national average was estimated at 29%. Beyond the savings which benefited the State, this rate reveals the quality of the services offered by ANDES.
Capitalizing on almost 300 grocery stores, the network assisted approximately 1 711 000 people in 2015, that is ± 59.800 households.
In a different field, ANDES designed the concept of “uniterres”, a two-pronged short circuit program which joins small weakened producers with solidarity grocery stores. It proves that eating well is not more expensive when we look into other distribution means than department stores.
Since 2012, 176 producers have been supported by the program and 60 solidarity grocery stores from 4 regions have been participating to it.
Furthermore, this program has been developing and expanding. In Brittany, Uniterres provides only organic products to solidarity and regional grocery shops. In Aquitaine – and soon in Midi-Pyrénées – it supplies school canteens or starred restaurants with fruits and vegetables. It is a real and practical answer to the needs in local short food supply chains!
QUOTATION / A sentence, quotation, maxim that you can identify with:
Innovation is the success of disobedience!