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Common Agriculture and Food Policy for Radical Ecological Change

Article of URGENCI

URGENCI, the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)1 network and its national members from 12 European countries held an advocacy capacity building session in Brussels. This training session took place on the 14th, 15th, 16th of May. CSA advocates had an unprecedented opportunity to share experience and to refine their key messages.

URGENCI and its members believe it is high time to raise the voices of CSA. In the run up to the European elections, candidates should listen carefully to the voices of this grassroots movements. The specificity of CSA is that it is a concrete step towards a new social contract between producers and the societies they feedexplains Mathias von Mirbach, a CSA farmer from Germany. CSA is one of the most effective tools to help sustainable family farmers and conscious consumers regain control of local and territorial food systems.The CSA model is highly efficient when it comes to fighting food waste, preserving cultivated agro-biodiversity and consolidating local economies and employment. The nutrition provided by fresh, local agroecologically grown fruit and vegetables is now recognised as essential in fighting Non Communicable Disesases (NCDs) such as diabetes, obesity and heart problems and cancer. CSA initiatives therefore make a direct contribution to improving the health of European citizens. Its social and environmental contributions should be more clearly recognised. Direct payments and other measures of direct support should be directed towards producers who sell locally through CSA and other direct schemes.

These voices join the vibrant call for a Common Food Policy: there is a urgent need to repair the lack of coherence between policies implemented by the different DGs of the European Commission. We need to connect agriculture with health and nutrition, social inclusion and the environment. It is vital for thousands of CSA farms across Europe to ensure that agroecology and sustainability are promoted as overarching principles, and are prioritised over industrial agriculture, competition and corporate profits. “As part of the Nyeleni Europe Movement for Food Sovereignty, we in URGENCI are convinced that it is equally essential to ensure small-scale agroecological producers are at the core of this radical change towards a Common Food Policy, and ensure European citizens have access to healthy, nutritious food”, stresses Isabel Alvarez, Vice-President of URGENCI.

Now is the time for radical change. A change that is already well under way in the CSA. movement.

Contact: Jocelyn Parot, +33 6 84 68 52 82, jocelyn.parot@urgenci.net, www.urgenci.net

1Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a direct partnership between people and one or severalproducer(s), whereby the risks, responsibilities and rewards of farming are shared, through a long-term, binding agreement.

Vote for a Social Solidarity Europe !
vote SSEurope flags

Open letter to candidates standing in the European Parliamentary election

The Intercontinental Network for the Promotion of the Social Solidarity Economy (RIPESS) brings together national and territorial networks in Europe with a 360° transformative vision that is economic and ecological, democratic, social and societal. We are committed to change in the economic practices and imagination: 

  • Rehabilitate cooperation, solidarity and equity in a break with existing unbridled competition
  • Focus on the emancipation of individuals, economic citizenship and human rights as higher principles
  • End the waste of resources, the indiscriminate use of pollutants, the excessive pursuit of profit

The European Parliament elections will be held between 24th and 26th May 2019. Let us consider Article 3 of the EU Treaty, in particular paragraphs 1, 2 and 3: “1. The Union’s aim is to promote peace, its values and the well-being of its peoples. It promotes economic, social and territorial cohesion and solidarity between States”. 

This new Parliament will undoubtedly have to face a very challenging situation within the European Union, and in the world: accelerating climate threats, extinction of animal species, deteriorating living conditions, the phenomenon of migration. Moreover, the increase in authoritarian political regimes has become blatant, as an appempt to stifle the growing aspiration of peoples to access their fundamental rights. As a result of all the above, the European ideal is under severe threat and the European ideal of peaceful cohesion of peoples has lost its credibility with those living in the ever-growing precariousness that is the outcome of a blind, globalized economic system. 

In the face of these challenges, European citizens are organizing, proposing appropriate solutions and re-creating a relocalised social and solidarity economy, that is respectful of biotopes, and anchored in social justice and the common good. They encourage consultation with local institutions, enterprises and elected officials. This solidarity model is expanding rapidly in Europe and throughout the world, makes it possible to create an economy that supports the well-being of our societies, allying producers and consumers in responsible production and consumption models. It makes a significant contribution to the territorial cohesion and the preservation of resources through their intelligent use. It ensures that planetary boundaries are not exceeded.

This new parliament has the duty to take on board that European electors wish to be consulted beforehand and become active stakeholders in the policies, laws and rules that affect them and influence the future of the planet ,and build peace in the world.

We request you take position on the following ten points

1. It is fundamental to take the path of a more ethical, responsible and solidarity-based redistributive economy in which the Social solidarity economy is fully recognised as an exemplary economic model that increases wellbeing and peace within Europe. Similarly, in a transversal way across sectoral policies, we call on you to build and pass the necessary laws to do so.

2. Food and agriculture that respects the soil, air and water, eliminates the use of toxic inputs that have a dangerous impact on human health and living species and promotes decent incomes for small and medium-sized farms by limiting industrial agriculture, processing and distribution models and developing short food chains with traceability and approved by consumers and producers.

3. Low-carbon transport infrastructure that services terriorities and meets local peoples’ needs and specifically rehabilitates rail and inland waterway transport, public transport, special bicycle lanes and shared forms of transportation.

4. A renewable energy development policy based on the production of eco-designed, solidarity-based and sustainable goods and services and breaks with the current obsolete fossil fuel-based model that is both harmful to the climate and dangerous.

5. An ambitious European Social Rights Pillar and a unified European labour code based on the Gothenburg Social Summit (16-18 November 2017), that supports access to protective social rights (pension,health cover, unemployment rights, training, etc.), and eliminates harmful social dumping on countries where companies relocate in the community and establish intolerable working conditions that fly in the face of decent work (see RIPESS Europe contribution). This includes the recognition and construction of cultural rights in Europe (in line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Fribourg Declaration on Cultural Diversity , the UNESCO Declaration on Cultural Diversity, Earth Chart and the Declaration of Peasants Rights and Rights of Other People living in Rural Areas), and the respect of Indigenous Peoples and local cultures.

6. Ongoing commitment to fight against all forms of discrimination based on gender, origin, sexual orientation and religion by developing an educational system oriented towards an understanding of our common belonging to humanity, whose future depends on our solidarity and cooperation.

7. An ambitious common policy for human rights, open borders and economic citizenship for migrants that ensure the immediate integration of people in compliance with international conventions for the protection of human rights (UN conventions and the main conventions previously adopted by the Council of Europe, International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families/ICRMW).

8. A coherent plan to build and consolidate economic conditions in countries that are sources of migration for the benefit of local communities through the implementation of Social Solidarity Economy framework legislation and programmes. The European Union also needs to exert pressure on large companies when the level of predation on resources dispossesses local populations through notoriously unethical procedures, rather than support them.

9. Support for education that emphasizes civic engagement, cooperation rather than competition, a fair and redistributive economy and ecological awareness that are conducive to transitional innovations.

10. A regulated financial system, that promotes ethical non-speculative public finance that serves a transformative solidarity economy and communities and a plurality of alternative and complementary social and local currency systems, which do not create debt but promote fair trade, and sustainable relocalised local development.

All these policies are necessary. The social solidarity economy movement as a whole can collectively and democratically implement them. Your active participation in this process is indispensible. Your position – and our votes – are key in providing the opportunity to open the future towards greater social justice, economic democracy and economic vigilance.

RIPESS Europe and its members will support your efforts and relay the declarations of intent that support these positions. We invite you to join us and participate in the construction of the World Social Forum of Transformative Economies that will be held in Barcelona in 2020.

April 2019

RIPESS EU members on European elections

ROMANIA : CRIES will promote Sustainable Consumption and Production in the campaign for European Parliament!

As part of the European campaign #Trade Fair Live Fair, CRIES and its partners will launch a debate about the importance to stand up for a different consumption and production model. More than 5.000 citizens, activists and politicians will be involved in different events as thematic workshops, conferences, films projection and street events.

On May 11, several activities related to the World Fair Trade Day will take place in Timisoara and Iasi. In November 2019, we will organize in Bucharest the first edition of Fair Trade Breakfast, an event that would bring together Romanian and European decision makers, NGOs and activists.

Romania is one of the three EU Member States where more than a third of the population was at risk of poverty or social exclusion in 2017, with a share of 35.7% (Eurostat). Even in this context, it is difficult to question the dominant model of development; the general preoccupation is to assure more economic growth than a sustainable one.

The thematic of Fair Trade is not present on the political agenda of Romanian parties. The participation in this project will help us to develop educational activities, to initiate dialogue with citizens and candidates. We hope to generate new information and motivation among Romanian citizens in order to claim more actions for a sustainable development”, says Mihaela Vețan, president of CRIES –Ressources Center for Ethical and Solidarity based Initiatives.

FRANCE : RTES calls on French candidates for the European Parliament

The Network of Territories for the Solidarity Economy (RTES) launches a call for all candidates, on the basis of the 10 proposals of the RTES for a more united Europe,

In partnership with ESS France and the Le Labo ESS, lunches or breakfasts are organised with European candidates, based on SSE for Europe advocacy proposals from members of ESS France, Social Economy Europe, the ESS Labo and RTES.

RTES will participate in the debate on the questioning of candidates in the European elections organised by Commerce Equitable France, on the 13th of May 2019, on the theme of Inequality and climate change: Which Europe to face these global challenges?

FRANCE : The MES appeals to future MEPs on ten key points

The Mouvement for Solidarity Economy (MES) in France has made an appeal through an Open Letter to European Elections Candidates

SPAIN : REAS proposes a framework of proposals

In view of the series of electoral calls that will take place in the spring of 2019 in the Spanish State, from REAS network of networks, independent organization and composed of 18 sectoral and territorial networks throughout the State, we want to reach political parties, social agents and the general public our framework of proposals for the construction of a more just, democratic and sustainable economy.. 

CATALUNYA : XES launches an SSE campaign in municipalities

GREECE : DOCK launches a Fair Times campaign in Greece

In Greece, through this campaign, we want to inform candidates about the impact of unfair production and consumption policies, not only on a global scale, but also on the interactions with reality in Greece. As the United Nations SDGs demonstrate, social, economic and environmental problems are universal. This universalism requires a concerted commitment to the implementation of coherent policies that can benefit Greek citizens, Europeans and our fellow citizens around the world.

Fair Trade Hellas and Dock are implementing the campaign in Greece. Between now and the European elections, there will be open events, information and education opportunities on the problems of a fair and inclusive economy and on how to defend these problems. In addition, we call on all Members of Parliament to be informed of the issues of the campaign, to join us in discussing how they can also be part of a pan-European campaign that concerns all of us in our country.

On Friday 10 May at 6.30 pm at Impact Hub (Athens), we invite you to a day dedicated to fair trade!

More info:https://dock.zone/anakoinoseis-infopoint/i-panevropaiki-kampania-fair-times-ksekina-stin-ellada/

The Fair Times campaign: for a fair and sustainable Europe

The Fair Times campaign is a pan-European campaign coordinated by
five civil society network organisations calling for a fair and sustainable European consumption and production agenda.

Together with the FTAO, which leads the global Fair Trade movement’s advocacy at EU level, IFOAM EU (European umbrella organisation for organic food and farming), CIDSE (International family of Catholic social justice organisations), RIPESS-Europe (RIPESS Europe is the European network for the Promotion of Social Solidarity Economy) and ECOLISE (European network for community-led initiatives on sustainability and climate change) are representing their respective movements through
a campaign that is a little different from the usual.

The campaign is centred on a special edition of ‘The Fair Times’ newspaper from 2024, the end of the next European Parliament term. The newspaper aims to provide examples of policies that the EU could implement regarding a sustainable consumption and production agenda and hopes to inspire candidates to commit to taking action if elected.

Editorial: another Europe is necessary
vote SSEurope flags

This newsletter is a special edition dedicated to upcoming European parliamentary elections.

In the critical times we are living, all efforts to counter the anti-democratic specter which is sweeping across Europe are crucial, as well as the citizen-led initiatives to build a better Europe, starting from our everyday practices in our communities to the global policies that affect all of us, from climate, to migration, to agriculture, human and social rights, etc.

We need and want a Social Solidarity Europe.

As a network of people committed to profoundly transform the financial and economic systems, we have values and proposals in common. In the Open letter to the candidates, we’ve spelt out the main ones that look well beyond our community, collective and cooperative practices.

We’ve joined forces with other movements and networks for a campaign on sustainable production and consumption: the Fair Times is the result of a common venture – read the Newspaper dated 2024, where we imagine what could happen if the European parliament actually developed some of our proposals, 5 years from now.

But there’s more: some of our member networks have engaged organising events in their territories towards the European elections as well as towards the many local elections taking place in the same period. You may read about some initiatives below.

The preparatory meeting (april 5-7) for the World Social Forum of Transformative Economies (which will take place in Barcelona in May 2020) brought together representatives of different movements from all over Europe and the world. Joining forces in these times is no longer an option – it’s more necessary than ever. What we are trying to build together is an ambitious and precious space for concrete engagement and co-construction of a different financial and economic system. As RIPESS – with all our members, partners and allies – we are fully engaged to make it possible.

These are dangerous times, but also times for opportunity to really change the wind if we (re-)act positively together.

Resources special edition European Elections (in collaboration with socioeco.org)

What does the documentation on public policies in favour of the social and solidarity economy at European level say?

Among the issues that are included in the documentation under the keyword: The social economy in the European Union (EU), we can mention: sustainable development, social justice, immigration, European funds for SSE, integration enterprises and public procurement, social entreprises, cooperatives, new wealth indicators..

But also:

the Role of territories

Culture

Agroecology

For a global view of SSE Public Policies at the European level :

Or

propositions

Have a good reading !

Euro-Mediterranean meeting of the “Workers’ Economy” network
April 20, 2019
0
Phptp Article Association Autogestion

Authors : Benoît Borrits, Bruno Della Sudda, Christian Mahieux et Richard Neuville | 25 Apr 2019 | Événements, Vie de l’association

Article of Association Auogestion

The articulation between self-management, ecology and feminism at the heart of the 3rd meeting of the “Workers’Economy”.

From 12 to 14 April, the third Euro-Mediterranean meeting “The Workers’ Economy” was held in Milan. About 200 people participated, with parity between men and women and a fair number of young people. This process was initiated about ten years ago by the Faculta Abierta program of the University of Buenos Aires, which studies and supports companies that are recovered by their workers. By denying the owners the right to close a company or to dispose of the production tool and by resuming production without a boss in a self-managed form, these workers prefigure another economy, democratic and without shareholders. The objective of these meetings is to bring together workers from these companies, researchers and activists from different countries over a few days.

Having started from Latin America, this process is now being translated into continental and global meetings. This Euro-Mediterranean edition is the third after Marseille (Fralib/scop-Ti) in 2014 and Thessaloniki (Vio.me) in 2016. It was held in Rimaflow, a former automotive supplier factory converted into various ecological and social activities. It brought together participants from about ten countries: Italy, France, Spain, Belgium, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Kurdistan, Germany, Russia (and also Brazil and Argentina). These meetings made it possible to discuss various themes such as the notion of conflict mutualism, promoted by the Rimaflows and the Fuori Mercato network (Outside the market), a trade unionism without borders and embracing the whole social field; agroecology and the relations between rural and urban movements; social reproduction in self-managed experiences and union work; the recovery of the “public”, the “commons” from a self-management perspective; self-managed production and self-management of distribution; the articulation between self-management, ecology and feminism; welfare from below; economic autonomy to overcome gender violence.

Prefiguring an economy free of bosses and shareholders, we can consider that the presence of trade union organisations would be obvious: should the outcome of social demands not lead to this perspective? From this point of view, the presence of organisations such as the Union Syndicale Solidaires or the Spanish CGT is an essential support in the development of this process. It is regrettable that too few self-managed companies are currently included in these meetings. It will undoubtedly be essential to redefine the objectives so that they are more present; this is an issue, particularly in France.

Euro-Mediterranean meetings, a prefiguration of a Europe of workers, a Europe turned towards the southern shore of the Mediterranean? The next edition should take place in 2021 in Andalusia, organised in particular by the comrades of SOC/SAT and CGT; in September 2019, the 7th international meeting will be held in Sao Paulo.

L’Association pour l’autogestion, le Réseau pour l’autogestion, les alternatives, l’altermondialisme, l’écologieet leféminisme (AAAEF) et l’Union syndicale Solidaires were present in Milan, as part of the joint work within the Network Getting Together for Empowerment1.

1 This Network brings together l’Association Autogestion (AA), l’Association des communistes unitaires (ACU), les Amis de Tribune socialiste (ATS), Cerises la coopérative, l’Observatoire des mouvements de la société (OMOS), le Réseau pour l’autogestion, les alternatives, l’altermondialisme, l’écologie et le féminisme (AAAEF), le Temps des lilas et l’Union syndicale Solidaires.

Urban Alternatives: a new map to share transformative municipalist initiatives
urban alternatives

Urban Alternatives is a collaboration that brings together municipalist activists, academics, local governments, think-tanks and NGOs. The founding collaborators include participants from: Madrid 129, European Alternatives, Transnational Institute, Habitat International Coalition, MISTRA Urban Futures, Sheffield University Urban Institute, University of Aalborg, RIPESS Europe, P2P Foundation, Commons Network and the Global Platform for the Right to the City.

This mapping project looks to understand and map those initiatives that are emerging from the many urban social movements that are claiming the right to the city, occupying urban space, demanding social justice, democratic participation, cultural spaces and economic transformations. Largely hidden from our collective consciousness, this distributed and emergent set of actions demonstrated that it is not only possible to think of alternatives to the neoliberal paradigm, but that these alternatives are already happening. Our collaboration has two sets of goals:

1. To create the greatest possible visibility of positive urban transformation, revealing common dimensions of an emerging urban movement. We want to document – and to prove – that change is possible;

2. To create an ongoing process for developing common perspectives and understandings, supporting knowledge transfer between a diverse pool of actors, and providing opportunities for shared projects and common campaigns.

Brought into focus by the squares movement and the occupation of public space (from Tahrir to Puerta del Sol and Plaça de Catalunya, Taksim or Mong Kok), we’re witnessing a wave of initiatives ‘from below’ and ‘from the side’ that are looking to transform our urban environment. These initiatives – from the democratic remunicipalisation of energy production or the development of citizen policy-making mechanisms, through to the establishment of worker cooperatives to help meaningfully welcome refugees – all share a common thread. Not only do they pose a challenge to the increasing financialization of economy and commodification of urban space, they do so through putting faith in our own capacity to generate innovative projects, policies and prototypes that move us towards living our lives in common.

Go to the website: www.urbanalternatives.org

More farmers, better food: Nyéléni ECA releases CAP publication
More farmers better food CAP

Sustainable small farmers should be put at the core of EU agricultural policy, according to a new paper by the Nyeleni Europe and Central Asia Platform for Food Sovereignty [1]. The strongly documented publication comes ahead of a key vote in the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee in early April, and represents the position of a pan-European coalition of farmers, peasants, pastoralists, fisherfolk, Indigenous Peoples and environmental organizations in regards to the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

The report highlights the alarming situation in rural areas and in the food system in the EU: Between 2005 and 2016, the number of farm holdings under 50 hectares fell by 29.4%. Over 4 million holdings disappeared in just 10 years. Increased numbers of seasonal, and often migrant workers suffer appalling working and living conditions. Pollution linked to agrochemicals continues to have a negative impact on public health – chemical residues are found in food, nitrate and phosphorus run-off pollutes water and soil. High levels of antibiotic use in animal farming leads to antimicrobial resistance. Around 88 million tons of food waste is generated per year, as a result of the industrial food chain. CAP has made the EU extremely dependent on cheap imports from regions with far lower environmental and social standards.

Stanka Becheva, food sovereignty campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe said: “With the world facing multiple environmental and social crises, many of which are directly linked to how we feed ourselves, EU politicians need to listen to small-scale sustainable farmers who can help fix the climate crisis and the breakdown of the natural world. The food systems they create provide healthy, affordable, and local food for consumers, respects nature and climate, and create safe and dignified employment.”

Laying out the part of the report focused on what is needed from the CAP for this transition to be successful, Genevieve Savigny, farmer and representative of the European Coordination Via Campesina [2], says “the CAP must provide small-scale sustainable producers with the adequate political, economic and social support they need. This implies fair prices, setting a capping for direct payments and a redistribution of aid. Currently, less than 2% of CAP beneficiaries receive 30% of the total budget of direct payments. This must change. More money for rural development and a collective approach of projects where peasant agroecology is promoted must be put forth. And for our youth? Support to new farmers during the first years of their activity is essential.”

“This report also shows the environmental and social benefits of new, local partnerships between producers and consumers. It comes right in time to show that a new social contract between food producers and the societies they feed is highly awaited and urgently needed”, says Judith Hitchman from URGENCI, the international network of Community Supported Agriculture movements.

Download the report (in English) here.

Transforming Europe in the world we want
Drawing New World

Every year in January, the RIPESS Europe Coordination Committee meets, hosted by Eric Lavillunière in the pretty village of Elne to work on the movement’s strategy. This year two important topics were on the agenda: the European elections to be held in May and the meeting to prepare the World Social Forum of Transformative Economies (WSFET) in April in Barcelona. Everyone is convinced that a race is underway to reverse the course of an economy that is outrageously predatory of the planet’s natural capital, leading to increasingly serious imbalances in human relations with their biotope and among themselves. The role of the European Parliament is becoming fundamental in harmonising the responses that European countries must urgently put in place to combat climate change and the authoritarian abuses that threaten democracy, in Europe but not only.

For several years now, we have been working to bring local authorities closer together to build public policies based on the territories that support citizen initiatives in the solidarity economy. But it is also essential to address European political leaders so that they encourage all the measures that act positively to maintain the democratic and ecological health of European countries. We are in the process of drafting a text that anyone can send to their Candidate for the elections of the European Parliament. The more of us do so, the more difficult it will be for them to ignore our claims. Alain Caillé’s proposal for a “European Republic” has something to say on this subject.

RIPESS Europe is also participating in a campaign for these elections on production and sustainable consumption with other networks such as FTAO and IFOAM. And with Friends of the Earth and several other organisations, we have developed a guide on how to talk about “the Europe we want”.

Fortunately, there is no shortage of initiatives that are invigorating to boost energy and hope. Whether it is a question of local currencies, renewable energy or the organisation of commons, the mobilisations are there.

European projects that allow cooperation between members are focused on transmission through training. It is essential to train new generations to continue to invent the solutions of the future.

In addition, during the meeting in Elne, Jean Louis Laville, member of the RIPESS EU Advisory Council, joined us to consider how the Advisory Council could contribute to research within the network, in order to allow for “change of scale” of SSE.

This change of scale must be seen not as a race for growth but as an intense process of disseminating the fundamentals of SSE so that they virally replace the culture of competition, profit at all costs, concentrations of power and wealth at the expense of the quality of life for the majority of people.

By Josette Combes (MES)

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