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How to Save the Farm to Fork Strategy: A Two-Phased Approach

Hanna Schebesta

This article provides a legal perspective on how the sustainability turn in food law can be ensured in the long run. It argues that the imminent EU proposal for a legislative Framework for Sustainable Food Systems (FSFS), the cornerstone of the Farm to Fork efforts, cannot immediately answer to all sustainability challenges, and that it is therefore necessary to conceive the EU sustainable food system transformation as a process that stretches into a second policy phase beyond the Farm to Fork Strategy. Overall, the article asks how some of the limitations of the policy can be overcome and proposes legal mechanisms that can support the transition towards a more sustainable EU food system. The article gives an overview of the current status of the Farm to Fork Strategy (section II) and shows that new conceptualisations of food, notably food as a common good and food systems thinking, have far-reaching implications for food regulation (section III). After summarising what is known about the outlines of the FSFS proposal at this moment in time (IV), the article analyses shortcomings in the current approach, and proposes to recognise the need for a second, additional policy phase after the Farm to Fork Strategy (section V). The article suggests that the FSFS should use a staggered institutionalisation approach in order to embed legal commitments to future EU sustainability processes and law-making in such a second phase. Lastly, the article examines what can and should be achieved by the FSFS in the first stage in the proposal to be tabled in 2023, and makes recommendations for the legal design of the FSFS (section VI).

Hanna Schebesta is Associate Professor in the Law Group at Wageningen University. For Correspondence: <>.


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