Apr 2021 -
Friends of the Earth Europe (FOEE) is the largest grassroots environmental network in Europe, uniting more than 30 national organisations. FOEE work towards environmental, social, economic and political justice, equal access to resources and opportunities on the local, national, regional and international levels, and seek to increase public participation and democratic decision-making.
FIAN international is a pioneering human rights organisation in the field of economic and social rights. FIAN supports affected communities in their struggles for food and dignity. FIAN has consultative status with the UN and national sections of six European countries.
The Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience at Coventry University (CAWR) is a research centre with vast experience in scientific and policy research on sustainable food systems and the development of transdisciplinary methodologies and deliberative democratic processes for agriculture and food knowledges.
The support from the European AI Fund has enabled the coalition of FOEE, FIAN International and CAWR to kickstart exchanges on AI/ADM among organisations active in the food movement in Europe. With a few noticeable exceptions, the debate on digital farming focuses mainly on the potential benefits of how AI could improve the economic and environmental performance of agriculture. Few civil society organisations have raised concerns about how digitalisation can lead to greater corporate control and reduce farmers’ autonomy. Through interviews, a series of informal online meetings and well-attended structured workshops (including a public-facing workshop with over a hundred participants at the UN Food Systems (UNFSS) counter summit), the coalition was able to facilitate knowledge exchange and relationship building with actors working on agri-food, and technology and digitalisation experts such as the Institute for Technology in the Public Interest. These activities have clarified that European legislation, including the DSA, DMA and AI Act, will impact the farming sector even though they did not set specific rules for the farming sector. If AI regulation is shaped without listening to the voices of marginalised groups such as small-scale food producers, it risks further cementing inequalities and discrimination that are already damaging food systems and ecosystems at large.