ARC2020 Roadmap for Commons-Oriented European Agricultural Policy

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* Draft policy proposal: ARC2020 Call for action: Good Food - Good Farming and a living countryside. Draft for an ARC2020 Roadmap 2nd February 2015



"People around the world are concerned about the future of food and farming. In Europe and the United States, civil society organisations and citizens’ platforms like the ARC2020 have shared their skills, resources and knowledge to confront agro-industry and politicians with an undeniable truth: while short-term and blinkered economic policies might indeed cause social, environmental as well as economic disasters in the longer term, the continued industrialisation of farming and food production seriously endangers the very basis of our lives.

We call for action. We wish to further strengthen a broad alliance for good food, good farming and a living countryside. The warning signs must no longer be ignored: climate change, pollution and overexploitation of water; loss of biodiversity and soil fertility; dependence on fossil fuels and imported feed - all make our food supply less reliable and less resilient. Malnutrition in all its forms and the continued use of chemicals and antibiotics put our public health in danger. Growing concentration of market power of agri-food and chemical industries and retail sector, facilitated by unfair trade rules, undermine our farmers and citizens’ livelihoods and endanger our food quality. More of the same, wrong policies will not resolve these problems.

We want to work on solutions for future food and farming which are closer to citizens and to nature. We want our plants and animals to be cultivated and reared with greater responsibility and respect, - in rural and urban areas - in a way that secures quality of life and livelihoods for future generations. We want farming to preserve our natural resources, respecting the limits of ecosystems. We want farming and food systems to be based on agroecological principles. These include social and human rights’ principles and good stewardship of our nature and our resources.

We know that we have powerful vested interests against us. The global agri-food and chemical industries insist on business as usual, meaning continued economic growth at the expense of the natural and social web of life. Under their influence, recent reform attempts of the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) and the US Farm Bill have failed. In the EU, our proposals for radical change of farm policies were watered down to a pale "greening" layer - limited measures on monocultures and a shopping list of ideas for member states which might allow farmers to ignore basic agroecological practices.

In spite of this failure, we are encouraged by the many local and regional food initiatives and farmer-citizen movements which are emerging everywhere. People in urban and rural areas have started to build new food and farming systems from the bottom-up. However, industrial and unsustainable food and farming systems remain dominant. The ideology of global competition for growth in output and cheap food and the increasing price for land and equipment drive farmers out of business, instead of supporting the much needed generational renewal and fundamental transition towards resilient farming practices.

As European citizens, we want fundamental policy change to happen now.

Our power will emerge from reconnecting to our food and farming, to our nature and culture.

To achieve this goal, we commit ourselves to value and take good care of OUR NATURAL COMMONS: Land, Water, Plants, Animals, and the ecosystems they are part of.

We join forces to improve and share OUR COMMON KNOWLEDGE:

On nutrition, health, seed, land, agronomy and the web of life from the local to the global level in Research, Education, Nutrition, and Health.

We want Good Food and Good Farming to strengthen OUR COMMON VALUES:

In our Food Culture, Cooperation, Transparency, Democracy, Equity, Justice and Solidarity.

We will take ownership and stewardship of our COMMON GOODS and PUBLIC SPACE:

Including Public Money, Open Data, Markets, Jobs, Trade, and sustainable livelihoods. Bringing all these elements together and involving all legitimate stakeholders in a productive and joint process of change is what we would call a truly Common Food and Agricultural Policy of the European Union based on the principles of food sovereignty.

We have sketched out the following ARC2020 ROAD MAP for the coming five years."