Food production and consumption concern every one of us. With multilateral conversations on sustainable development and food production heating up in Brussels and at the highest level of the United Nations bodies, now is time to act to make our voices heard. We must stand against the undue influence of powerful lobbies and trade groups over our food system.
As EU citizens with deep concerns about our current food system and its many failures, we must urge our policy makers to focus on sustainable production and youth as the two pillars that our future food system will be built upon. In that context, let’s demand that the following five issues be given priority in any future scenario for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP):
Sustainability: It must be embraced as the core value of the new CAP. Our food system must produce sufficient, healthy and nutritious food, while drastically reducing its carbon footprint, and regenerating rather than degrading our landscapes and natural resources, especially topsoil and water.
Youth: We must invest in getting young people involved in food production, and in assisting them to build strong connections between rural and urban communities. The CAP must allocate money to training programs that allow young farmers to adopt innovative and environmentally friendly agricultural techniques.
Biodiversity: The CAP must promote biodiverse and ecologically functional production, instead of supporting energy-intensive, patent-protected crops and industrial monocultures. Diversity must be nurtured from farm to fork through the support of conservers and breeders of varieties that can be re-sown.
Research: It is required to understand how traditional knowledge and modern techniques can be integrated to develop innovative, environmentally sound agricultural practices. This can be realized by funding projects that explore the potential of diverse and locally adapted production systems, such as agroecology, agroforestry, saline agriculture and permaculture.
Meat & dairy: Given the problems related to the production of meat and dairy, the CAP must include plans to gradually decrease funds allocated to industrial meat and dairy production, and to promote a transition from the production of animal to vegetable protein in the long term. Measures should be taken in support of operations which respect animal welfare, conserve water and other resources, while reducing carbon emissions.
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