Farm to Fork 2021 Conference: building sustainable food systems together

On 14 and 15 October 2021, the Farm to Fork 2021 Conference took place as a hybrid meeting with the majority of the audience joining virtually. Following the motto building sustainable food systems together, stakeholders across the food value chain as well as civil society organisations, and public authorities were invited to enrich the debate on the implementation of the EU Farm to Fork (F2F) Strategy.

Among others, the first day of the event entailed speeches by Stella Kyriakides (European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety) and Janusz Wojciechowski (European Commissioner for Agriculture), emphasising the importance of an accelerated transition to resilient and nature-friendly food systems, which hinges on systemic change. The F2F Strategy offers a joined-up vision for this, setting out 27 initiatives on key issues, such as food waste. Moreover, the conference gave the stage to high-level actors from the private and public sector, such as Unilever, OXFAM, and the FAO, to debate on the global relevance of the F2F approach and discuss inherent challenges and opportunities. Furthermore, the results of the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit on 23 September 2021 in regard to the global transition to sustainable food systems were elaborated on. During an on-side event at the Dubai EXPO, the EU’s systemic approach in the context of its trade and international cooperation policies has been presented, complemented by stakeholders from Italy, Japan, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and the UAE reporting on particular cases.

On the second day, participants were encouraged to join thematic workshops, for instance on the role of voluntary instruments nudging the food industry to increase the availability and affordability of sustainable food options, or on carbon farming and the Horizon Europe R&I mission on soil health. Alternative sessions focussed on the opportunities offered by a reduction of pesticides in agriculture, the adoption of concrete business models, and the importance of research and innovation on the path towards food systems capable of feeding the world while making peace with the planet.

In a nutshell, the F2F 2021 Conference shed light on the progress made on the initiatives foreseen in the Strategy’s action plan, strived at supporting the EU efforts to achieve a turnaround for global food systems, and offered transition enablers a platform to introduce their contributions.

Watch the video of the highlights of the conference here.