Civil Society: the Further Postponement of the EU Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies Would be a Grave Mistake

Slow Food Europe, along with 39 other European civil society organizations, in a letter to the European Commission, asks not to further postpone the launch of the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies. The letter addressed to Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans and to the Commissioners responsible for the implementation of the strategies, comes just days ahead of the expected launch date of both strategies. However, amid the COVID-19 crisis, ever more speculation is arising about possible further delays.

In the letter, organizations stress that COVID-19 has “brought to light some of the dysfunctions of our current globalized and unsustainable food systems” based on long and specialized chains, with a strong dependency on foreign and migrant workers in poor working conditions.

“The Farm to Fork strategy is more important than ever: the current crisis has laid bare the vulnerabilities of the industrial food system while countless initiatives are showing the resilience of local food systems, of local communities of producers and consumers working together in solidarity. If it is not now the time to act, then when?” says Marta Messa, director of Slow Food Europe.

Slow Food Europe and other signatory organizations are certain that when the pandemic will be over, the climate, human health, animal welfare, biodiversity loss, and social crises will not have disappeared, posing major collective challenges alongside a new and deep economic crisis.

“We can no longer afford to sit waiting for policies that are ambitious enough to match the ambition of many food systems actors in Europe and the world over. We cannot afford to go back to business as usual when lockdowns are eased. The Farm to Fork strategy has the potential to set us on the right track towards a fairer and more sustainable future. We need the strategy, and we need it now,” Messa concludes.

The launch of both Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies was initially postponed from the end of March to the end of April. Both Strategies are part of the European Green Deal, which is the most environmentally ambitious legislation proposal of the new Commission, which started its five-year term in December last year.

Read the full letter here

Indre Anskaityte, Slow Food Europe