On CAP and the Future of Europe

Let’s talk again about the CAP: the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy. Most believe that this topic is best left to the experts of the field, however there are fewer and fewer farmers left. A few months ago, I already emphasized how the CAP reform process is key for our future – not only in terms of agriculture and food – and I complained about the lack of attention paid by the media and the public to this important matter, in Italy and abroad. Maybe this is because European policies usually feel far removed from our lives and they only become relevant once they are translated into annoying prohibitions or presumptuous reproaches.

I say we had better take more interest in this issue. A huge chunk of the EU money is at stake (43% of total resources, or a total 55 billion Euro), but even more importantly the reform involves what we will eat in years to come, how food will be produced and what effects the production needed to feed hundreds of millions of Europeans will have on the environment and on the relationships between the north and the south of the world. These are complex issues. And this is another reason for the disinformation on the new CAP.

This is why I believe that the (often small but well organized) initiatives which bring key reforms like the CAP review to the citizens’ attention are significant and worth mentioning. This is the case of the Good Food March, organized by ARC2020 with a network of European associations (including Slow Food), which will bring the requests of European citizens straight to the centers of power in Brussels. Young and elderly citizens, urban and countryside farmers, activists and simple supporters are mobilizing to raise the level of attention on the issue.

Events will be organized all over the continent (in Italy, I would like to mention the initiatives organized in Naples by the local Slow Food youth network in cooperation with Coldiretti and AIAB, and the sit-in in Rome, organized by the Italian Committee for Food Sovereignty), and a bicycle will lead the march to the European Parliament where today, September 19, a conference organized by Slow Food and ARC2020 on the CAP reform will be held. Participants include, among others, the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz and the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Dacian Cioloş.

On such an important issue, it is important to work on two sides: at institutional level – because decision-makers must take into account the demands of farmers and citizens who call for a greener agriculture, foreign to the criteria of agricultural industry which thinks of carrots and tomatoes as if they were bolts or microchips – and in terms of communication to the public, so that these topics are more and more widely shared and are not left to environmentalists, farmers or interest groups alone.

If you feel this is an important matter, even if you had never thought about it, and you care for an agriculture that can feed us without poisoning the planet and starving part of its inhabitants (starting from farmers themselves), you can participate in the photo action launched by the organizers of the Good Food March. Send a portrait of you holding a simple request that you would like to send to Brussels and to those who will decide what we will find in our future plates.

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