Last week, SFYN (Slow Food Youth Network, the European umbrella organization for the young Slow Food members) launched a petition on petion site Avaaz.org. The petition aims to collect 500.000 signatures ‘for a fair and ecological agrarian policy for the EU’. The petition was initiated by Greek SFYN leader Pavlos Georgiadis, and it brings about five core values SFYN thinks in every future CAP scenario should be given priority.
The issues are:
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.
These issues are the same issues that form the core argument for the CAP2013: Food for Change campaign. This campaign aims to introduce consumers to the debate on the CAP reform. Given the fact that the current debate is a rather technical one, a lot of basic knowledge is needed to fully grasp what the possibilities and consequences of the 2013 reform will entail. Therefore, the petition tries to keep the issues simple and understandable, while stressing that sustainability and innovation should lay at the core of an European agricultural policy, rather than productivity growth.
With 500,000 signatures, the petition will be delivered to the President of the European Parlement, the President of the European Commission and the Members of the European Parlement, as well as the leaders of the European Member states.