Study I Policy Principles for Sustainable Food Systems in Europe

“What policies do we need to build a sustainable food system? …. This report proposes a conceptual framework and carries out an assessment of the existing policy infrastructure with the purpose of suggesting points of entry for a policy-led transition towards food sustainability in Europe.”

Galli et al. (2018) Laboratorio di Studi Rurali Sismondi, Pisa

“There is an urgent need for the EU to build a sustainable, healthy and resilient food system. The current approach to food and farming is too much of a patchwork of incoherent and competing policies that are not attuned to promoting people’s health, the environment and the welfare of the farming community.”

EPHA, Friends of the Earth Europe, IFOAM EU, Slow Food

The transition towards a healthy, sustainable and resilient European food system requires a fundamental revision of the current policy infrastructure covering food and agriculture. This is the core conclusion of a scoping study carried out by the University of Pisa, jointly commissioned by EPHA, Friends of the Earth Europe, IFOAM EU and Slow Food.*

The study analysed ten EU policies to assess their contribution to a sustainable food and farming system, only to uncover considerable weaknesses in policy design. Fundamentally, it found that food and agricultural policies were not conceived in a systemic and integrated way in pursuit of strategic sustainability objectives. The lack of focus on the health, governance and resilience dimensions of sustainability were considered to be particularly important omissions.

As a remedy, the study recommends the adoption of an overarching policy framework that operates through a ‘policy-mix’ of demand-and supply-side instruments covering different governance levels. It also stresses the need to take the ‘food environment’ as a key reference point to promote integrative policy-making.

A joint policy briefing summarising the main points of the study and applying its lessons to the reform of the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) was produced by the commissioning organisations and can be downloaded above.

* Galli F., Favilli E., D’Amico S., Brunori G. A transition towards sustainable food systems in Europe. Food policy blue print scoping study. Laboratorio di Studi Rurali Sismondi, Pisa, Italy, 2018. ISBN: 978889089604

All views contained with this report are attributable solely to the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the commissioning organisations or their funders.

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