Engaging youth and young people in food systems transformation


Youth and young people are a powerful and motivated group of changemakers for healthy, sustainable food systems. Taking the perspectives of young people into policy making is considered the top priority according to the most recent Lancet Report stressing five key recommendations for policymakers to harness the potential of 1.8 billion young people around the world, a generation of young people larger than has ever existed before.

Harnessing the enthusiasm, creativity, idealism of young people, as well as their power as consumers, will be an important lever to making transformative change to the way public and private sectors operate across all parts of the food system. Beyond that, youth and young people have the power to start making change themselves, and it is key that allies and advocates help amplify their voices and actions to maximise impact.

Here we have pulled together some resources to help youth and young people learn more about how they can get involved in shaping our food system, and how allies can support them in this work.


Get involved

Take the pledge to act. And demand urgent large-scale action from others, especially from decision-makers in government and business. Youth #Act4Food #Act4Change to support #GoodFoodForAll.

Vote on actions you would like your governments and businesses to take to ensure that our food systems are healthy, just, and sustainable.  

Join the Innovative Food Systems Solution (IFSS) portal youth research network and connect with other students (Bachelors & Masters), young entrepreneurs, youth advocates, activists, policy influencers, and community organizers across the food system.

Share research, events, blogs or other resources that you think are important to food systems transformation. You can also let us know which issues matter to you, which topics you would like to see covered or how we can support you.

Resources for young people

Listen in or participate in the "At the Table with..." series, hosted on Wednesdays by Act4Food/Act4Change on Instagram Live. There are 650+ followers connected here and these discussions cover different topics relevant to youth in food systems. 

In this series of events, youth leaders, experts and innovators, together with experts, are invited to share actionable solutions that can help transform agri-food systems and end hunger. 

The fight for youth representation in the food system
Food Tank

This podcast hosted by Dani Nierenberg from Food Tank, features Act4Food Act4Change core group member Lana Weidgenant in a discussion about fighting for youth representation in food systems. 

World Obesity

This resource highlights common techniques used by food companies to influence young people's food choices. It also provides a how-to guide to advocate for change. 

Resources for advocates

Food & Business Knowledge Platform

This paper outlines is an initial exploration of key themes and examples of involvement of international and Dutch organisations on engaging youth in agriculture, and where there is scope for supporting ongoing activities.

EIT Food

This piece explores the key findings of a recent EIT Food report about Gen Z, 'Our Food, Our Food System', which seeks to understand what young people want, need and expect from the food system.

Committee on Food Security (CFS) High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE)

This report summarizes the range of institutions, approaches, policies and actions that can promote young people’s inclusive, equitable, productive and rewarding engagement in renewing food systems.

Dominic Glover and James Sumberg

This paper identifies ways in which youth as a group have special stakes in food systems, and identifies some principles to guide development research and policy that seeks to engage with youth in relation to the sustainable transformation of food systems.

Explore other youth-led initiatives 


Asia Indigenous Youth Platform, Asia: This youth-led organisation works to protect Indigenous knowledge and languages, strengthen land rights and food security, and take part in decision making. The AIYP sets out to empower Indigenous youths from 14 Asian countries in fighting for their inherent rights and sovereignty.

Bhalo Khabo Bhalo Thakbo (Eat Well Live Well): Join the millions of adolescents of Bangladesh in taking a pledge to eat nutritious and safer foods.

Bite Back 2030: At the heart of Bite Back 2030 is our Youth Board - a team of passionate teenage activists from across the UK who are campaigning for more opportunities to be healthy.

Digo Bikas Institute, Nepal: The youth-led research and advocacy organization, Digo Bikas Institute (DBI) is based in Kathmandu, Nepal and promotes ecological sustainability and social equity. 

Food Wave Project, Europe: The project draws a food-climate link and engages young people in campaigns to spread awareness around issues such as food waste. 

The Food Recovery Network, US: This student-led movement fights food waste and hunger nationwide, and continues to mobilise young people to fight for food recovery in higher education institutions.

Green Africa Youth Organization, Africa: GAYO is a youth-led and gender-balanced advocacy group focusing on environmental sustainability and community development. They are dedicated to developing a circular economy, disaster risk reduction, sustainable agriculture, and renewable energy activism. 

Hawai’i Youth Food Council, US: HYFC is supported by the Hawai‘i Farm to School Hui and Hawai‘i Public Health Institute. It seeks to engage youth in local food policy and aims mobilise them to create healthy and local food systems in Hawai’i that encourage a connection with the ‘āina, or land.

Institute for Young Women’s Development, Zimbabwe: IYWD is a young feminist organisation whose work is informed by the voices and experiences of young women in rural farming and mining communities. The Institute is committed to mobilizing and strengthening the voice and power of young women through capacity building around issues including human rights, equality, and entrepreneurship. 

NutriTank: This student-led, university-based network of societies aims to promote the need for greater nutrition and lifestyle medicine training within medical education in the UK and globally.

SDSN Youth: This program is part of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network - an initiative launched by UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, in 2012 to mobilize global expertise around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)


For more inspiration and to connect with other youth-led organisations, check out this article from FoodTank: 20 Youth Organizations Transforming Food System