European Advocacy Topics
European policies affect us all.
Let’s get them right.
Following years of impactful advocacy work targeting European decision-makers, and given the widespread diffusion of our movement throughout Europe, in 2011 we decided to increase our impact in the region under the coordination of Slow Food Europe. Then, in 2013 Slow Food opened its office in Brussels, the home of the EU Parliament, to ensure our advocacy work reverberates around the halls of power.
We have since been at the forefront of the fight for a better food and farming system in the EU, translating our grassroots actions into policy work and elevating local or national issues to European and international level.
The different elements of the EU’s food system continue to be regulated by disconnected policies and authorities, often with contradicting results. We believe this must change to reflect the overlap between the various aspects of the food system. Our solution is a Common Food Policy which enables a holistic approach to our food system to include our environment, our health and our food producers.
This Common Food Policy should align policies on agriculture, rural development, environment, trade, health, animal welfare, fisheries, food safety, and development, among others, and set the direction of travel, bringing together a variety of initiatives and measures under one roof to facilitate the transition to sustainable food systems.
Slow Food focuses its European work on key EU policies that shape various aspects of food production, agriculture, fisheries, and their effects on biodiversity, and climate change.
Through its advocacy campaigns and lobbying, Slow Food Europe aims to raise awareness and positively impact the development of food policies. We focus primarily on the following topics:
AgricultureEurope’s current Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is the EU’s oldest policy, and is in need of radical reform. It perpetuates a model of agriculture that depletes Earth’s finite resources and damages the environment. It also contributes to climate change, biodiversity loss, deforestation, soil erosion and water scarcity, not to mention water and air pollution and the depletion of fisheries. Europe’s agricultural policy subsidizes factory animal farming which is largely dependent on imports of feed and represents a major source of antimicrobial resistance. Factory animal farming and industrial agriculture have been promoted at the expense of viable incomes for farmers and jobs in rural areas in Europe, degrading human rights, working conditions, and farmers’ livelihoods in developing countries. Slow Food stands in defense of the environment, biodiversity, animal welfare, and small-scale farmers. It promotes a model for agriculture that puts emphasis on local agriculture, short distribution chains, and closed local cycles of production and consumption. It is a model that prioritizes soil fertility, the presence of people in the countryside, and the protection of biodiversity. From this perspective, Slow Food promotes a European food system based on agroecological small-scale food production and diversified local economies.
Slow Food promotes a model for agriculture based on local agriculture, short distribution chains, and locally closed cycles of production and consumption. It is a model that prioritizes soil fertility, the presence of people in the countryside, and biodiversity protection.
Slow Food also urgently asks that the principles of agroecology be introduced into agricultural production systems.
Agroecology is based on the conservation and management of agricultural resources through participation, traditional knowledge and adaptation to local conditions. One of agroecology’s greatest concerns is agrobiodiversity, considered a primary component of agroecosystems and a source of ecosystem services.
The use of agroecology as a scientific term dates back to the 1970s, but many of its solutions have been applied throughout history by rural communities around the world. This ancient body of knowledge has been systematically put aside or forgotten with the arrival of the so-called “Green Revolution”, which introduced a model of agriculture based on high levels of energy-rich external inputs, like the widespread use of synthetic agricultural chemicals and powerful machinery run on fossil fuels.
As the years passed, the long-term unsustainability of agriculture based on high external inputs became increasingly evident, both from an environmental perspective and in terms of the productivity of agricultural systems. Today, agricultural science and practice are reorienting themselves towards more sustainable practices and are reconsidering the value of traditional agricultural models. These often use methods that preserve soil fertility, varietal choices, and rotation and intercropping practices that can represent the most efficient and effective way of maintaining the productive capacity of agricultural systems.
Slow Food Europe advocates for policies that support the development of agroecological practices, for further investments to be made to develop agroecology, and for research to be conducted to improve knowledge about agroecological practices.
The unsustainability of our food system is particularly evident in the livestock sector. Each year the welfare of millions of animals raised for their meat, milk, and eggs for human consumption is often seriously compromised. Animals pay a harsh price in the current system; factory farms reduce animals to mere machines and commodities. They are packed into tight cages or confined to small spaces where they spend a short but painful life.
Living in these conditions makes animals more prone to diseases. In many intensive farms they are therefore routinely injected with vaccines and antibiotics, posing a risk to those who consume their meat. The EU livestock sector consumes more antibiotics than the human medical sector, and is contributing to the spread of antimicrobial resistance, which accounts for 33,000 deaths per year in the EU.
The intensive production of meat requires vast amounts of land to allow space for grazing and the production of animal feed. The intensive production of animal feed has devastating impacts on the environment. It is estimated that cattle raising is responsible for about 80% of all deforestation in the Amazon region. of methane and nitrous oxide – more powerful GHGs than CO2 – and is projected to account for 72% of those emissions by 2030.
The current system also poses a great threat to the livelihood of small-scale farmers who cannot keep up with the competition of big producers and the low prices of industrial meat production.
Since the early 1990’s, the European Union has been on the forefront concerning animal welfare legislation.
Much has been achieved over the years: Barren battery cages for hens have been outlawed, as have sow stalls (after the first few weeks of pregnancy) and the tethering of sows and veal crates. However, much still remains to be done and at the heart of the problem lay issues of enforcement and implementation.
Slow Food is convinced that a greater coherence on food policies at the EU level is needed and, in this respect, hopes that the Common Agricultural Policy measures on animal welfare will provide real support to farmers. In particular, it is necessary to introduce measures that take into consideration the cost of animal welfare by supporting farmers who voluntary choose to improve their standards beyond those required by law. Slow Food will furthermore strive for the full recognition of animal welfare as an element in future EU strategies on the sustainability of the food system. That is why Slow Food joined the European Citizens Initiative, which collected over 1 million signatures in the EU to ban the use of cages in animal farming.
Watch the European Commission’s video on animal welfare, in which Piero Sardo, Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity President, explains Slow Food’s position on animal welfare..
Position Paper (2022)
- Policy Brief on Animal Welfare (2023): English | Italian
- Animal Welfare Policy in the European Union: Where Are We Now? Where Are We Heading? (2021): English
Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)
The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is one of the oldest EU’s policies. After more than a decade of post-World War II food shortages and hunger, it was introduced in 1962 to increase agricultural production, and to ensure that people could have food at affordable prices and that farmers would earn a fair living for their work.
Today, the CAP accounts for about 40 % of the EU’s budget and is failing in many of its objectives, especially concerning its environmental and sustainability goals. Overall the CAP is not a champion in supporting sustainable farming, as its structure is still too rooted into an old system that rewards the farmer on a base of how many hectares are cultivated rather than supporting a full transition to ecological practices and granting economic support on the base of strong environmental conditionalities.
Slow Food, along with other civil society organizations, has been a vocal critic of the new CAP reform, which is planned for the 2021-2027 period. Slow Food’s network has been active in the yearly campaign, which demands that CAP be transformed to meet the ecological, social, and economic challenges we face. Specifically, Slow Food asks:
- To counter the loss of small-scale community-based farming and deliver decent working conditions for farmers and farmworkers
- To end the blind per-hectare farm payments paid to farmers, and replace them with targeted funding and support that promotes the transition to agroecology
- To tackle the climate crisis, restore soil-fertility and biodiversity, protect water, reduce energy- and chemical dependencies, and promote animal welfare through targeted funding
- To prioritize seasonal, local, and fair production of fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and meat, ensuring access to healthy, nutritious, and affordable diets for all.
For an alignment between the CAP and the EU Green Deal, and the integration of the Farm to Fork and the Biodiversity Strategies targets within the CAP.
Slow Food will continue fighting for a green and more sustainable agriculture in Europe, and for integration of agricultural policy with other food policies, including health, animal welfare, youth, environmental, and cultural policies.
To learn more about the CAP and the state of agriculture in the EU, check out the !
Joint letter to the European Commission : “Derogations to CAP conditionality in 2023 are unacceptable” (2022): English
Policy Brief: Slow Food’s CAP Review 2018:English
Survey and Recommendations: Slow Food’s Contribution to the Debate on the Future of Food and Farming (2018):
Consultation Response: Slow Food’s response to the consultation process launched by the DG for Agriculture On the CAP legislative framework: English
BiodiversityDefending biodiversity has been at the center of our mission since the foundation of our movement. Slow Food promotes the diversity of life at every level—from the micro (genetic biodiversity including microorganisms like bacteria) to the macro (ecosystem diversity). Our work to promote sustainable food systems protects not only wild biodiversity, such as wild bird and insect species, but also agrobiodiversity. The latter encompasses the domestic species of animals and plant varieties whose existence is the result of thousands of years of selection by peasant and pastoral communities, soil biodiversity, and the diversity of traditional processed products (such as cheeses, breads and cured meats). Without biodiversity in all its forms, nature would be driven to extinction. And yet intensive and industrialized agricultural systems, pollution, overbuilding, and the interests of global trade have put biodiversity under existential threat. The decline of wild pollinators is particularly alarming; in Europe, 1 in 10 bee and butterfly species are on the verge of extinction, largely due to pesticides. Slow Food helps protect biodiversity by preserving knowledge and know-how (mapping of traditional products, native breeds, and local vegetable varieties and ecotypes), supporting farmers, fishers, and food artisans who cultivate and protect agrobiodiversity, and advocating for sustainable food systems.
At the EU level, Slow Food advocates for policies that support pesticide-free agriculture, soil regeneration and seed biodiversity. To join our call for the European Commission to support an agricultural model that allows farmers and biodiversity to thrive in harmony, sign the Save Bees and Farmers European Citizens Initiative.
- Position Paper on Biodiversity (2020): Italian | English
- Position Paper on Biodiversity (2021) – short version: Italian | English | Spanish | Portuguese | German | French | Japanese | Finnish
Policy Brief on Biodiversity to the UNCBD and national goverments (2022): English
Study: Artisan Cheese Production – does hygiene policy help or hinder? (2015): English
- Slow Food Presidia in Europe, a Model of Sustainability: Italian | English
- Monitoring and assessment of good practices on the role of small-scale farmers in the protection of biodiversity and ecosystems: Italian | English
- An analysis Of five best practices in Europe, starting with the experience of the network of Slow Food Presidia: Italian | English
- Joint Information Document by Slow Food and Europarc: On Agriculture and Biodiversity in Protected Areas:
Italian | English
After oceans, soil is the planet’s second largest reserve of carbon (or carbon “sink”). In fact, one third of all living species are found in the soil which makes it a great reserve of biodiversity.
Soil provides the nutrients and water needed to produce food. It filters rainwater and sends it back into circulation, clean and drinkable. It regulates the climate by storing carbon (carbon sequestration); in fact, more carbon is stored in the subsoil than in the atmosphere and all the forests together.
Today, soils are at risk in many countries around the world, including Europe. Erosion, contamination by pollutants, salinization, sealing due to the rise of urbanization and infrastructure construction, are causing its inexorable degradation. Europe loses 970 million tonnes of soil every year, with more than 11% of the EU’s territory affected by moderate to high soil erosion.
A clear driver of the degradation of soil is the industrialization of agriculture which rapidly accelerated after the First and Second World Wars, when the war industry was converted into the production of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. This new model of agriculture based on chemical fertilizers, high-yielding seeds, pesticides, weedkillers, and monocultures have increased yields and tripled agricultural production, but they have also caused major damage to soil biodiversity by drastically reducing its organic matter, in other words its fertility.. Soil has for too long been considered as an inert support for cultivation, without taking into account its natural aptitudes or the threats to biodiversity and environmental equilibriums.
It takes thousands of years to create a few centimeters of fertile soil, but just a few decades to destroy it. If the soil cannot host and sustain life anymore, it is impossible to produce wholesome food. The impact on health, food security, biodiversity, the climate, and the economy is significant, and the consequences are clear.
Slow Food Europe advocates for sustainable food systems in the EU and calls on the EU to promote soil protection and agroecological farming practices in all relevant policies, such as the Common Agricultural Policy, the Rural Development and Structural Policy and the Water Framework Directive.
Here are 4 reasons to save the soils of Europe!
Slow Food’s answer to the EU Consulation about the proposal of a Soil Health Law (2022): English
Bees and Pesticides
We can all help save the bees!
Honeybee populations, both wild and domesticated, are dramatically decreasing all over the world. Along with bees, other pollinating insects such as bumblebees, butterflies and moths, are also showing a striking decline:
Several root causes can be blamed for the dramatic issue of falling bee populations:
• Pathological factors: bees suffer from specific diseases and parasites that weaken them and often kill them.
• Climate factors: climate change has an impact on bees, for instance by changing flowering periods, which can catch bee colonies unprepared.
• Environmental factors: industrial monocultures destroy biodiversity by using large quantities of insecticides, herbicides and fungicides, which are highly toxic and often lethal. Neonicotinoids for instance, the world’s most commonly used insecticides, are used on almost all crops and are often applied directly to the seeds, pervading the plant. In January 2013, the EFSA officially recognized the high toxicity of clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam, then later in the year, fipronil. But the fight is far from over.
Bees play a critical and valuable role in our planet’s lifecycle, helping to ensure:
• Diversity in our diets. Without the pollination carried out by bees, a high number of wild and cultivated plant species would no longer exist, and our diets would be much poorer and less varied. around 84% of crop species and 78% of wildflower species in the EU depend at least in part on animal pollination, and up to almost 15 billion euros of the EU’s annual agricultural output is directly attributed to insect pollinators.
• The planet’s well-being. Animal pollination plays a vital . Globally, nearly 90 per cent of wild flowering plant species depend, at least in part, on the transfer of pollen by animals (including insects). These plants are critical for the continued functioning of ecosystems as they provide food, form habitats and provide other resources for a wide range of other species.
What can you do?
- Choose local and organic products, grown without the use of pesticides and neonicotinoids, in differentiated agricultural systems.
- Take a stand and advocate for policies that support agricultural practices that are compatible with bees and the environment.
- Ask your politicians to ban harmful pesticides and favor sustainable farming systems.
- Plant a wildlife-friendly garden.
Check out the for facts and figures about the importance of insects in Europe!
Dave Goulson is a Professor of Biology at the University of Sussex and the author of several books about pollinator ecology and bumblebee conservation. In this Terra Madre 2020 Food Talk, Dave Goulson explains what we can all do to help reverse the potentially catastrophic decline of the insect species who pollinate our crops.
- Joint Position Paper on Bees and Agriculture (Slow Food, Bee Life): Italian | English
- Policy Brief On pesticides (2013): Italian | English | French
- Joint Statement : For an Ambitious Pesticides Regulation that Protects People, Biodiversity and Ecosystems (2023): English
Slow Food’s Response the EU Public Consultation on the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive (2021): English
All of our food is born from seeds; they are at the very beginning of the food chain. Selecting and producing seeds means continuing the fertility cycle and ensuring the availability of crops for the subsequent year. Since the selection of seeds entails choosing the best fruits, seed selection helps to improve plant and seed varieties which, year after year, will continue to progress in terms of weight, yield, and capacity to germinate.
The continuous rise of industrial agriculture and its need for uniformity, homogenization and its focus on profit, has resulted in a concentration of the species and a reduction in the number of varieties of plants, leading to a terrible loss of plant biodiversity. The numbers speak for themselves: out of the 80,000 edible species available for food production, only 150 are currently grown, 8 of which are sold on a global scale. The loss of seed and plant biodiversity has led to less diverse and healthy ecosystems and diets, and the loss of gastronomic heritage.
We therefore have a duty and a responsibility towards seeds. We must protect and preserve them in order to guarantee richness and variety in our meals, but also to safeguard their biological and cultural heritage of diversity. Seeds of all different varieties are the present and future of life; they should be protected irrespective of cost effectiveness as they could be carriers of fundamental characteristics potentially useful in the future, such as adaptation to climate change.
EU seed legislation currently includes 12 directives. Adopted in the 1960s and 1970s, they had a double aim: the increase of crop productivity thanks to the legal guarantees of the distribution system of high-yielding varieties (through certification and official registration); and the protection of buyers from potential scams. In 2013, in an attempt to update and simplify these directives, the European Commission put forward a regulatory proposal on production and supply to the market. In 2014, the EU Parliament rejected it, and asked the Commission to propose a reformed proposal that takes individual Member States’ interests into greater account and that truly benefits food producers.
Slow Food is calling for a new regulation on seeds that combines the production and availability of high-quality seeds with the effective protection of biodiversity. The new regulation should pay particular attention to traditional seeds and their link to land and traditional knowledge. It should allow the exchange of varieties amongst small-scale producers and between producers and enthusiasts, while regulating their sale based on adequate and non-penalizing requisites. It should support farmers who cultivate diversity and should offer opportunities to further support the work of these guardians of registered varieties, in recognition of the role they play in the conservation and production of agricultural biodiversity.
Traditional and heirloom varieties must be promoted, while necessary tests and checks for consumer safety must be guaranteed. Slow Food is calling for the adoption of an EU legal framework that:
- Respects international agreements ratified by the European Union, with particular regard for the ;
- Safeguards biodiversity through voluntary and free registration of seed varieties;
- Guarantees the safety and traceability of traditional seeds on the market, by introducing a series of requirements based on different methods of agricultural and seed production;
- Does not limit the freedom to exchange traditional seeds and encourages a sense of responsibility among those who handle seeds.
Watch realized by Slow Food.
Climate ChangeClimate change is one of the most urgent and complex challenges we face today. Many of its root causes lie in the industrial food and farming systems, which globally contribute up to 30% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Industrial agriculture exacerbates pollution and the greenhouse effect—with intensive livestock breeding releasing huge quantities of pollutants into the atmosphere—while food waste has reached around 1.3 billion tons of food every year: a third of all the food produced.
Slow Food believes that one way to fight and prevent climate change is to move away from industrial agriculture and towards diversified agroecological food systems. Agroecology depends less on fossil fuels, adopts techniques designed to retain humidity and carbon dioxide in the soil, prevents soil erosion, manages water resources efficiently, and slows down desertification. Slow Food also advocates for strong food waste and loss reduction targets at the national and EU levels, at all stages of the food chain.
Food waste has reached frightening proportions:In the Global North, there is an excess of food produced and bought, which often ends up in the bin even before it perishes. food wastage amounts to between 280 – 300 kilos per capita each year, cutting across every phase of production: from harvest, to processing and distribution, all the way to our kitchens. In the Global South, on the other hand, food is wasted for lack of adequate infrastructure, storage facilities and transport. But food is also wasted where its production for the production of biofuels, biogas, and large quantities of feed for animals competes with food for humans. In some parts of the planet, this competition is heavily biased towards the interests of speculators and agribusiness. In addition to being a problem of great ethical value, food waste necessarily leads to senseless pressure on Earth’s natural resources. Overproduction means using more energy and prime materials than necessary. Food waste is responsible for roughly 5% of carbon emissions that cause global warning, and for 20% of the pressure on biodiversity. No less than 30% of the land dedicated to agriculture is used to produce food that never reaches its destination, while the use of water of wasted food (that is, the consumption of surface and groundwater resources) is about 250 cubic kilometers per year, three times the volume of Lake Geneva. The great paradox with food waste is that it which occurs at every step of the food supply chain, all the while one billion people suffer from hunger worldwide. It is the clearest symptom of a distorted and unsustainable food system that treats food as merchandise and deprives it of all its cultural, social, and environmental values. Therefore, Slow Food’s action aims at putting food back at the center, in both personal and public spheres, by demonstrating its priceless value from economic, environmental, social, and cultural points of view. Food waste is unacceptable and fighting it is a fundamental aspect of Slow Food’s mission.
- Appeal To the representatives of nations and international institutions meeting in Paris (COP 21) (2015):
Spanish | German | French | Portuguese
Food Waste and Food Losses
Food waste has reached frightening proportions:
In the Global North, there is an excess of food produced and bought, which often ends up in the bin even before it perishes. food wastage amounts to between 280 – 300 kilos per capita each year, cutting across every phase of production: from harvest, to processing and distribution, all the way to our kitchens.
In the Global South, on the other hand, food is wasted for lack of adequate infrastructure, storage facilities and transport. But food is also wasted where its production for the production of biofuels, biogas, and large quantities of feed for animals competes with food for humans. In some parts of the planet, this competition is heavily biased towards the interests of speculators and agribusiness.
In addition to being a problem of great ethical value, food waste necessarily leads to senseless pressure on Earth’s natural resources. Overproduction means using more energy and prime materials than necessary. Food waste is responsible for roughly 5% of carbon emissions that cause global warning, and for 20% of the pressure on biodiversity. No less than 30% of the land dedicated to agriculture is used to produce food that never reaches its destination, while the use of water of wasted food (that is, the consumption of surface and ground water resources) is about 250 cubic kilometers per year, three times the volume of Lake Geneva.
The great paradox with food waste is that it which occurs at every step of the food supply chain, all the while one billion people suffer from hunger worldwide. It is the clearest symptom of a distorted and unsustainable food system that treats food as merchandise and deprives it of all its cultural, social, and environmental values.
Therefore, Slow Food’s action aims at putting food back at the center, in both personal and public spheres, by demonstrating its priceless value from economic, environmental, social, and cultural points of view. Food waste is unacceptable and fighting it is a fundamental aspect of Slow Food’s mission.
Reducing food waste at the local level: Guidelines for municipalities to reduce food waste through the local supply chain | Written in collaboration with Zero Waste Europe (2021): English
Slow Food Feedback on the EU Inception Impact Assessment on Food Waste Reduction (2021): English
- Appeal To the representatives of nations and international institutions meeting in Paris (COP 21) (2015):
Common Food PolicySlow Food advocates for sustainable European food systems and believes that a shift in policy-making must occur; from a focus on agriculture to a food systems approach that encompasses the entire range of actors and activities involved in the production, processing, distribution, consumption and disposal of food products. That is why Slow Food has been calling for a shift towards an EU Common Food Policy. A Common Food Policy should address not only food production, farming, and trade, but also food and environmental quality, health, resource and land management, ecology, social and cultural values, and help reshape the entire agricultural and food market chain. Slow Food believes that the European food system should be environmentally, economically and socio-culturally sustainable. It should preserve biodiversity and natural resources, while generating long-term income for farmers and farm workers and guarantee their access to fundamental rights and well-being. Policymakers can no longer consider these aspects of sustainability in isolation. They are strongly interrelated and need to be analyzed and regulated through an integrated and holistic approach.
Since 2019, Slow Food Europe has been part of the which advocates for a transition to sustainable food systems at the European level through coherent and integrated policies. The EU Green Deal and the Farm to Fork Strategy announced by the European Commission in December 2019 are the EU’s first steps towards a common food policy, but there is still a long way to go. Slow Food and the coalition will continue their hard work and keep pushing for these new strategies to lead toward a transition to truly sustainable food systems.
- Position Paper: A Slow Food Vision to Good, Clean and Fair Food Systems in the EU (2023)
English | Italian | German
- Consultation Response: Slow Food’s Response to the EU consultation on the Inception Impact Assessment on the EU Sustainable Food System Framework (2021)
- Food Environments & EU Food Policy: Discovering the Role of Food Environments for Sustainable Food Systems (2021): English | French | Italian | Spanish
- Policy Brief: What Do the New EU Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies Mean for Slow Food? (2021): English | French | German | Italian
- Consultation Response: Slow Food’s Response to the EU consultation on the Farm to Fork Strategy (2020): English
- Slow Food Contribution to the Debate on the Sustainability of the Food System (2013):
Italian | English
- Joint Policy Brief: Transitioning Towards Sustainable Food Systems in Europe (Slow Food, EPHA, FoE, IFOAM EU) (2018): English
Food policy blueprint scoping study: A transition towards sustainable food systems in Europe (2018):
- Position Paper: A Slow Food Vision to Good, Clean and Fair Food Systems in the EU (2023)
FisheriesAround of the world’s population lives in coastal areas – oceans are hugely affected by all human activities, be they land-based or aquatic. As with agriculture, the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) initially focused mainly on the economic development of fisheries and on giving people access to as much fish as possible at the lowest prices possible, thus promoting and consolidating large industrial fishing fleets. However, it largely underestimated the effects of overfishing, habitat destruction, and damage to the balance of the ecosystem (not to mention climate change and pollution) and failed to factor in the effects on social cohesion and well-being of fishing communities.
Slow Food believes that oceans, rivers and lakes are our common goods, together with their resources, and that is why we advocate for a sense of collective responsibility. We owe it to ourselves to conserve these habitats as well as the livelihoods of small-scale, sustainable fishing communities, who play an essential role in providing jobs, food, and safeguarding our fragile aquatic ecosystems. Check out Slow Fish, the Slow Food campaign for sustainable fishing to delve deeper into this work.
Worldwide, Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) constitute a threat to food sovereignty, to farmers livelihoods, and to the environment and biodiversity. GMOs are often presented as a solution to hunger and food security, but so far they have not shown that they can provide any actual solutions to problem of hunger. Their development and their production, in fact, satisfy the economic interests of multinationals and contribute to the increase of corporate control, rather than the need to feed an expanding population.
As a consequences, small-scale farmers’ livelihoods and freedom to choose what they will produce is under threat. Furthermore, GMOs contribute to an agricultural model based on monocultures and high levels of pesticide use, which endanger both our biodiversity and farmers’ health.
Despite there being few authorizations for the production of GMOs in the EU, Europe is not “GMO-free”. The import of GMO corn and soy to feed animals raised in the EU, as well as the development of new techniques of gene editing (new GMOs) are issues on which Slow Food continues to fight tirelessly.
Slow Food advocates for pesticide and GMO-free food and animal feed. It stands firm for a future without pesticides and GMOs, a prospect that puts the value of food and the dignity of producers at its core.
Response to the EU Commission’s Report on New GMOs (2021)
Joint Statement on New Techniques of Genetic Engineering (2016)
Responsible Consumption and Food LabelingAlthough food consumption is largely determined by availability and consumers’ food environment, Slow Food believes that shopping for food is a fundamentally political act. The choices we make affect agricultural models and food policies, and leave a lasting impact on the environment and biodiversity. That is why Slow Food has always underlined the importance of labeling food products clearly. Clear labeling empowers consumers to make informed decisions and allows producers to emphasize their products’ specific qualities. Equipped with appropriate knowledge, consumers possess the power to shape food production and the market. Given the importance of their role, Slow Food has coined the term “co-producer” to highlight that our consumer choices can bring great change to how food is cultivated, produced, and distributed.
Slow Food contributes to the debate on food labeling taking place at the EU level, in particular on the topics of labeling of origin and geographical indications (Protected Designation of Origin, Protected Geographical Indication). Our movement even launched its project to deliver more complete and transparent information to customers.A narrative label does not replace mandatory labels, but supplements them: providing additional information regarding varieties and breeds, cultivation and processing methods, place of origin, animal welfare, and giving advice on storage and use. The narrative label already features on Slow Food Presidia products and represents a way of highlighting their competitive value based on their authentic difference.
Slow Food’s guides to responsible consumption
Food is a unique asset but, stripped of its spiritual, cultural and immaterial value, it is now regarded as just another consumer good. In a food system increasingly driven by market logic, food’s most important benchmark criterion is to be cheap, regardless of its intrinsic value.
This model, has favored the quick and aggressive development of the agri-food business, capable of supplying large quantities of cheap food, to the detriment of small farmers, the environment, and public health.
This system has broken the bond between the people who produce food and the people who eat it, leading to:
- a decreased sense of mutual responsibility;
- the dwindling of vital sources of knowledge;
- the impossibility for consumers to access information on the food they eat.
Slow Food is committed to reversing the logic of a system in which food value has been supplanted by food price by
- rebuilding the relationship between producers and consumers;
- restoring the value of food;
- making price reflect food’s fair and real value.
Slow Food believes that consumers can use their buying power to influence supply and production methods. They need to show an active interest in food and those who produce it, the methods they use and the problems they face.
Slow Food has coined the term “co-producer” to describe this new consumer model. By making informed, responsible choices, they forge a direct link with what is on their plate and with those who put it there. Co-producers are in a position make the choice to recognize food’s intrinsic value and pay the right price for it.
Equipped with appropriate knowledge, co-producers possess the power to redirect food production and contribute to the transition towards sustainable food systems!