This weekend, Slow Food joins forces with 80 pan-European organizations and civil society groups to call for a fundamental change in our food and farming, demanding agricultural policies that promote a transition towards a better and sustainable society, with quality food for all. The European Days of Action for Good Food Good Farming will mobilize small-scale farmers, citizens and activists to take part in peaceful demonstrations, protest picnics and various other initiatives in 22 European countries.
Time to Act
Today, ever-more people recognize the importance of good and healthy food, and instead of intensive farming products, choose seasonal, ecological and local ones. Nevertheless, large industrial farms receive the lion’s share of EU agricultural funds.
The Good Food Good Farming (GFGF) movement believes that it is time to call on policy-makers to build a better food and farming system, in solidarity with people and regions across Europe.
“Civil society, citizens and farmers have joined forces to say loud and clear that food concerns us all, and so do food policies: we are not just defending our vision of good food and good farming, we are providing concrete examples of success on the ground,” says Marta Messa, director of Slow Food’s European Office in Brussels.
Slow Food Actions Across Europe
Slow Food Networks have been actively involved in the joint action in different European countries.
Slow Food Deutschland in collaboration with other civil society groups in Germany, have organized events in Berlin and Stuttgart. On 27 October, citizens of Berlin will be invited to join the action in front of the Brandenburg Gate, where activists will demand a shift to insect-friendly agriculture and invite everyone for a meal and discussions. On the same day, Stuttgart will host a conference on agriculture and nutrition, and later at noon citizens will be invited to a noisy, pot and drum orchestra manifestation in the city center.
At the same time, Slow Food Youth in Cologne will organize a discussion about the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the future of our food system. On Sunday, Slow Food Youth Network Scotland together with Young Friends of Earth Scotland will invite citizens of Glasgow to bring a dish to share that represents the best of their region and to discuss their ideas of the future of food system.
Meanwhile, Slow Food Gorgonzola and Martesana Convivium will have a musical aperitif this Friday in Carugate, Italy, where people are invited to bring pots and spoons – the symbol of the European Days of Action, make some noise and participate in a discussion with farmers on the future of our food.
The new CAP at the Center of Attention
The European Days of Action comes as the European Union is negotiating a reform to the CAP. The current CAP takes up approximately a third of the EU’s total budget, with a significant influence on how our food is produced and distributed.
To make the messages of the European Days of Action resonate clearly at the European level, on 19 November, Slow Food’s European Office will take a lead and together with other partner organizations will target the meeting of EU agriculture ministers in Brussels, which will touch upon the new CAP. In front of the Council of the EU, the disco soup will be organized, where ministers will be invited to chop and enjoy food, while listening to the messages of citizens involved in the European mobilization. Representatives of the pan-European movement will hand over a petition, signed by EU citizens, asking ministers to take into consideration the unified voice of Europeans.
Recent years have seen significant strides made towards more sustainable agriculture in Europe – including the banning of bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides, and the ruling of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) that new organisms developed through mutagenesis be classified and regulated as GMOs. However, big industrial farms still pose a massive threat to sustainable agriculture. The EU lost a third of its small farms between 2003 and 2013, and 3% of farms own 52% of all farmland. Large-scale, intensive agriculture contributes to global climate change, degrades and depletes water reserves and soil quality, and causes mass biodiversity loss.
Indre Anskaityte, Slow Food International