We already knew the global food system was broken. Controlled by corporate powers, it drives destruction of natural ecosystems and contributes massively to climate breakdown. Most importantly, it is unfair: it does not guarantee fair prices and safe jobs for many farmers, leading millions of them into bankruptcy, nor provides the diets Europeans need for the future – less meat and dairy, more plant-based food, ecologically produced and affordable.
Despite ample research and evidence of its failure, European politicians have doubled down on maintaining this system. Now that the COVID-19 crisis has hit, those weaknesses are laid bare again.
As politicians scramble to respond to the crisis and put recovery funds together, efforts must focus on building the food system of the future, not patching up the system of the past. A third of the EU’s budget is used to maintain the current system through agricultural subsidies from the common agricultural policy (CAP). Public money drives the type of farming we have, it should support farming that provides public goods.
We must scrap the CAP and start fresh to build a truly just and sustainable food system in Europe, rewriting the rules on how billions of euro of public funding for farming are used.
The first steps to more just, ecological and healthier European food systems are:
- Public funding for farmers, not hectares
- Feed people, not animals
- More veggies, better health
- Fund food production – not fuel and globalised trade