Alarming signals about the need for a transition of the agricultural and food system in Europe have been accumulating for several years and social expectation for such a transition is growing. How can we feed Europe - and feed it well - while preserving nature and the climate? This is the purpose of a study, which main conclusions are summarized in this paper.

Key messages

1. Current diets, which are too rich and unbalanced (three times the recommended amount of sugar, double the recommended amount of protein, not enough fruit, vegetables or fibre):

  • contribute to the increase in many conditions (obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases);
  • lead Europe to depend on the rest of the world for food, through its imports of 40 million tonnes of plant proteins, which represent 20 % of its utilised agricultural land and far exceed the level of its exports.

2. The TYFA scenario is based on abandoning pesticides and synthetic fertilisers, redeploying natural grasslands and extending agro-ecological infrastructures (hedges, trees, ponds and stony habitats) and the generalisation of healthy diets (fewer animal products, more fruit and vegetables).

3. Despite a decline in production of 35% compared to 2010, this scenario:

  • meets food requirements for Europeans, while maintaining export capacity for cereals, dairy products and wine;
  • results in a 40% reduction in agricultural GHG emissions compared to 2010;
  • helps to restore biodiversity and to protect natural resources.

4. The extensification of livestock grazing plays a key role in this scenario. It enables the maintenance and redeployment of natural grasslands, maximising the production of spontaneous legumes and therefore soil fertility management, and contributes to the restoration of biodiversity, climate mitigation and high-quality animal production.

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