Pre-election periods always see an increase in activity on the part of elected bodies. At the local level we see roads being resurfaced, road signs replaced, more frequent cleaning, the sprucing up of public spaces…
The same is ture, though in different forms, of those who are elected to the European Parliament. From now until May 2019 there will be a crescendo of meetings, debates, conferences, interviews, media appearances, on the subjects that are closest to the hearts of MEPs – and give them the greatest visibility.
The question of the soil has never greatly appealed to parliamentarians, since it is complex and difficult to discuss. This period is an exception, though, because work is underway in the Research & Innovation Directorate-General of the European Commission on developing a Food Strategy for 2030. In this context, the soil is one of the most important topics and – regardless of the timing – is also gaining a lot of media coverage.
This is illustrated by the fact that in Brussels alone many meetings and presentations are taking place that have to do directly or indirectly with the soil. Here are just a few of them: 18/9 (Food, Farming & SDGs), 26/9 (Opportunities for soil sustainability in Europe), 27/9 (Pesticide Free Towns), 16/10 (Food 2030: Research & Innovation for a #ZeroHunger World), 27-28/10 (Good Food Good Farming Days).
We would like to draw our readers’ attention to the 16 October meeting on Food 2030. It is being organized by and at the European Parliament to coincide with World Food Day. It will be attended by MEPs, representatives of the European Commission and of FAO. It could just be one among many but for this fact: European research is targeting the goal of eliminating world hunger by 2030. This will lead to a revision of the priorities for financing research into European food production, shifting it from support for industrial farming towards support for rural and disadvantaged enterprises. This would lead to research being oriented more to reacquiring and protecting soil fertility and productivity rather than increasing plant yields. Perhaps the experience of Malles Venosta described above is the path that European research should follow?