Why Young Australians Are Getting Their Vegetable On - Literally

October 31, 2016


Youth Food Movement Australia launches ambitious new campaign empowering young leaders to change the future of food.



Youth Food Movement Australia is gathering support around the country to crowdfund an ambitious new project, Upstart. Throughout 2017 Upstart will act as a launchpad to grow 100 new food leaders and empower  a growing population of millennials obsessed with food, and engaged in cultural and political events in Australia. The campaign video, which features a giant carrot is taking Facebook feeds by storm.


Why the launchpad? Why YFM?


“The launchpad will help us train up 100 new leaders to grow the network across the country. This means that YFM will be able to launch more  amazing food projects, and create an impact so large it can’t be ignored”  says Thea Soutar, who manages the organisation’s volunteers. “For example, our volunteers create experiences from innovative farm tours in Sydney and Brisbane, to mushroom foraging feasts in Melbourne.” Each project connects food choices with the environmental impacts that affect societal wellbeing.


Youth Food Movement Australia has grown from a small crew of Sydney volunteers when it launched in 2011, to a passionate community of over 18,000. “We get more applications to volunteer than we can handle, which is amazing. It just goes to show how many young people are keen to make a difference when it’s with a supportive network of other passionate young people,” says Thea Soutar, who manages the group’s six volunteer chapters in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Western Sydney, Launceston and Wollongong.



Offering a new kind of volunteering experience


“Our volunteers don’t just offer their existing skills, or their time. They develop new ones. They lead the kind of events they wish existed, but don’t yet. They overcome their fears and just give things a go,” says Soutar. “Over the last 5 years our volunteers have gone on to start their own businesses. They’ve learnt what it takes to run, fund, and engage the public on an issue they care about, and do it effectively. But what we hear most of all is that, just by virtue of finding our community, they’ve developed the confidence and support to do things they never thought would be possible.” These skills are also what employers are increasingly looking for, according to a recent analysis in Australia.


We got 99 problems, and young people are best placed to solve them


Food waste is just one example of a problem Youth Food Movement Australia have been involved in solving over the last few years, collaborating with the likes of the NSW EPA, OzHarvest and Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. A 2016 report showed millennials are the biggest contributors to the $10bn of food wasted each year in Australia. The report found that individuals who wasted more also had less understanding about how food is produced, the resources it takes, and the societal impacts it has.


“We started Youth Food Movement Australia to reconnect young people in cities with the food they’re putting in their mouths three times a day,” says co-founder Alexandra Iljadica.



Youth Food Movement Australia is a growing generation of young Australians who care about their food choices and are co-creating a more sustainable food future. Their volunteer-powered food projects work with organisations, councils, universities in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Launceston, Wollongong and Western Sydney, with more chapters already sprouting up. An estimated 32,000 hours of volunteer time have resulted in 36 events all over the country.

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