Presenting the European Commission with concrete Farm to Form strategy inspiration
At the European Week of Regions and Cities last month, ICLEI Europe and the Committee of the Regions formally handed the European Commission a manifesto and petition calling for the EU’s Farm to Fork strategy to ambitiously advance sustainable food transformation.
Taken together, these are “two very concrete inspirations for the implementation of the EU Farm to Fork strategy, in particular its objectives on sustainable food procurement and on the EU School Scheme”, explained Peter Defranceschi, Head of ICLEI’s Global CityFood Program.
The manifesto and petition were handed over to Alexandra Nikolakopoulou, Head of the Farm to Fork strategy Unit at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Health and Food Safety. Mayor Laura Rodrigues of ICLEI Member Torres Vedras (Portugal) handed over the Manifesto, while Amalia Ochoa, ICLEI Europe coordinator and youth representative Luna Defranceschi presented the school meals petition.
What do these documents call for?
The Sustainable Food Procurement manifesto calls for a minimum standard for public canteens across the EU as part of implementing the Farm to Fork strategy. It contains seven actionable propositions, each with a defined target, underlying procurement criteria, and guiding instructions on how to assess target achievement.
The Healthy School Meals petition, which has over 8600 signatures to date (and counting!), urges EU and national policy makers to guarantee sustainable school meals as part of the EU Farm to Fork strategy. Using the hashtag #SmallPlateBigImpact, it presents school food procurement as a relatively small action that can help achieve a large number of global Sustainable Development Goals. More concretely it calls for healthy meals for all school children, and making territorially-informed food education standard in curricula.
Reception from the Commission
The feedback during the handover was reassuring. Nikolakopoulou remarked: “I find it very interesting that in the Manifesto there is a recognition of the close links between health, economy and environment, so we see criteria that touch upon the three dimensions of sustainability. This is absolutely great.”
Mayor Tunc Soyer of ICLEI Member Izmir (Turkey), who also sits on ICLEI’s Global Executive Committee, said that Izmir is, “eager to carry out our work in kindergartens and transform the understanding of our food by supporting schools”. And, Arno Kompatscher, President of South Tyrol (Italy) and Committee of the Regions member added that the minimum standards for public canteens that are presented in these documents: “fit perfectly with the goals of the EU Green Deal.” He went on to say that, “There is great hope that our demands will fall on fertile ground at the EU Parliament and the EU Commission.”
ICLEI sees a clear momentum for a sustainable food system transformation, further accentuated by the recent announcement from the European Commission that a legislative framework for sustainable food systems, including an impact assessment, will be published by the third quarter of 2023.