Green Food is not Fashion
Thursday, December 4th, 2014
The global food system is broken; whereas almost 842 million people worldwide are chronically undernourished, 1.5 billion people are overweight. The European food system accounts for almost a third of the EU’s consumption related greenhouse gas emissions, and is responsible for biodiversity loss and deforestation. Studies suggest that 90 million tonnes of food are being wasted annually in Europe, whilst food accounts for 29% of all consumption-derived greenhouse gas emissions.
What can be done to make food consumption and production more efficient and sustainable?
The Europe 2020 strategy tried to offer a new perspective: the Commission presented on 18 November 2010 a Communication on "The CAP towards 2020", which outlines options for the future Common Agriculture Policy and launched the debate with the other institutions and with stakeholders. In this context, through its response to the new economic, social, environmental, climate-related and technological challenges facing our society, the Common Agricultural Policy can contribute more to developing intelligent, sustainable and inclusive growth. By the launch of the public debate on the CAP's future organized by the Commissioner Cioloş a great outcome was reached. There were found lots of reasons for the realization of that reform: CAP ensures Europeans have stable food supplies at reasonable prices; it offers training for farmers, assistance to young farmers starting up, in fact Subsidies are increasingly orientated toward rural development etc.etc.
Now aren't we curious to know what's on the other side? Does the CAP really work as it should?
No, It doesn't. The idea that the CAP protects small farmers and the rural way of life is a myth. Eighty percent of CAP aid goes to just 25 percent of farms. The biggest slice of the subsidy pie is handed to the landed gentry, environment- destroying mega-farm and vast agro-industrial conglomerates. Food industry giants like Campina or Nestle have been handed hundreds of millions. Small-scale European farmers get little and poor farmers in developing nations are shut out of European markets. It is actually helping the rich get richer.
The food lobby is a “menace to the public and it has disrupted and basically destroyed the Common Agricultural Policy in its own interests. It’s greedy, inefficient and it has to stop. We want the Common Agricultural Policy to become a Common Sustainable Food Policy.”, as Edward McMillan-Scott said , a British MEP with the Liberal Democrats and a Vice-President of the European Parliament.
The CAP must also take greater account of the wealth and diversity of agriculture in the EU Member States, but most of all it has to be done closer to citizens at national, regional or even local level.
Then, What can an individual do? Well, we are all consumers. We can try to strengthen that part of the market that is produced more sustainably with more respect for animal welfare, for lower pesticide use and less chemical substances used. So, as a consumer, we have a way of influencing what is sold and therefore what will eventually be produced. And we can obviously also work to influence policy-making at our national and at the European level by electing people who stand for those issues.
Are YOU prepared to change your shopping list in order to eat healthier and more sustainably? Do you agree that food health and sustainability should be a priority for governments as well as citizens? Do you think the food industry is doing enough to encourage healthy and sustainable diets?
Here there is a site in which are linked some organic markets you can find in Italy.
To eat organic food it has actually became the fashion: this is totally wrong because it doesn't give importance to the urgency of that issue.
Apart from organic or bio food, can you remember the last time you bought food from a local greengrocer instead of a supermarket?
Be the change you wish to see in the world.
Nicoletta Amato, European Generation
EU organic logo