The future of Food and Farming 

Transition towards a Common Food and Agriculture Policy for Europe

Seminar for policy officers and policy advisers on European food and agriculture

Date and Time: Thursday 8th to Friday 9th February 2018 (one and a half day)

Place: Hollands College @ KU Leuven


  • Organisation: Dr. Tessa Avermaete, Dept. Bioeconomics KU Leuven
  • Main contributor: Prof. Erik Mathijs, Dept. Bioeconomics KU Leuven
  • Key note speaker: Prof. Dr. Friedrich Heinemann, ZEW University Heidelberg
  • Guest speaker 1: Henk Westhoek, PBL Environmental Assessment Agency Netherlands
  • Guest speaker 2: Ursula Hudson, Slow Food Germany
  • Facilitators: PJ Beers, Drift, The Netherlands 

Participants (max 25)

  • Staff members of European Parliament and Commission policy officers
  • European Parliament political groups policy advisers
  • Members of European Parliament Assistants and staff
  • NGO representatives, private company representatives


The CAP has exhausted its mission, it is too complex to manage (re-coupling, greening), fails to deliver on key objectives which are diverse and concern – among others – employment, new entries, biodiversity, nutrition and health. It lacks legitimacy in terms of for example the allocation of support, governance and supply-driven orientation.

Bioeconomics and Transition science offer both concept and approach to design a policy reflecting actual societal challenges and biological needs, translating current external and internal drivers into the social, economic and biological dimensions of change.


In contrast to the need for a third and potentially final CAP reform (after 1992 and 2003), there is a significant lack of evidence-base from the Commission side and limited input from traditional science and sector representatives ; at the same time, the European Parliament, Member states and civil society have gained in importance in the sector while primary productions decreases in the overall economy; Hence,  there is a need to identify both a new conceptual framework (bio-economy, circular economy) as well as a new approach (transition science) to translating societal needs and choices into a balanced and targeted Common Agriculture and Food policy for all 500 million European citizens.

Registration form


Day 1

9.00       Introduction by Erik Mathijs : process of transition and power of out-of-the-box thinking

Round table and setting expectations

9.30        Challenges of a EU sustainable food policy – reconnecting citizens with local farmers and food traditions – Ursula Hudson

10.30     Break

11.00     Discussion in the garden room of Hollands College

12.00     KU Leuven lunch seminar ‘Metaforum’ (open to all KU Leuven scientific staff)

The Common Agricultural Policy and the Next EU Budget -Prof. Dr. Friedrich Heinemann

13.30     Change management : interactive workshop by PJ Beers (Drift)

Challenges and hurdles for change

Opportunities and tools

17.00     Closing the day

Day 2

9.00        Transition pathways – Erik Mathijs

9.30        Food systems and natural resources – linking food consumption, food production and actors in the food system – Henk Westhoek

10.30     Break

11.00     From theory and practice to action : dialogue organized by Erik Mathijs

12.00     Reflection and looking back at formulated expectations

12.30     Lunch


  • Location: Hollands College, Leuven
  • Participation fee per person: 500€ (Fees include catering (coffee breaks and light lunch) and supporting materials)
  • Application deadline: 30th of January 2018 through this link
  • We allow a maximum of 25 participants. In order to have a balanced discussion, we aim for a diverse group representing the various approaches of the rationale. We inform all applicants on the 11th of January on the acceptance of their registration.