Case Study

Flowering Meadows Contest in France

Contact name

Pierre Schmelzle

Institution name

EUROPARC France/ Fédération des Parcs Naturels Régionaux de France

Region & country



Flowering meadows are grasslands rich in species, not sown and mowed or grazed to feed the cattle with a floristic diversity that contributes to the production in breeding with a fodder appreciated by the animals. It also contributes to the quality of landscapes and the preservation of biodiversity, by encouraging the presence of birds, reptiles, small mammals and insects, those responsible for pollination (honey bees and wild pollinators) and protection of crops. The contest rewards the coherence between the agri-ecological properties of the land and its agricultural use by the farmer.

Flowering meadow

Photo by: Pierre Schmelzle

Dialogue between actors

Photo by: Pierre Schmelzle

Background of the project

These meadows and the work of several generations of farmers using it were not well recognized. The link between the properties of these meadows ant the quality, the test of products as cheeses were not actually made.

  • To valorize and to recognize a permanent « farming » heritage;
  • To identify a method to rate the agri-ecological properties of the grasslands;
  • To valorize the result of the contest.

Solution and actions taken

  • To use an existing methodology MEKA used in Germany;
  • To organize a national contest declined in the park’s volunteers to organize it locally.

Now the contest is recognized by a national level the “Concours Général Agricole” with awards presented at the “Salon de l’Agriculture” one of the most important exhibitions in France.

  • Adaptation of the MEKA rating to each park and edition of booklets showing grasses and flowers of territories.
  • Organization of local contests.

Other institutions or parties involved

  • Public or private engineering and research offices (INRA, SCOPELA,…), Regional Chambers of Agriculture;
  • Various local associations: farmers, beekeepers and honey producers, bird protection, hunters, etc;
  • At a national level: organization “Concours General Agricole” depending on the Minister of Agriculture.


A national contest exists now with a valorization by Awards at the “Concours General Agricole” which is the most important exhibition for farmers in France. Six categories of flowering meadows are awarded.
From the starting in 2010, more than 1500 farmers from almost 45 parks and protected areas have participated.


The main difficulty faced was convince farmers to participate in this type of contest.

Lessons learned

The test and the quality of products (milk, cheese, meet, …) is directly linked to the biodiversity of these grasslands and the consumer starts to know it.
Farmers are waiting for a better understanding and scientist explanations on their good practices to keep these meadows.

Other resources

  • Flowering Meadows Contest ("Concours des prairies fleuries")

    Meet organizers, jurors, and breeders in a local competition. The parcels visit is an obligatory passage before the designation of the prize-winners. The 1st prize is then selected during a national final whose prizes are awarded on the International Salon of Agriculture in Paris.

Contact name

Pierre Schmelzle

Institution name

EUROPARC France/ Fédération des Parcs Naturels Régionaux de France



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