The “Farm to Fork” strategy is one of the 8 areas published by the European Commission, as part of the Horizon 2020 Green Deal call. This strategy emphases on enabling a “just and equitable transition” for all actors of the food systems. Among the targeted projects, the call supports the deployment and scaling-up of innovations (TRL 5-7) in 6 subtopics in particular.
Focus on each of them.
The European Commission look for the development and promotion of new green business models, which contribute to the goal of climate neutrality. The agricultural and forestry sectors notably have a role to play in the development and implementation of solutions that reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). The new green programs will be an important source of funding for sustainable practices, such as precision agriculture, agroecology (including organic farming), carbon storage in agricultural soils and agroforestry. The circular economy and the bioeconomy are two recent concepts that also offer significant opportunities for farms and the agri-food industry, with progress still to be made in these sectors.
Two subtopics are dedicated to these projects:
- Achieving climate neutral farms by reducing GHG emissions and by increasing farm-based carbon sequestration and storage.
Example of project: development and implementation of new agro-ecological and organic practices that increasing carbon sequestration and storage or production of biogas from farming effluent or agricultural residues.
- Achieving climate neutral food businesses by mitigating climate change, reducing energy use and increasing energy efficiency in processing, distribution, conservation and preparation of food.
Example of project: transformation of biomass into materials and chemical molecules of interest through the development of innovative techniques, including biotechnology and the development of bio-based products.
The Commission also wants companies to provide sustainable and safe solutions for the protection of crops against harmful organisms and diseases, replacing chemical pesticides. An action plan for the integrated management of nutrients (eg nitrogen and phosphorus) also aims to combat nutrient pollution and increase the sustainability of the farming sector. Finally, measures should be considered by companies to reduce antimicrobial resistance. This involves in particular improving the welfare of animals. The subtopics dedicated to these projects are:
- Reducing the dependence on hazardous pesticides; reducing the losses of nutrients from fertilisers, towards zero pollution of water, soil and air and ultimately fertiliser use.
Examples of projects: development of safe alternatives (eg integrated pest management) to protect crops against pests’ organisms and diseases, development of tools for sustainable management of nutrients / precise fertilization techniques for sustainable agriculture or recycling of organic waste into renewable fertilizers.
- Reducing the dependence on the use of antimicrobials in animal production and in aquaculture
Promoting sustainable food consumption involves many areas, from consumer health through the development of foods with healthy nutrient profiles, to the sustainability of food systems in times of crisis, as well as the consequences of climate change on the loss of biodiversity. Concrete measures are therefore expected in terms of health and sustainability.
In addition, the fight against food loss and waste is essential to achieve sustainability. Reducing food waste is also part of policies for the recovery of nutrients and secondary raw materials, feed production, food safety, biodiversity, bioeconomy, waste management and renewable energies. The subtopics dedicated to these projects are:
- Reducing food losses and waste at every stage of the food chain including consumption, while also avoiding unsustainable packaging.
Examples of projects: development of innovative and sustainable packaging solutions using environmentally friendly, reusable and recyclable materials or reduction of losses and waste during food production / Reduction of losses and waste during processing, preparation, storage and transport of food.
- Shifting to sustainable healthy diets, sourced from land, inland water and sea, and accessible to all EU citizens, including the most deprived and vulnerable groups.
Examples of projects: development and implementation of new food protein sources (algae, insects) to replace animal proteins
A budget of 72 million is dedicated to the theme “Farm to Fork”. Successful projects are generally 70% funded for companies, for amounts between 6 and 12 million euros, and require consortia of at least 3 participants of 3 different nationalities.
For more information on this topic, companies are invited to visit the submission portal and can consult the European Union funding and calls portal for a broader view of green calls for projects beyond the “Farm to Fork” theme.
The deadline for submission is the 26th of January 2021, and the selected projects should start in the fall of 2021.