Countdown to the Good Food March begins…

6 August 2012

In just one month's time, people from across Europe will be setting off on the final leg of a bicycle journey to Brussels to attend the biggest ever gathering of EU citizens calling for a greener and fairer future for farming in Europe. The event takes place as politicians debate the reform of the EU's Common Agriculture Policy.

Cyclists taking part in the bike tours for the Good Food March [1] will arrive in Strasbourg on 5th September, with routes converging from Austria, France and Germany. Participants from further afield including Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Romania and Spain are also expected to directly join the march in Strasbourg. A day of activities will mark the international meeting point of the tour, before all participants set off together for the final two weeks of the route to Brussels.

Plans for the Good Food March started in May 2012 when 8 organisations came together to launch what is hoped will be the biggest and broadest civil society action ever seen on the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). As this is the first time the EU Parliament will vote on the new policy, this is a huge opportunity for European citizens to have a say in the final outcome.

ARC2020, European Coordination Via Campesina, European Milk Board, Friends of the Earth Europe, IFOAM EU Group, Meine Landwirtschaft, PAC2013 and Slow Food issued a joint Call for Action [2] which outlines 11 key demands for the future of the CAP. These include guaranteeing that the CAP stimulates the cultivation of local protein feed crops, rather than importing soy to feed Europe's farm animals. Since the release of the call, over 60 more organisations from 15 countries have become in involved.

The initiative will see thousands of farmers, citizens and young people express their demands for food and farming policy in the EU. Anyone can take part in the different activities and events that are currently being finalised. This includes joining the main march: a bike tour from Strasbourg to Brussels (or longer routes starting in Munich, Linz and locations in France), or taking part in national-level events scheduled throughout August and September.

Brussels will host the final gathering and will be a meeting point for hundreds of marchers on the 19th September. This will be an opportunity for everyone to meet their national and local policy makers, celebrate Europe's diverse foods, as well as discuss the future CAP in a conference inside the European Parliament [3].

And finally, a European-wide photo campaign [4] has been launched enabling anyone to send a message about an issue they care about in the reform of the CAP. You are invited to send your photo to the Good Food March Team before September 14th so it can be presented in an album for decision-makers in Brussels on September 19th – the final day of the Good Food March.

Stanka Becheva, food and agriculture campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe says: "European farming is going in the wrong direction - destroying soil and biodiversity, and putting farmers out of business. The Good Food March is happening at a key time for farming policy and the huge interest in it shows that urgent changes are needed to fix the damaging effects of our agriculture on the environment and farmers here and worldwide. It is a unique opportunity for every EU citizen to speak up for greener and fairer farming."

Photo: Arie from the Netherlands - taken from the Good Food March photo campaign: www.goodfoodmarch.eu/photo-action.html


Notes:

[1] www.goodfoodmarch.eu

[2] Call for Action: http://www.goodfoodmarch.eu/call-for-action.html

[3] September 19th 2012: http://www.goodfoodmarch.eu/19-september.html

[4] Good Food March Photo Campaign: http://www.goodfoodmarch.eu/photo-action.html

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