Young people are the future of food security. By 2050, youth, ages 15-24, are expected to reach 1.4 billion, or 14 percent of the population. At Food Tank, we recognise youth as the next generation of food system leaders.
Across the globe, young leaders are making their voices heard in the food system. From September 21-23, 2015, 75 alumni of the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition (BCFN) network will travel from 17 countries to gather at the 2015 Milan EXPO. The alumni will develop recommendations with guidance from food system experts, launching a youth manifesto at the end of the event.By handing the manifesto over to the Dubai 2020 Representatives, these young people will give voice to a worldwide network of their peers. Danielle Nierenberg, President of Food Tank will speak at the event and meet these inspiring and innovative young people from around the globe.
Many of the students and youth leaders are alumni of the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition’s Young Earth Solutions (BCFN YES!) program, which is a laboratory for solutions to the problems of hunger, food sustainability, nutrition, and fairness. Ten finalists from the 2015 BCFN YES! competition will participate in the 7th International Forum on Food and Nutrition on October 23, 2015 at the Milan EXPO 2015 to engage with international leaders on food sustainability topics.
Online voters can choose their favorite projects from 30 finalists. This year’s finalists include Oluwafemi Ajayi, who is using traditional snack foods to fight protein-energy malnutrition in Nigeria, and Achmad Solikhin, who is implementing sustainable agroforestry in Indonesia.
The final evaluation of projects will take place during the 7th International Forum, where finalist participants will give short presentations before a panel of judges. The winning individual or student team will receive a prize of €10,000 (US$11,295) to help make their idea a reality.
“It is really very important that we young people get involved in finding solutions to current challenges, to improve the food system, reduce obesity, improve and promote sustainable agriculture,” says Gianna Bonis-Profumo, winner of the 2014 BCFN YES! competition. “It’s an important opportunity to meet people with big ideas and create a network to help make the world a better place.”
Do you know any young people acting as agents of positive change in your community and beyond? We want to know about these leaders! Share your ideas with me at Danielle@foodtank.com!
(Danielle Nierenberg is President, Food Tank, foodtank.com)