The public consultation on the policy’s modernization and simplification of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), launched by the European Commission on February 2 this year, has closed today. Slow Food takes note, on the basis of the EU data, that 88 million tons of food are wasted every year (20% of total food production), while one in four farms has shut down in the period between 2003 and 2013. From an environmental perspective, the situation is equally bad: 10% of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU come from the agricultural sector. For these reasons Slow Food requests:
- A shift away from a Common Agricultural Policy and towards a Common Food Policy, so that the system in its entirety is taken into account, including distribution systems and food waste.
- The recognition of food sovereignty, in other words “the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agricultural systems.”
- Concrete support for small-scale agroecological producers and local food production, given that these are essential elements to a sustainable food system. It is in fact small-scale agroecological producers who provide a whole series of environmental and social services to their community. Additionally, small farms allow the use of more labor, thus representing a valuable source of employment and support for the local economy, resulting in the preservation of rural communities.
- The promotion of agroecological practices, which are based on an efficient use of resources, with little or no use of chemical products, and the existing synergy between different species. Consequently, this agricultural model produces many benefits at an environmental level, ensuring the conservation of biodiversity and soil fertility and an excellent crop yield. Diversified agroecological systems also guarantee an adequate and secure economic return for farmers, who no longer need to reply on the success of just one crop; with a single product, their income is highly dependent on market trends and unpredictable natural events.
- Concrete help for disadvantaged groups, particularly people living in marginal areas (such as mountain zones) and youth. The abandonment of marginal areas due to a lack of infrastructure and employment opportunities is a very relevant problem in all of Europe, considering that a rich biodiversity is still present in these places, which are also the most vulnerable from a hydrogeological viewpoint.
- Encouraging participatory processes, so as to ensure that policy decisions regarding food are taken democratically. Producers, consumers, civil society organizations and researchers must be able to find a political space within which they can establish the priorities of the sector and demonstrate a shared strategy to institutions. These spaces must also be able to carry out a “knowledge-sharing” function between those who work in the food sector in different roles, thus guaranteeing cohesion between the various social partners and avoiding power being concentrated in the hands of large transnational corporations.
Back in March, Slow Food, along with over 150 other civil society organizations, provided some initial ideas about the CAP’s future in the joint statement Good Food, Good Farming – Now.
Slow Food’s complete response to the Commission’s consultation is available here.
Slow Food International Press Office
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Slow Food is a global grassroots organization that envisions a world in which all people can access and enjoy food that is good for them, good for those who grow it and good for the planet. Slow Food involves over a million activists, chefs, experts, youth, farmers, fishers and academics in over 160 countries. Among them, a network of around 100,000 Slow Food members are linked to 1,500 local chapters worldwide, contributing through their membership fee, as well as the events and campaigns they organize. As part of the network, more than 2,400 Terra Madre food communities practice small-scale and sustainable production of quality food around the world.
 Declaration of the Forum for Food Sovereignty, Nyéléni, Mali, 2007.