We are a broad range of organisations -see list in "who are we"- – who are concerned with the future of food and agriculture in Europe. As in other regions in the world, the number of people and organizations that are working towards a fairer, more inclusive and sustainable food system is growing. Many of them are actively engaged in building a viable alternative to the current food production, distribution and consumption - from the bottom up. This new system of food and agriculture is firmly grounded on equity, the universal right to food, good governance and transparency.
A wide range of renewed activities such as increasing local food production, local markets, local procurement, seed swaps and so on has been emerging and growing across Europe. In addition new movements, such as the Transition Town movement, GM-free regions and national and local debates on food policy show increasing public support for another form of food and agriculture.
Yet, grassroots activities and local movements are not enough. We believe it is time to build a broad coalition of groups at the European level to challenge the current Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) and the European Commission's and our governments' avowed plans for a renewed CAP in 2013. Their vision is, to keep the global 'competitiveness' of Europe's food industry as the chief objective of Europe's CAP. The political process for the new CAP 2013 is starting now. We believe a strong message is needed, not only for EU policy makers, but for policy makers in our countries – a vision for a CAP suitable for the 21st century.
We have created a "European Food Declaration: towards a healthy, sustainable, fair and mutually supportive Common Agriculture and Food Policy". It outlines what we think the policy objectives of a CAP for the next decades should be. We invite as many organizations, groups and individuals as possible to sign this declaration and to use it as a tool to promote the discussion about what kind of food and agriculture policy we need. We also ask you to share this declaration with other grassroots, civil society, environment and food organisations that are actively engaged in building a better food system. Our aim is to collect as many signatures within our different networks before the end of February 2010. Early February, we will invite the public to sign the declaration. This declaration is the first step in our efforts to build a broad movement for change towards food sovereignty policies and practices in Europe, including the EU. We are also planning a Europe-wide forum in 2011 for people and organisations who are concerned about these issues and who would like to join forces in order to reach our common objectives together. If you are interested to be involved in the preparation of that forum or could help us to organise that forum please contact us.
We, the undersigned, believe that the European Union needs to meet the urgent challenges Europe is facing regarding food and agriculture.
After more than a half-century of industrialisation of agriculture and food production, sustainable family farming and local food cultures have been substantially reduced in Europe. Today, our food system is dependent on under-priced fossil fuels, does not recognize the limitations of water and land resources, and supports unhealthy diets high in calories, fat and salt, and low in fruit, vegetables and grains. Looking ahead, rising energy costs, drastic losses in biodiversity, climate change and declining water and land resources threaten the future of food production. At the same time, a growing world population faces the potential dual burden of widespread hunger and chronic diseases due to overconsumption.
We will only be able to address these challenges successfully with a completely different approach to food and agriculture policies and practices. The European Union must recognize and support the crucial role of sustainable family farming in the food supply of the population. All people should have access to healthy, safe, and nutritious food. The ways in which we grow, distribute, prepare and eat food should celebrate Europe's cultural diversity, providing sustenance equitably and sustainably.
The present Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) is currently being debated and is due for change in 2013. After decades of the domination by transnational corporations and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in determining food and agriculture policy, it is time for people in Europe to re-appropriate agriculture and food policy: it is time for food sovereignty. We believe a new Common Food and Agriculture Policy should guarantee and protect citizens' space in the EU and candidate countries and their ability and right to define their own models of production, distribution and consumption following the principles outlined below.
The new Common Food and Agriculture Policy:
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