Upstart | Help hatch a youth food launchpad

By Youth Food Movement Australia

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CAMPAIGN UPDATE | Tuesday 8th November

Team, we've hit our first target of 18K! And not only have we reached it, but together we reached it only 11 days into the campaign, with 11 days still to go!

With such overwhelming support behind us, we're setting our sights on our stretch goal. We've realised that the kind of launchpad we want to create is not one that's bigger, it's one that's better. So for our stretch goal of $30,000 we're putting our money where our mouth is and valuing quality over quantity. Help us create the business class version of our launchpad, Upstart. Scroll down for more details.

Meet Vivien.

Vivien has always loved food. Like, seriously. By day she delighted in everything from the arrival of mango season to the smell outside a bakery. By night she would nerd out reading food politics papers late into the evening, crushing croissant crumbs into the desk, contemplating the challenges we face around food and how we might pull ourselves out of this spot.

The problem was, she felt powerless. The more she learnt, the bigger the food problems felt. She wanted to understand how issues like obesity, climate change and the aging farming population were affecting her community. And what could she, a mere student in the burbs, even hope to do about it?

About 18 months ago, Vivien found YFM and her story started to change. She met a small cluster of other out-and-proud food nerds and found that she was not alone. The cluster thought Viv was amazing. Viv thought the cluster was amazing. And so it began to grow.

Together, they started to organise. They hosted workshops to bring young people together and teach each other how to cook. They worked on farms to see and hear new perspectives on food. They spoke up at events to share their ideas. Through mentoring, they learnt leadership skills to empower others to take action too. They also dressed up like carrots, because they were millenials and that’s what happens. And they soon realised that they did have power, it was just about realising it was there.

YFM didn't make Viv awesome, she already was. YFM helped her make her awesome come alive. It helped her translate it into real, tangible change for the thing she cared about: food.

What we're going to do

You might not have met Vivien before, but you also kind of have. Because we’re all a bit Vivien .

Imagine if we were able to empower more Viviens (like, a heap of Viviens) to power the next generation of food change makers in Australia? Imagine what Australia would look like in 20 years time if we helped hundreds of Viviens to get the leg up they needed?

To do just that, the Youth Food Movement is creating a launchpad for 100 young food leaders around Australia.
The launchpad is a 9-month training program to build the collective capacity of young people to be active change makers in the world of food and agriculture.

Open to 18-35 year olds, the program will include:

  • A Volunteer Mentoring and Self-Development Program - including regular one-on-one leadership mentoring for team leaders, self-development and goal-setting workshops and involvement in design and delivery of three food education projects in their local community.

  • An Online Training + Capacity Building Program - featuring online training webinars delivered by special guest speakers in food and agriculture and senior YFM staff. Participants will be upskilled in project design and management, communications, marketing and behaviour change and learn about the intricacies of the Australian and global food system from industry professionals.

  • 1 x Annual National Team Retreat + 6 x Annual Chapter Retreats - for delivery of face-to-face volunteer training, personal and team reflection, field trips, strategy and community building and to celebrate the invaluable hard work of YFM volunteers across the country each year.

If we reach our our $30,000 target, we'll:

  • Be inviting all of our favourite food crushes to be a part of the program, meaning more experienced trainers and access to important thinkers and doers in food and agriculture.

  • Create a more personalised mentoring program with our team leaders and support all participants secure mentors in their areas of interest.

  • Provide participants access to the YFM Handbook and Toolkit meaning young leaders have access to the resources and networks they need to start their food journeys.

Why young people, you say?

Over the past 5 years at YFM, we’ve seen ever more young people clamoring for a chance to have their voices heard, to be a part of the thriving Australian food movement, to change the shape of how we grow and eat food. We know, because they get in touch with us each and every week.

Young people are the trailblazers of our food future and we know that to empower and untap their potential, the single most powerful thing we can do is to create communities of young people who love food, support creativity and can help give rise to new ideas and fresh thinking.'

YFM has already built 6 chapters across Australia. We want to continue to grow the capacity of our leaders in those chapters, and beyond, so that real food becomes our default, not the alternative. By creating a launchpad for 100 food leaders we are:

  • Supporting more new awesome food projects to come alive around Australia,
  • Developing the centre-points of local food communities, allowing young people to create the social connections that help them find their power
  • Breaking the mould on the top down model of education and behavior change, and allowing young people to learn from their peers
  • Doing our part to give the Australian food system the greatest hope and security for the future

You can join us.

Reaching our tipping point goal of $18,000 will allow us to support YFM team members to research, design and implement a 9-month online training program for participants across the country, engage specialist guest speakers for online workshops, cover travel and accommodation costs associated with getting volunteers to chapter training retreats and operational costs associated with providing ongoing mentoring and support to volunteer team leaders.

But first we need your help. Pledge to YFM’s crowdfunding campaign to help us make this dream become a reality. And with enough support, we’ll see you next year at Upstart!

A huge thank you to our biggest donors so far:

A big thank you to our promotional supporters!

Pat Nourse, Gourmet Traveller

Indira Naidoo

Sarah Wilson

Sustainable Table

Darren Robertson, Three Blue Ducks

Christopher Thé, Black Star Pastry


Jacqueline, The Brown Paper Bag

Brendan Cato, The Farmed Table

Sarah Han, Sarah Vs Carbs

Sammy & Bella

Monash Nutrition & Diatetics Society

Danling Xiao, Mundane Matters

Sustain: The Australian Food Network

Eco My Home

Less Meat Less Heat

The Grassy Bowl

Hawkesbury Student Farm

West Syd Agriculture

Common Cause Australia

The Valley Centre


Nadia Felsch

The Sustainable Table

Australian Rural Leadership Foundation

Centre for Sustainability Leadership

ABC Rural

Friend a Farmer

Produce to the People

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Team Members

Youth Food Movement Australia

Alexandra Iljadica

Joanna Baker

Zo Zhou