The CAP video blog with young farmers of Greece

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the European Union is a very influential and important piece of policy. It involves a complex combination of important political strategies which absorb over 40% of the entire budget of the EU – over 50 billion per year. It shapes the European countryside, the environment, the social landscape and most importantly: it decides what European citizens get to eat. In 2013, the CAP will undergo major reforms. The reforms will influence the way our food is produced, how the European landscape is shaped and the way our food is distributed on a global scale. In other words, they will determine the future of our food. Furthermore, the CAP will have a crucial role in defining the economic output of the member states. As most of people tend to gather in urban areas, the challenge remains not only on making our cities more functional, but also on finding strategies to sustain and reinforce rural economies and livelihoods. Therefore, the CAP is not an issue solely for politicians and farmers, but for every European citizen.

The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture & Innovation has launched a campaign to inform and sensitize European citizens on the issues related to agricultural production and rural sustainability. The outreach of the campaign to the youth is facilitated by the Youth Food Movement in the Netherlands and the Dutch Young Farmers Association (NAJK). The campaign aims to showcase the challenges and opportunities that can drive strategic food policies for the future of Europe. More specifically, it aims to inform on how agriculture can contribute to sustainability, while producing enough nutritious food for an increasing population. The campaign is supported online by the website/blogs www.foodpolitcs.eu and www.cap2013.org.

Aiming to disseminate its message directly and widely to citizens, the process involves innovative communication ways, through the use of online audio-visual content in the form of a video-blog series. The first part of the video-blog dealt with the work of Dutch young farmers that shape the agricultural system of the Netherlands.

In the second part, the project aims to focus on the agricultural sector of Greece. The case of Greece was chosen as a comparison to that of Holland, hoping to uncover the complexity and diversity of agricultural and food systems of Europe, aiming to offer an accessible north-south comparison of the delivery of agricultural policy in the EU.

Why Greece?

The CAP reforms include clear elements of solidarity. In the current period, the case of Greece provides an excellent example for application of these elements. The video-blog series in Greece will focus on the current dynamics, potential and challenges of the agricultural sector, marked by a profound tendency by the youth to relocate to the countryside, seeking employment and sustainable entrepreneurial opportunities as a way out of the recent financial crisis. Despite the great importance of the CAP at the national as well as the EU level, the Greek public is not adequately informed about its economic, ecological and social aspects. Therefore, the project also aims to initiate a wider public dialogue about agricultural and rural development in Greece, while informing about its European and global dimensions.

The video-blog series will project this dialogue from the society level to the policy level, in an accessible feel-good format. It will involve direct contact with young farmers, the very people that will be the ultimate managers of the Greek countryside in the future. It aims to activate a critical audience and project the voice of youth on issues related to agricultural development, sustainable rural entrepreneurship and innovation. The aesthetics of the project will aim to offer a new positive, optimistic image of the future Greek farmer: one that is young, dynamic and well educated: very “Greek” in spirit, but very global in character.

The international aspects of the campaign will involve a direct comparison between two markedly different agricultural systems of the EU: the Netherlands and Greece. This will help to unfold the diversity of food systems in Europe and the complexities that arise from this in delivering one common agricultural policy. The general communication of the project will help transfer this dialogue to the highest level of decision making in the EU. This will take the form of strategic online communication and distribution in high-ranking international media and enterprises, as well as actual debates that will take place in Brussels and elsewhere, aiming to contribute to the ongoing public dialogue on the reforms of the CAP, that are expected to come into effect in 2013.

The proposed project comes in a very crucial moment for the Greek society, economy and landscape. With the country in its fifth consecutive year of operating with negative GDP, it is obvious that there is a need for deep reforms and a wider re-orientation of national priorities. At this point, this necessitates an informed public opinion, especially on the important topic of food and agricultural productivity. The conditions are more than favorable for creating a new economic and entrepreneurial landscape. One in which the Greek countryside becomes the backbone of the Greek economy by delivering quality, high-value products and services, by reinforcing rural livelihoods and while setting a positive example of sustainable natural, agricultural and human resource management.

The video-blog series for Greece aims to involve leading stakeholders from the civil society, sustainable enterprises and government bodies in creating a novel paradigm that envisions to generate material for critical reflection and to stimulate an interest of the youth for the land. With only 7% of the total number of European farmers under the age of 35, this process is vital for the very sustainability of the European Union, while offering the possibility for Greek youth to realize a vision in which a society in crisis brings forces together in order to generate solutions for its own future, as well as the common future of the European family.

Producer/Project Manager: Pavlos Georgiadis

Director: Haris Donias

Director of Photography: yeoryios k tantos

Sound Engineer: Victor Zazopoulos

Production Secretary: Georgia Arvanitidou

Driver: Yiannis Chrysakis

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