Leading youth food campaigners launch global manifesto to mend ‘broken food system’

Youth Leaders - Ryan, Yumna, Dev-min.jpg

Leading youth food campaigners launch global manifesto to mend ‘broken food system’

More than 100,000 young people around the world have voted on the top ten ‘Actions 4 Change’ they want governments and businesses to take to mend the ‘broken global food system’ that is threatening species extinction, driving climate change and contributing to disease around the world.

A growing movement of young people, led by 35 courageous young activists from 28 countries, are demanding change from decision-makers, who they feel are failing to listen to young people and to prioritise the global food crisis.

103,000 young people from all seven continents participated in the global consultation for the youth campaign Act4Food Act4Change.

Making sure everybody can afford healthy and nutritious food was voted as the top priority in the manifesto, followed by backing sustainable farming to regenerate soil and reduce the use of damaging chemicals. Ensuring every child can eat a healthy, sustainable meal at nursery, school or college came third.

The leading young campaigners have already galvanised hundreds of thousands of people to back their campaign - in part inspiring support through their own actions to tackle the food crisis in their own countries.

  • Priya set up India’s largest student health organisation, HealthSetGo, which has reached more than a quarter of a million students with resources and training about healthy eating habits.
  • Maureen from Kenya has equipped 2,500 community members with nutrition knowledge and improved food security through training young women to cultivate indigenous vegetables.
  • Canadian Taylor has enabled thousands of Liberian families living in poverty to buy nutritious food with ingredients sourced from local women small-holders through his social enterprise.
  • Dev grew up receiving free school meals in the UK. During lockdown he successfully helped to influence the UK government to extend free school meals during the holidays and increase help for families to afford healthy meals.

Rayan Kassem, Act4Food Act4Change youth leader, said:

“Young people around the world are speaking up and demanding urgent action to tackle hunger, improve health and heal the planet. The food system is broken, and we are one of the most vulnerable to the effects of malnutrition and climate change. Our manifesto of Actions 4 Change is a challenge to governments and businesses to do the right thing. We will not compromise with decision-makers until we have a decent and fair future.”

Anna Taylor, Director of The Food Foundation, said:

“We are seeing the global movement of young people campaigning for a better food system growing by the day. The statistics are bleak: currently our global food system creates one third of all greenhouse gases and is the biggest driver of biodiversity loss. But the voices of young people are powerful, and their determination brings hope. It’s critical decision-makers listen and involve them in decision-making.”

Failure by businesses and governments to act to mend the broken food system would have catastrophic consequences for the planet and its people.

  • Food systems generate around one-third of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Our global food system is the primary driver of biodiversity loss, with agriculture alone being the identified threat to 86% of the species at risk of extinction. 
  • 3 billion people can’t afford a healthy diet, with 2 billion suffering from food insecurity and 1 in 3 people suffering from obesity. Yet we waste a third of the food we produce.
  • Poor diets are the largest risk factor contributing to the global burden of disease, responsible for about 22% of adult deaths globally.
  • 70% of all fresh water withdrawn is used for agricultural irrigation, while nearly half the global population are already living in potential water scarce areas at least one month per year.


For more information or interview requests with any of the youth campaigners or The Food Foundation, please contact:

Sarah Jacobs +447779004071 / [email protected]

Please find here images of the youth campaigners.

Note to editors

  • 103,000 young people voted for their top ten Actions 4 Change as part of a global consultation led by 35 youth campaigners from 28 countries, supported by the Food Foundation and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition.
  • Actions 4 Change methodology:
    • The Food Foundation convened a group of youth, environmental and health organisations and asked them to submit evidence for what they would like to be included in the Actions 4 Change longlist. A total of 80 different youth networks and organisations from across the globe fed in evidence. The youth leaders then reviewed this evidence, analysing the key themes and ideas, and wrote a long list of 17 Actions 4 Change.
    • The longlist of 17 Actions 4 Change was launched in May 2021 and young people (under 30) from all over the world were encouraged to vote on their top five Actions 4 Change. The actions that got the most votes made it into the final 10. During this phase we reached out to young people via social media, but also went out into communities to collect votes offline.

I am looking for...