Towards a Citizens’ Agricultural Policy

Our food system is failing to support a healthy, well-nourished population, while driving dangerous climate change and destroying natural capital.

The Common Agricultural Policy is a colossal public policy intervention, using 39% of the EU budget and shaping the farming policies of Member States. It could drive improvements in public health, rural economies, and sustainable food and farming; but it doesn’t. And it won’t until our food system is governed democratically for the common good.


Nourish Scotland, in cooperation with ARC 2020, is organizing this event to gather citizens, farmers, civil society, and representatives from regions and cities to rethink the governance of food and farming policies in Europe and Scotland. To borrow a phrase from the current debate on land reform in Scotland, what would ‘people –centred food governance’ look like?

Key themes

IDEAS: What are the issues the CAP must address, and what are the possible solutions?

ACTORS: Who should participate in shaping food policy?

ADVOCACY: How can structures, processes and capacities for advocacy be strengthened?


Blog posts

For an introduction to the themes and speakers, have a look at these two blog posts:

Common Agricultural Policy, what’s this all about? Introducing the experts

A Citizens’ Agricultural Policy is for citizens, BY citizens



The Common Agricultural Policy: A summary of where the CAP comes from and what it’s made of.

CAP decision-making: A few pages that shed some light on CAP decision-making processes.


Speakers’ presentations

Pete Ritchie

David Barnes

Faustine Bas-Defossez

Samuel Féret

Nora McKeon

Lesley Hinds


Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 20A Inverleith Row, Edinburgh, EH3 5LR

Contact and registration:

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Célia Nyssens.


Top image: “We Are Fed Up” demonstration in Berlin, January 2015. These yearly demonstrations started in 2011 in the midst of the recent CAP reform. This 5th edition gathered 30 000 people. © Arc2020 (


Thursday 22nd October

9.30 Welcoming words by the organizers and host Pete Ritchie, Celia Nyssens, Simon Milne

10.10 Start of the morning session.

A brief history of the CAP David Barnes

What can we learn from the last reform process? Faustine Bas-Defossez

What are the issues the CAP should be designed to solve? Samuel Féret

The global context of civil society participation in food system reform Nora McKeon

11.45 Panel discussion

13.45 Start of the afternoon session

14.00 Involving grassroots movements in agricultural policy-making Guus Thijssen, Hassan Waheed, Mo Samson, Tom Kirby, and Cheryl McIntyre

15.30 The role of cities in agricultural policy Lesley Hinds, Rosie Boycott, Harriet Friedmann


Evening reception  Details & Registration HERE


Friday 23rd October

9.30 Foreword by MEP Alyn Smith and start of session.

10.30 Group discussions: How to engage better in food system reform, at local, national and European levels
With preliminary comments from Samuel Féret, Nora McKeon & Patrick Mulvany

12.30 Concluding remarks

Confirmed speakers and panellists

David Barnes

David Barnes is Chief Agricultural Officer for Scotland.

Samuel Féret

Samuel Féret has a long history of campaigning for a better CAP. He coordinated the French network PAC2013 for several years before becoming the coordinator of the European network Arc2020. He also recently became president of the thinktank Groupe de Bruges.

Faustine Bas-Defossez

Faustine Bas-Defossez worked for DG Agri for a few years before joining the European Environmental Bureau. During the last reform of the CAP she lead the EEB’s campaign with the motto ‘public money for public goods’. She is now Senior Policy Officer for Agriculture and Bioenergy.

Nora McKeon

Nora McKeon is a writer, lecturer and activist; she is a member of the Building Global Democracy Programme and former Civil Society Director at the UN Food & Agriculture Organization.

Rosie Boycott

Rosie is the chair of the London Food Board, a role in which she strives to improve Londoners’ access to healthy, locally produced and affordable food. She joined us  by Skype to talk about the role of cities in Food and Agricultural Policies.

Harriet Friedmann

Harriet is Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto. She has been actively involved in establishing and supporting a network of Canadian cities, academics, civil society members, and farmers around the issue of food. In May 2011 she was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Association of Food Studies. She also joined us by Skype.

Lesley Hinds

Lesley is Councillor in the Council of the City of Edinburgh and is a leading member of Edible Edinburgh.

Guus Thijssen

Guus is a member of the Dutch Slow Food Movement. He currently coordinates the CAP What’s Cooking? campaign and holds a seat in the board of the Youth Food Movement.

Hassan Waheed

Hassan is a student in Sustainable Development at the University of Edinburgh. He is also a founding member of the student community group FoodSharing Edinburgh, a leading member of Net Impact Edinburgh, and the director of the SHRUB cooperative.

Mo Samson

Mo was raised on and now works in her family farm, Muddy Boots Fife. She also manages the cafe and shop at the farm.

Tom Kirby

Tom founded the Granton Community Gardeners in Northern Edinburgh, which has made a real impact on his community.

Cheryl McIntyre

Cheryl is a member of the Young Crofters, a branch of the Scottish Crofting Federation; she recently took up a croft on the Isle of Skye and is passionate about crofting.

Alyn Smith

Alyn is a Scottish Member of the European Parliament & Member of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development.

Patrick Mulvany

Patrick Mulvany is the Director of Kamayoq, a consultancy organization; a member of the Food Ethics Council; and was formerly the Chair of the UK Food Group.