European Commission prioritises local food

The European Commission wants to stop small farmers “…falling through a gap in the net,” policy officer Branka Tome told a local food conference in Coventry which took place at the start of July. Successive food crises point to failures and breakdowns in long food supply chains, such as the recent horsemeat substitution scandals.

Local food production is a potentially sustainable bulwark against unsustainable and overstretched food supply chains. “We’ve got to think big,” keynote speaker Dr Tim Lang (inset) warned delegates, “because finance sees big trouble coming.”

Delegates at the Food From Here conference organised by the Centre for Agroecology and Food Security (CAFS) also heard international speakers from Holland, Hungary and France. Every one had clear but differing ideas of what constituted ‘local’ food.

A downloadable conference supplement is available here

Local food projects have a strong resonance with those who support them, often for very diverse reasons. “Local is a powerful word,” conference organiser Dr Moya Kneafsey told ARC2020, but it has more power than precision.

Kneafsey is the lead researcher of a report on short food chains across the EU, produced for the European Commission. Short Food Supply Chains and Local Food Systems in the EU was published earlier this year.

Peter Crosskey
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Peter Crosskey is based in the UK.