The need for a ‘Common Food Policy’

250 people came together to discuss the need for a ‘Common Food Policy’ – a food policy for the EU that is comprehensive enough to reshape the food environment; geared towards establishing sustainable food systems; and democratic.

IPES Food & Farming Forum, Brussels (Image by IPES Food)

Over the course of two days, a total of 117 proposals for change were presented to the delegates. These proposals were inspired by five policy labs IPES-Food convened in Brussels, four local labs held in Freiburg, Milan, Montpellier and Turin, and collaborative work with over 30 research and civil society organisations.


At the EU Food and Farming Forum, on 29-30 May, participants reviewed these proposals in successive rounds of roundtable discussions, bringing together delegates from a wide range of perspectives. Some proposals were set aside, because they were unable to garner sufficient support; others were broadly endorsed; many were reformulated; and some new suggestions were presented.

Basis for a Sustainable Food Scoreboard

Around 50 ‘priority’ proposals emerged from the deliberation, providing the basis for the Sustainable Food Scoreboard – the series of time-bound and interrelated actions that should be taken to move towards sustainable food systems in Europe. This Scoreboard will be completed over the coming weeks; in parallel, the proposals will be further developed into legal terms with the help of a team of specialized lawyers. The broader consensus emerging from EU3F – the diverse ideas and principles to guide food systems reform – will be captured later this year in IPES-Food’s final report on a ‘A Common Food Policy for the EU’.

Global Nature Fund and Lake Constance Foundation informed about the EU Life Project Food & Biodiversity and provided input to the successive rounds of roundtable discussions based on the position paper „How to reinforce biodiversity performance in the future Common Agricultural Policy“, published in May 2018 by the partner consortium of the EU Life Project Team.

The process was as important as the outcomes of EU3F. New alliances were forged between constituencies which in the past had worked together only rarely, or not at all. Public health specialists and nutritionists met with environmental NGOs, uniting on a common interest for agroecology and low-input farming; anti-poverty groups found common cause with peasant farming organizations in demanding a fair price for producers as well as social protection to secure access to healthy diets; development NGOs and biodiversity and soil health advocates were united in their concerns about the impacts of export-led agriculture on local markets in the global South and on ecosystems in Europe.