Time to ACT! Tell your Minister no pesticides in EFAs!

What and how: Even if you are only mildly concerned about the politics of food and environment, this is very worth doing. Go to our Good Food Good Farming site, download the letter and send it to your minister. 14 pre written letters for EU member States, in many languages are available.  Email address for your relevant Minister is even provided in the letter – all you have to do is download, add your name and send it.

Why: The purpose of the letter is to save what is left of the greening of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) – its not over yet! There is one final hurdle, and this is it: Ministers of Agriculture have, in their wisdom, decided to allow synthetic pesticides and mineral fertilizers into areas designated for nature functions: ecological focus areas or EFAs. In the last minute of writing up the rules for CAP, 23 Agricultural Ministers* have tried to sneak these industrial inputs – synthetic pesticides and mineral fertilizers – into the Delegated Acts. This is the very last stage of writing the rules of the EU’s CAP 2014-2020.  Its supposed to be a procedural stage, but instead, it is being used to bring pesticides and fertilizers into EFAs – way beyond the remit of technically writing up the rules! EFAs are for agri-food services such as pollination, not simply or only as reserves for nature. This is a vital distinction – this is not a battle between production and conservation: EFAs are about both production and conservation, rolled into one genuinely sustainable agri-food method. EFAs are and allow for a third way! Pollinators are vital for food production, yet pollinator populations are being decimated by the conventional agri-food system – EFAs give pollinators and other beneficial insects somewhere to survive and thrive. Everyone and everything benefits from this – farmers, growers, nature, people.

*Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland and Sweden.

When: Now! Think about it – when can campaigns work? Often, when they are clear, short, targeted and to a specific point. This is one such campaign. The decision at EU level will be made in a few short, upcoming months. However the effect will be lasting – for years, until at least 2020.

Probable timeline of EU decision-making on Delegated Acts:

Beginning of March 2014: final revised text of delegated acts published by the Commission

17-18/03/2014: last meeting of the Agriculture committee of the Parliament before the European elections

April 2014: last Plenary session and possible European Parliament vote on Delegated Acts

Mid-May 2014: earliest possible date of coming into force of the CAP reform Delegated Acts

Its not just about this one letter: MEPs, EU Commission and Ministers of Ag in Member States are all being targeted in different ways. For example, see here for  this letter, also signed by ARC2020, aimed at the Commission. So let’s do it!

WHAT TO DO: WHAT TO DO: WHAT TO DO: WHAT TO DO: WHAT TO DO: WHAT TO DO: WHAT TO DO

Share this link with your network, colleagues, friends, on social media, and with anyone you think might want to protect ecological areas of farms from synthetic pesticides and mineral fertilizers. Sign the letter, send it and encourage everyone you know to do likewise. The Time is NOW!

Oliver Moore
About Oliver Moore 185 Articles
DR. Oliver Moore is the communications director and editor-in-chief with ARC2020. He has a PhD in the sociology of farming and food, where he specialised in organics and direct sales. He is published in the International Journal of Consumer Studies, International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology and the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. A weekly columnist and contributor with Irish Examiner, he is a regular on Countrywide (Irish farm radio show on the national broadcaster RTE 1) and engages in other communications work around agri-food and rural issues, such as with the soil, permaculture, climate change adaptation and citizen science initiative Grow Observatory . He lectures part time in the Centre for Co-operative Studies UCC                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Oliver voyage beaucoup moins qu’auparavant, pour ce qui concerne son activité professionnelle. Il peut néanmoins admirer par la fenêtre de son bureau les mésanges charbonnières et les corbeaux perchés au sommet du saule dans le jardin de sa maison au cœur de l’écovillage de Cloughjordan, en Irlande. L’écovillage est un site de 67 acres dans le nord du Tipperary. Il comprend d’espaces boisés, des paysages comestibles, des lieux de vie, d’habitation et de travail, ainsi qu’une ferme appartenant à la communauté. Les jours où il travaille dans le bureau du centre d’entreprise communautaire, il profite d’une vue sur les chevaux, les panneaux solaires, les toilettes sèches et les jardins familiaux.  Ce bureau au sein de l’écovillage constitue en effet un tiers-lieu de travail accueillant également des collaborateurs des associations Cultivate et Ecolise, ainsi qu’un laboratoire de fabrication (« fab lab »).  Oliver est membre du conseil d’administration de la ferme communautaire (pour la seconde fois !) et donne également des cours sur le Master en coopératives, agroalimentaire et développement durable à l’University College Cork. Il a une formation en sociologie rurale : son doctorat et les articles qu’il publie dans des journaux scientifiques portent sur ce domaine au sens large. Il consacre la majorité de son temps de travail à l’ARC 2020. Il collabore avec ARC depuis 2013, date à laquelle l’Irlande a assuré la présidence de l’UE pendant six mois. C’est là qu’il a pu constater l’importance de la politique agroalimentaire et rurale grâce à sa chronique hebdomadaire sur le site d’ARC. Après six mois, il est nommé rédacteur en chef et responsable de la communication, poste qu’il occupe toujours aujourd’hui. Oliver supervise le contenu du site web et des médias sociaux, aide à définir l’orientation de l’organisation et parfois même rédige un article pour le site web.  À l’époque où on voyageait davantage, il a eu la chance de passer du temps sous les tropiques, où il a aidé des ONG irlandaises de commerce équitable – au Ghana, au Kenya, au Mali, en Inde et au Salvador – à raconter leur histoire.  Il se peut que ces jours-là reviennent. Pour son compte Oliver continuera de préférer naviguer en Europe par bateau, puis en train. Après tout, la France n’est qu’à une nuit de navigation. En attendant, il y a toujours de nombreuses possibilités de bénévolat dans la communauté dans les campagnes du centre de l’Irlande.