Towards an EU Common Sustainable Food Policy
Wishful thinking or reality?
For the first time, the European Commission is working on an EU Communication on Sustainability of the Food System. Slow Food, an international association that is advocating a holistic approach and a sustainable food system, has welcomed this initiative and is taking an active part in the debate, bringing its vision of food sustainability based on its philosophy of “good, clean and fair”.
According to the 3rd SCAR Foresight Exercise, “a radical change in food consumption and production in Europe is unavoidable to meet the challenges of scarcities and to make the European agro-food system more resilient in times of increasing instability and surprise.” Slow Food is convinced that an EU Common Sustainable Food Policy must be created in order to achieve a radical change in the food system. This policy should adopt a holistic approach and the overarching principle of sustainability should serve as the basis for food sovereignty, food security and safety, food quality and diversity, and for the value of food.
Slow Food calls for a shift towards an EU Common Sustainable Food Policy which not only addresses food production, farming and trade, but also food and environmental quality, health, resource and land management, ecology, social and cultural values, and the shape of the entire agricultural and food market chain.
Slow Food believes that a new European food policy should be founded on the values of biodiversity protection, sustainability, natural resource conservation and inclusive development.
Therefore, the food system we want is:
– Environmentally sustainable: it maintains the quality and renewability of natural resources over time, preserves biodiversity and guarantees the integrity of ecosystems.
– Economically sustainable: it generates long term income and workplaces, reaches eco-efficiency, and provides a competitive environment, where quality prevails over quantity and prices reflect the true value of food.
– Socio-culturally sustainable: it guarantees fair access to fundamental rights (safety, health, education, etc.) and conditions of well being (education, social relations, etc.) within a community, provides opportunities to create and develop internal and external relations involving the community, and recognizes the cultural value of a product.
All these aspects of sustainability cannot be considered separately. They are strongly interrelated and need to be analyzed using an integrated, holistic approach.