For Sustainable Food Forum

7 March 2024

With the aim of reducing environmental impacts while meeting increasing societal demands for safe, nutritious, and affordable meat and dairy products, new PATHWAYS are being forged to identify and increase sustainable practices along the supply and production chains of the European livestock sector.

Livestream recording

Agenda and presentations

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9:15 – 9:30

Opening remarks

  • Towards sustainable food consumption – consumer perspective
    Gilles Nassy, FiBL
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  • Sustainable livestock systems: a complex issue
    Valerio Abbadessa, Research Programme Officer, DG AGRI
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  • PATHWAYS Project overview
    Laurence Smith, Coordinator of PATHWAYS Project and Lecturer/Researcher at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)
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9:30 – 11:30

Less is More: Food Sufficiency and Climate Resilience in Europe

Given the ongoing Animal Welfare legislation (transportation questions) + Sustainable Food Systems (SFS) (postponed past 2024 elections), let’s de-polarize the debate around food and agriculture: what is at stake, how to get industry leaders to implement greater sustainability measures, how to move towards less is more models of production, and address the challenges of implementing the EU Farm2Fork Strategy across Europe.

Moderated by Natasha Foote, agrifood correspondent.


  • MEP Pascal Canfin, Renew Europe Group
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  • Production of pork in an integrated model “from field to table”, with a sustainable and climate friendly approach
    Grzegorz Brodziak, Vice President of Polish Agricultural Federation and Chairman of the Board of Goodvalley Agro S.A.
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  • EU Livestock Sustainability
    Brigitte Misonne, Head of Unit, E3 Animal Products, DG Agriculture & Rural Development
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  • Towards a just EU livestock transition
    Pierre-Marie Aubert, Director, Agriculture & Food Policies, IDDRI
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11:30 – 12:00 Tea/Coffee Break
12:00 – 13:00

PATHWAYS: From Practice Hubs to Living Labs

15 Practice Hubs x 2-minute pitches + public audience voting.

1 100% pasture-fed cow-calf dairy systemsThe group put animal welfare and harmonious integration of livestock into their farming systems at the centre of their preoccupation. It has developed own voluntary standards Beyond EU/Demeter organic that include among others that all young animals are reared in a mother-calf-rearing system.
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2 Management for maximisation of carbon sequestration in pasture Practice Hub farmers are unacquainted and focused on management of carbon in grasslands. Calves on grass in 2-3 farms.
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3 Dairy in agroforestry system for self-sufficiency in protein-based feed Extensive systems in mountain area with high biodiversity and resilient system, social problems resolve with use sustainable agriculture systems.
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4 More-from-less dairy systems utilising on-farm advice and carbon foot-printing tool This Practice Hub is a new group, but several people knew each other beforehand. The focus of the hub is to use tools to evaluate the environmental, social and economic aspects of the farms to further understand opportunities to improve the sustainability performance. Skilled entrepreneurs, who are curious, and happy to discuss with others.
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5 Conventional pig farm utilising manure for biogas Practice Hub involves innovation from coop (Cooperl) for the management of pig slurry with frequent removal from building and separation liquid/solid. And use of solid in biogas unit with transformation of the digestant in fertiliser.
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6 Green protein for pig farmingYoung and old innovative organic pig farmers, interesting breeding including trees in the paddocks, feeding with green protein and sustainability. Organic farmers utilising “green-protein” from grass/clover working with feed company and refinery.
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7 Conventional pig production with innovative flooring and biodiversity focusPractice Hub members from Krullvarken (Curly Tail Pig), active for 20 years. Hub has 15 farmers.
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The Netherlands
8 100% pasture-fed beef systems utilising holistic planned grazing managementPractice Hub farmer members are either certified or on way to certification of Pasture for Life; all based in South England and Wales (lowland), huge range of backgrounds and skills.
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9 New breeding methodology for “mountain pasture” with own certification/label developmentPractice Hub is based on the existing Italian Grassfed Association. Farmers are very much engaged in the system but were mainly focused on what is wrong with public authority, policy, etc. The association extended to sheep and goat but remains mostly beef. Italy
10 Quality assured production system for beef and sheep on high nature value semi-natural pastures together with label developmentNaturbeteskött, an NGO with members who are both farmers, consumers and industry representatives, all with an interest in producing, marketing and consuming beef and lamb producers from semi-natural grasslands. This practice hub showcases grazing on high nature value (HNV) grasslands. The NGO promotes quality assured pasture beef and lamb through existing third-party certification.
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11 Agri-tech poultry innovation for improved food safety and qualityPractice Hub is based on poultry farms, focusing on implementation of a food traceability system as a tool to enable the ongoing monitoring of efficiency and environmental indicators, including carbon footprint and to allow farmers to get better prices for the products.
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12 Farmer cooperative producing and sharing compost from plant-based litterPractice Hub involves the cooperative Fertil’Eveil that created a composting plant back in 2007. In 2011, they started a litter production plant to standardise and integrate the composting process. In 2018, they opened a second composting platform and in 2022, a third.
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13 Closed-loop egg production by feeding food processing waste and recycling manurePractice Hub consists of innovative farmers that thrive to produce eggs within societal boundaries by applying new methods and approaches.
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The Netherlands
14 Dehesa Mediterranean system of sheep rearing in silvopasture with different input levelsPractice Hub involves Corsevilla, a cooperative in the southwest of Spain that collects sheep and lambs from the farms and commercialises them. This hub is focused on Dehesa sheep with different input levels.
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15 Tool decision-making for dairy goatsPractice Hub involves CapriGran Goat Farmers aiming to use an animal data processing tool to increase the efficiency of resource management in dairy goats.
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Moderated by Stuart Reigeluth, founder at REVOLVE

13:00 – 14:00 Buffet Lunch & Photo Exhibition of Practice Hubs
14:00 – 16:00

Building Sustainable Farming Scenarios

With a focus on developing a multi-dimensional approach for 4 main thematic storylines to emerge and give direction for identifying and implementing more sustainable practices within food systems in Europe.

Presented by Pierre-Marie Aubert, Directeur, Politiques Agricoles et Alimentaires, IDDRI.
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Format: Presentation panel + 4 Break-out room including participants from institutions, industry, academia, media, and youth.

Storyline Groups:

Group 1
Efficiency First

This scenario focuses on improving the efficiency of feed given to animals per unit of product. The idea is to minimise resource input, while maximising the output, that is animal product.

  • Moderator: Maria Simon Arboleas, Agrifood Reporter at EURACTIV
  • Rapporteur: Catherine Pfeifer, Group leader in the Food System Science department, FiBL
View policy recommendations and discussion points
Group 2
Rural Renaissance

This approach places farmers, rural life, and their livestock at the centre of the livestock sector’s development. The aim is to improve the quality of life in rural areas by revitalising and optimising the potential of agriculture.

  • Moderator: Sam Wilkin, freelance Brussels-based journalist
  • Rapporteur: Laurence Smith, PATHWAYS Coordinator.
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Group 3

This scenario advocates for minimising the use of food resources for animal feed. The focus is on optimising food production for human consumption by avoiding the conversion of human-edible crops into animal feed thereby reducing the impact of livestock on food systems.

  • Moderator: Philippa Nuttall, Editor, Sustainable Views
  • Rapporteur: Jessica Stokes, Senior Lecturer in Farm Animal Welfare Science and Policy at Royal Agricultural University.
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Group 4
High Animal Welfare

This scenario prioritises the well-being of animals by allowing them to exercise their agency and give them the opportunity to make choices in their environment. It emphasises ethical treatment and humane conditions for livestock.

  • Moderator: Daniel Bond, Publishing Director, The Parliament Magazine
  • Rapporteur: Nina Adams, Postdoctoral Researcher in Livestock Systems, School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, University of Reading
View policy recommendations and discussion points
16:00 – 17:00

Closing Panel

Rapporteur highlights, along with concluding remarks by Andrea Gavinelli, Head of Unit, Animal Welfare, European Commission.

Practice Hubs photo exhibition

Photo album

PATHWAYS For Sustainable Food Forum

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