EU Farm to Fork Strategy: Collective response from food sovereignty scholars

On 20 May 2020 the European Commission (EC) released its new Farm to Fork (F2F) Strategy for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system. As scholars committed to supporting sustainable food system transformation, we commend the EC for delivering a  longer term vision, and proposing the development of a legislative framework for sustainable food systems by 2023. Binding mechanisms and coherent, integrated rights-based legislative frameworks are fundamental to ensuring compliance and meeting the proposed targets. We acknowledge that the F2F Strategy contains many positive points, but are deeply concerned that these remain embedded in an outdated framework.

The evidence overwhelmingly points to a need to move beyond the (green) economic growth paradigm. This paradigm, reified by the European Green Deal, perpetuates unsustainable lock-ins and entrenched inequalities. The Scientific Advice Mechanism[1] recently advised the EC to stop treating food as a commodity and start thinking about the implications of seeing food more as a common good.[2] However, the EC failed to take up this recommendation in the F2F Strategy.

We appreciate that the F2F Strategy presents a food systems approach, from primary production to the consumer. This is needed to tackle the complexity of food and associated challenges. We also appreciate that the F2F Strategy includes targets on chemical pesticides, fertilizers, organic farming, antimicrobial resistance and that there are rewards associated with soil management strategies that sequester carbon. We encourage the EC to put in place rigorous monitoring and impact assessments to enforce and reinforce these.

We are also pleased that the relevance of the ‘food environment’ to addressing many food-related challenges is highlighted. Here, the commitment to develop an EU tax system that can ensure that the price of different foods reflects their real costs in terms of use of finite natural resources, pollution, Green House Gas (GHG) emissions and other environmental externalities is very welcomed. We support the F2F Strategy’s commitment to create shorter food supply chains and the reduction of dependence on long-haul transportation, as well as on unsustainable crops to feed the intensive animal industry. We commend the EC forrecognizing that through imports the EU is promoting carbon leakage in other territories. We are encouraged to see the EC commit to developing policies that strengthen territorial networks, ecosystems and economies. Building on the premise highlighted by the F2F Strategy that all people need to benefit from a just transition, we insist that social inequalities within territories must be taken into consideration.

Recognizing these important contributions, we have a number of specific concerns about the F2F Strategy.

Solutions for a Food Secure World: Special Issue

I am very please to announce that a special issue of the journal Solutions showcasing a diversity of solutions for future food security has just been uploaded online. The diverse range of solutions have been proposed by young thinkers from around the world.

Megan Bailey and I would like to thank everyone who worked hard to get this issue out!

contributors solutions.png

Here is the link to the issue and below you can find a list of the contributions! Happy Reading.

Editorial


Solutions for a Food Secure World by Jessica Duncan and Megan Bailey

Shifting Power Relations and Poor Practices in Land Deals through Participatory Action in Marracune, Mozambique by Helena Shilomboleni

Food Sovereignty in Rebellion: Decolonization, Autonomy, Gender Equity, and the Zapatista Solution by Levi Gahman

Perspectives

Valuing What Really Matters: A Look at Soil Currency by Randall Coleman

Decreasing Distance and Re-Valuing Local: How Place-Based Food Systems Can Foster Socio-Ecological Sustainability by Susanna E. Klassen

Reversing the Burden of Proof for Sustainable Aquaculture by Simon R. Bush

Alternative Foods as a Solution to Global Food Supply Catastrophes by Seth D. Baum, David C. Denkenberger, and Joshua M. Pearce

Black Soldier Fly: A Bio Tool for Converting Food Waste into Livestock Feed by Marwa Shumo

Features

The Importance of Hunting for Future Inuit Food Security by C. Hoover, S. Ostertag, C. Hornby, C. Parker, K. Hansen-Craik, L.L. Loseto, and T. Pearce

Crediting Farmers for Nutrient Stewardship: Using Carbon Markets to Create Positive Environmental Change by Elizabeth Hardee
Circular Solutions for Linear Problems: Principles for Sustainable Food Futures by Stefano Pascucci and Jessica Duncan

Transparency for Just Seafood Systems by Megan Bailey and Niklas Egels Zandén

Interview

India’s Pastoralist Communities: Solutions for Survival Monika Agarwal Interviewed by Jessica Duncan

Book Review

Cities at the Forefront of Future Food Solutions by Aniek Hebinck

Health and climate change: policy responses to protect public health

A long awaited report from the Lancet / UCL Commission on Climate Change and Health has just been published called “Health and climate change: policy responses to protect public health”

You need to register to The Lancet to access the report but registration is currently free.

There are quite a few references to food security, including this statement challenging assumptions around sustainable intensification:

Panel 4: Food security, climate change, and human health

The provision for global food demand by 2050 cannot assume improved crop yields through sustainable agricultural intensification because of the negative effects on crop growth from an increased frequency of weather extremes. Multifunctional food production systems will prove important in a warmer world. These systems are managed for benefi ts beyond yield, and provide multiple ecosystem services, support biodiversity, improve nutrition, and can enhance resilience to shocks such as crop failure or pest outbreaks (p 16).

There is also a supplementary video “How can we transform climate change from a threat to an opportunity to improve global health?”

The Guardian has also reported on the report with an article: Climate change threatens 50 years of progress in global health, study says

Happy reading!