Save Bees and Farmers



From 2019 to 2021, Slow Food campaigned alongside many other organisations across Europe to gather signatures for the European Citizens Initiative “Save Bees and Farmers”, calling for a phase out of synthetic pesticides and support for farmers to transition to agroecology. The ECI gathered 1.1 million signatures from at least 7 EU countries, thus reaching the mandatory threshold for approval.

In September 2022, the ECI was officially approved by the European Commission.

In November 2022, Slow Food and other representatives of the European Citizens Initiative (ECI) “Save Bees and Farmers” were received by European Commissioners Věra Jourová (Values and Transparency) and Stella Kyriakides (Health and Food Safety), to formally present their demands.

In January 2023, Slow Food and other ECI representatives defended the ECI’s demands during a hearing at the European Parliament. This is a rare and unique opportunity for civil society organisations and experts to directly address Members of the European Parliament and convince them to back the ECI’s demands.

Our demands

The European Citizens’ Initiative “Save bees and farmers” is committed to enforcing sustainable-bee friendly agriculture throughout Europe. We demand the European Union to:

  1. Phase out synthetic pesticides by 2035: Phase out synthetic pesticides in EU agriculture by 80% by 2030, starting with the most hazardous, to become 100% free of synthetic pesticides by 2035
  2. Restore biodiversity: Restore natural ecosystems in agricultural areas so that farming becomes a vector of biodiversity recovery
  3. Support farmers in the transition: Reform agriculture by prioritising small scale, diverse and sustainable farming. Supporting a rapid increase in agroecological and organic practices, and enabling independent farmer-based training and research into pesticide and GMO-free farming

Why we don’t want pesticides

European agriculture is reaching a dead end. Day by day, the biological diversity that underpins our food systems is disappearing — putting the future of our food, our livelihood, health and environment under severe threat. Toxic agricultural pesticides are among the key culprits.

Bees and other pollinating insects, play a crucial role in biodiversity and agriculture.

Without bees, a large number of wild and cultivated plant species would no longer exist. The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that 71 out of some 100 crop species that provide 90% of food worldwide are bee-pollinated.

Over the years, Slow Food has been calling for an end to the use of harmful pesticides and biodiversity destruction associated with this decline. We need the EU to promote agroecology, not pesticides.

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