Sustainability/Analysis/

Green Glossary: Farm to fork

Who launched the initiative? How does it help slash emissions? And which startups are connected to it? We give you the lowdown.

By Connor Bilboe

Vertical farming uses LEDs to grow crops. Credit: INFARM

The Green Glossary features in Sifted’s weekly Sustain newsletter. We take a sustainability term or phrase and give a brief explanation on what it means, and how startups are connected to it.

Something to do with farming and food? Correct. Farm to fork is all about making Europe’s food systems more environmentally and socially friendly. The EU Commission launched an official farm to fork strategy last year to combat the not-so-green food production sector, which emits a whopping 37% of the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions.

How is it bringing those pesky emissions down? The EU initiative is yet to reach legally binding status — though it is getting there — but notable targets it’s laid out to reach by 2030 includes halving the use of hazardous and chemical pesticides, making 25% of farmland organic and halving nutrient losses.

And what about startups? Like most sectors, startups have been working to disrupt and revolutionise food systems in line with farm to fork. These include Belarus-based OneSoil, which uses satellite imagery to monitor crop development and help farmers make better decisions, Berlin-based startup Infarm, which grows crops on stacked trays indoors and is 90-95% more efficient than outdoor farming, and Slovakian startup Nitroterra, which has developed sustainable fertiliser.

Where can I read more? The EU Commission has a bunch of extra resources surrounding Farm to Fork, including a factsheet and an FAQ page. The European Policy Centre outlines the pros and cons of Farm to Fork.

Connor Bilboe is Sifted’s editorial assistant. He tweets from @connorbilboe and is the coauthor of our sustainability-focused newsletter, Sustain. You can sign up here.

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