For the first time, the European Commission is working towards a Communication on Sustainable Food. An important milestone in the move towards a more resource-efficient food system; Slow Food is actively encouraging the initiative, as well as the efforts of the Commission to open up the debate on this topic.
To enable an exchange of views between civil society and representatives from EU institutions at this crucial moment in discussions, Slow Food organized a conference in the European Parliament in Brussels. Held on November 28, under the patronage of Parliament Vice-President Isabelle Durant, the conference explored food sustainability in the context of current EU policies, and how to ensure a more coherent and integrated approach in the future. A diversity of speakers presented their views in a panel discussion. Carlo Petrini, founder of Slow Food, closed the event, calling on policy makers to take a more holistic view of the food system, and to make sustainability a top priority.
After the event, Slow Food invited members of the European institutions to demonstrate their commitment to food sustainability with a symbolic act: Participants were encouraged to nominate an endangered food product (strongly linked to the culture, history and tradition of their country) to the Slow Food catalog of products at risk of extinction - the Ark of Taste. Their nominations added to the current list of over 1000 products from around the world.
On November 29, another conference took place in Brussels. Organized by the European Commission Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development, the event was entitled “Family Farming: A Dialogue Towards More Sustainable and Resilient Farming in Europe and the World”. The importance of family farming within the European Union cannot be overstated, with the majority of the EU's 12 million farms being family farms, passed down from one generation to the next. In addition, the United Nations has declared 2014 the International Year of Family Farming to highlight the importance of family and smallholder farmers. Carlo Petrini also spoke at this second conference, alongside representatives from the EU Commission and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
Find out more about the conference here.