Study on the Food Commons in Europe

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* Upcoming Research Project: The Food Commons in Europe (DRAFT). By Antonio Manzoni, Jose Luis Vivero-Pol et al. .

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Subject: “Food Commons” in this research are considered common land where any type of food is produced/gathered/collected (coastlands included). Commons are territories either owned collectively or owned privately or publicly but governed collectively (either through customary institutions or contemporary arrangements). Either de facto or de iure.

Research gap: Food commons are invisible to EU food policies. There is no mention of “food commons” (or “commons” in general) in the new CAP, the “Farm to Fork” Strategy, the Biodiversity Strategy or the Green New Deal.

Proposed solution: To render the food commons visible by producing European/country preliminary estimates (hectares, people involved, type of arrangements, relevance for food production) and to produce policy recommendations for its inclusion in the EU document 🡪 The food commons is a reality that cannot be ignored anymore by EU institutions and policymakers.


The main aim of this research project is to give a state of the art of the current food-producing common lands (the basis of the food commons) across all the EU member states. The idea is to generate evidence - through the cooperation of various scholars and activists across Europe that would seek to obtain an estimated percentage of hectares per country and in total. There is a substantial portion of Europe lands that is devoted to food-commons production (estimated between 7-10%), and to present this result as something that cannot be ignored anymore by our Common Agricultural Policy, especially in light of the new synergy with the Green Deal and its associated strategies, first of all the “From Farm to Fork” strategy. Based on the results obtained, the final part of the paper would be devoted to offer proactive proposals to EU CAP policy-makers to consider the food commons a reality in their future legislation. The result will be a co-authored paper with as many contributors as possible (to increase knowledge sources and epistemic regards on commons, support legitimacy and geographical coverage and having a broader constituency to advocate for the food commons later on).

More information

Contact: Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Pisa, Italy. [email protected]