For the third year in a row, Slow Food Europe joins the European Days of Action for Good Food Good Farming, which are taking place across Europe during all of October. For the occasion, Slow Food networks have organized over 15 events across European countries to promote agrobiodiversity and discuss environment and climate friendly agriculture and food practices.
2020 is a pivotal moment for the future of European policies on food and farming. Last week, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) negotiations entered their final phase, with a crucial vote taking place at the European Parliament, that will determine the EU’s agricultural policies for the upcoming seven years.
During the October Action Days for Good Food and Good Farming, civil society and farming organizations have organized over 80 events and protests in 16 European countries to support the transition to good food and sustainable farming practices, and to send a clear message to decision makers at all levels in view of the CAP vote. These European Days of Action have been challenging decision-makers to deliver sustainable solutions for the Common Agricultural Policy reform since 2018. Despite the Covid-19 restrictions, this year’s activity map includes a diverse and rich set of street protests, farm visits and online conferences organized by a wide range of organizations.
The Slow Food networks have organised several meaningful activities to remind EU decision makers of the importance of agrobiodiversity, short supply chains and local markets, animal welfare and sustainable husbandry, social inclusion and food education. For instance, two “Debates at the market” were organized in Straupe (Latvia), about the biological diversity of legumes and about saving the bees and the farmers; events were dedicated to the harvest of autumn seasonal products such as olives and other goods were organized in Bulgaria (Bela Rechka) and Croatia. Terroirs d’Avenir’s specialty shops in Paris opened their doors for a week to promote Slow Food’s Presidia and Ark of Taste cheeses from France and other European countries, to educate consumers on the importance of safeguarding species, practices and knowhows at risk of disappearing. The Slow Food network in Germany organized a conference on cultural biodiversity and on the occasion set up a photo action aimed at influencing the CAP vote, while Romania was the stage for events dedicated to a wide range of topics such as food waste, food education in schools and promotion of local varieties of fruits and vegetables. All action implied debates, talks, exchange and education on the current developments of the common agricultural policies.
The final vote for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) happened last week, and it has been a critical moment for the future of agriculture in the European Union. Slow Food was hoping for the European Parliament to agree on a farm policy that is equipped to deal with the gravest challenges of our future needs and to boost new synergies between farmers, people, and nature. However, the proposal to integrate EU Green Deal targets in the CAP as well as the article defining clear emissions reduction targets for the agricultural sector, have been rejected by the majority of the European Parliament, showing low environmental ambition when it comes to set clear and binding objectives. Fortunately, the EU Parliament has advanced in terms of social conditionality for CAP payments and farmers will receive financial support only under the condition that the rights of farm workers are fully respected. However, this is not enough as social and environmental sustainability are equally important in reaching an overall fair and clean food system.
The Common Agricultural Policy could have had the potential to become a powerful policy transformation tool to initiate the urgently needed transition towards sustainable and socially just food systems. EU leaders should have translated their commitment to the Green Deal into action, ensuring that the new CAP was able to achieve the objectives of the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies, but they voted differently. The coming months and years will be a challenge, as the main instrument available on a European political and budgetary level has not been equipped to fulfill its environmental mission. Today the CAP accounts for about 35% of the EU’s total budget. Slow Food, together with, the Good Food Good Farming movement will keep on working for a fair, green and healthy food system, that is good for the people, for the animals and for the planet.
Check out the video made by Slow Food activists to raise awareness about Good Food Good Farming’s actions for a better CAP !