A new brochure showcasing examples of best practice farming and food initiatives from around Europe has just been published. Civil Society platform Arc2020, Friends of the Earth Europe, in association with IFOAM EU, have brought together 10 innovative approaches in “Transitioning Towards Agroecology: Using the CAP to build new food systems”.You can download or view a digital copy by clicking on the image below.
Agroecological approaches are a more holistic way to farm and produce food, integrating nature and societal concerns more coherently than the business-as-usual methods of conventional agriculture. Production techniques pioneered the organic farming and food movement, as well as initiatives based on the principle of food sovereignty including shorter and regionalised food supply systems are core parts of moving towards agroecology. So agricultural, environmental, health and the creation of vibrant rural communities are all part of agroecological approaches championed in this new publication.
“This publication aims to showcase successful examples from a diverse range of EU countries where a transition towards agroecology is already happening” says Arc2020 coordinator Samuel Feret. He continues “It gives clear indications for the priorities governments should have if they are serious about making good use of public money to support this transition.”
The brochure showcases not just best practice, but how the EU’s Common Agriculture Policy – CAP – can and should be used to deliver public goods for public services.
Best practice examples from around Europe, and from many agri-food sectors, are spotlighted. All were selected because they employ what is termed a ‘communities of practice’ approach to agroecology. This means that they work as a network of equal participants, with many actors, such as farmers, farming advisory services, local policy makers, food activists, rural networkers, scientists, conservation groups, local development companies and more working together.
The 10 case studies of the brochure are:
- Ireland. Organic farmers’ beef and sheep co-op and farmer led training initiatives.
- UK. Land access and vegetable supply network and co-operative regionalised around Manchester.
- Baltic. Best organic farming practices to reduce Nitrogen and Phosphorus pollution, as well as a networked approach to improving diets.
- Romania. Participatory seed distribution networks.
- Italy. Slow food’s valourisation and marketing of a traditional pear variety.
- Germany. Permanent grasslands and Ecological Focus Areas.
- France. The importance of local abattoirs to regional food systems.
- France. A results-based agri-environmental scheme and corollary flowering meadows competition, which encourages the blossoming of pollinator friendly landscapes.
- Poland. Organic fruit farmer initiatives to make old orchards in challenging terrain profitable.
- Greece. Making indigenous olive tress profitable through developing quality taste networks.
These best practice case studies are accompanied by six animated videos, one overviewing the CAP and agroecology, the other five representing case studies from Ireland, the UK, the Baltic, Romania and Italy. All videos can be found in adedicated poston the arc2020 site. Each of these five videos is hyperlinked in the brochure itself, and can be accessed simply by clicking on the hard drawn sketch which accompanies each of the five case studies.
This brochure and these videos “give some clear indications for the priorities governments should have, if they are serious about making good use of public money for supporting and scaling up an agroecological transition” Stanka Becheva Food and Agriculture Campaigner with Friends of the Earth Europe points out.
She adds: “With political will and investment this is what our food and farming systems could realistically look like in the future. It is now time for public policies to support this transition. Citizens demand farming systems that support the environment and sustainable rural-urban food economies – it is the responsibility of the EU and national policymakers to ensure that CAP funding is used for this”
Rural Development Programmes support under Pillar II of the CAP – although underfunded, remain the best vehicle for supporting this necessary agroecological transition – if implemented in the right way. Significantly more of the CAP budget needs to be invested in these approaches to improve the sustainability of the food chain and support sustainable farmers, rural communities and local economies across Europe” concludes Stephen Meredith, Policy Coordinator at IFOAM EU.
This brochure and these videos are part of the Making CAP work for society and the environment project, co-funded by the EU Commission DG AGRI and Rural Development support for measures relating to the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP).
The project page can be found on the arc2020 website.
A post detailing and showcasing the five case study animations, plus an introduction to CAP and agroecology, can be found here.