Europe Wants to Make Farming Carbon Neutral by 2040
An EU plan aims to cut back on pesticides and antibiotics — and make organic food cheaper. Imagine if the U.S. followed suit
On a recent morning at Malaga’s Mercado de Atarazanas, shoppers passing through the hall’s 19th-century glass-and-iron lanes wore masks and stalls bore signs in English and Spanish: “Don’t touch the food.”
It was hard not to. Southern Spain is Europe’s fruit and vegetable basket, sending produce around the European Union. But the best of this bounty — much of it grown by small farms receiving EU subsidy money — tends to stay in Spain for local consumption.
A Malaga-grown tomato, gnarly in yellow and red hues, burst with such succulence that I ate it in one go. Then there were the local avocados, and peppery local arugula picked a day earlier, mixed together in a salad with a truffle cheese. A second cheese approximating parmesan, and an olive oil from groves just a bike ride away, rounded out a meal with figs, plums, and two loaves of freshly baked bread. I bought enough groceries for a healthy lunch and dinner — for less than the price of two McDonald’s burgers in Anytown, USA. It’s an example of what food can be like when governments support sound policies.
I bought enough groceries for a healthy lunch and dinner — for less than the price of two McDonald’s burgers in Anytown, USA. It’s an example of what food can be like when governments support sound policies.
Yet despite this regional bounty, food sold at markets like Atarazanas isn’t perfect. For one, farming in Europe is carbon-intensive and produces inordinate amounts of food waste, just like the United States’ agricultural industry. In an attempt to rectify this, the European Union earlier this summer announced its Farm to Fork (F2F) plan, which aims to use subsidy money to revolutionize farming in Europe by making it climate-neutral by 2040.