New opportunities for common transatlantic action

Jim Harkness, Director of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) in Minneapolis, USA, recently visited Brussels. He believes that US and EU Civil Society Organisations should work together on CAP reform and US Farm Bill. He sent us the following message:

“The European Union and US Congress face some similar challenges in re-writing farm legislation next year: volatile markets, depopulated and depressed rural areas, entrenched corporate and sectoral interests, competing demands for food and farmland. And we are contending as well with shrinking budgets. The time is ripe for a strategic transatlantic conversation about how to defend and promote shared values of sustainability, food security and rural prosperity in these tough times. At the same time, we should recognize that a focus on immediate political agreements can also be limiting, because it forces us to think only in terms of goals that are short-term and constrained by current political possibility. Furthermore, food systems in Europe and the US are shaped not only by farm legislation, but also by a broader set of legal, economic, environmental and political structures. So in addition to looking at how to reform the next CAP and Farm Bill by 2012, civil society organizations from both sides of the Atlantic should be working together to develop a longer-term vision for building fair and resilient food systems for the 21st century.

So some exchange visits, or strategic meetings to share experiences and brainstorm on core issues would have a lot of value for us. The danger would be that we get too tied up in the details of either the CAP or the Farm Bill.  In addition, we at IATP are very impressed with the ARC process, and would like to explore creating a similar platform for civil society discussion about food and farm policy here.” 19. April 2011

For a more comprehensive report, download Hannes Lorenzen’s report from the Forum Synergies website.

Find out more about the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy on their website: