Project Description

Society’s biggest challenges won’t be solved by government, not-for-profits or communities alone. Successfully addressing these complex social, environmental and economic challenges requires an ecosystem approach that enables key stakeholders, whole communities, academics, entrepreneurs and innovators to come together and cocreate replicable and scalable solutions.

In 2016, Doing Something Good ran a 10 week accelerator program for ventures and community projects aimed at making Melbourne’s food system healthy, sustainable, secure, resilient and socially inclusive. Building on a program of events that started with the EcoCity Food Forum in 2013, the second Local Food Launchpad program in 2016 worked with 15 participants to develop 11 concepts that hold the potential to improve our food system and build a better food future for the people of Melbourne. This is one of them.

Learn more about the 2016 Local Food Launchpad here. Discover other Local Food Launchpad projects here.

How might we provide young people with the skills and knowledge required for them to create a better food system?

Youth Food Movement Urban Forage & Feast

Bringing young people together to learn, share, create and make change.

The big issue

Our current food system is a key contributor to many of the social and environmental issues facing us today:

  • It’s affecting our health: 63% of Australian adults are currently overweight or obese (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2015)
  • We’re wasting huge amounts of the food we grow: each year Australians discard 4 million tonnes of food worth $8 billion  (Do Something! 2016)
  • We’re further away from where our food grows than we’ve ever been:  the items in an average shopping basket have travelled over a total of 70,000km (CERES 2008), using more energy, creating more emissions and obscuring the origins of what we eat
  • Urban sprawl is threatening our future food security: Melbourne’s foodbowl currently produces enough food to meet around 41% of the food needs of Melbourne’s population but current projections show a decrease to 18% by 2050 (Foodprint Melbourne 2015)

We believe that together, young people have the power to make real change

We want to build a generation of young Australians who can cook, understand the challenges farmers are facing and know the basics of how food grows. We want to build a generation of people that are healthier, more connected to food and land, and better able to make powerful consumer choices to positively shape the food system. Our choices count. We believe that by young people knowing and sharing more about where our food comes from (how it was grown, who grew it, what can even be done with it), they become armed with the skills, knowledge and experience to build us a sweeter food future.

This is how can help them do it

Young people (between 18-35 years old) living in Melbourne, are already thinking about what, why and how they eat. We provide an opportunity for these young people to become part of a community of like-minded young people who share their passion for food, to learn about our food system in Australia and how they can be part of the solutions to the challenges we face whilst also developing new professional skills and having the chance to explore future career opportunities. As the current and future decision makers around food, we aim to inspire them to become curious, conscious consumers and growers themselves.

Where we started

We came into this with an idea for an event also called ‘Urban Forage and Feast’, the main objectives of which were to increase the profile of YFM in Melbourne and to be a major fundraiser for our future activities. Our initial concept was to invite the general public to enjoy a meal made exclusively with produce donated by local farmers and urban growers and have speakers that would highlight stories of local food production within Melbourne.

…we came to realise that we could create a greater impact by demonstrating the value YFM provides to its members.

What we learned

Through research and conducting customer interviews, we soon realised that there were a number of successful events run in Melbourne very similar to our initial concept of Urban Forage and Feast. From this we came to realise that we could differentiate our event and create a greater impact by focusing on creating an event that demonstrates the value YFM provides to its members.

What’s next

We want to grow the Melbourne Chapter of YFM so that we can give more young Melburnians the opportunity to  develop knowledge and skills they can put to use in creating a better future for our food system. To help achieve this, we want to turn Urban Forage and Feast into a seasonal dinner that will become our signature event. Our pilot event is scheduled for early December and we plan to take all the lessons we learn from this to enable us to scale up the next event, engage with more potential YFM members and raise funds for future activities.

What we need

To help us give more young Melbournians the chance to build the skills they need to create their futures, we’re looking for mentors willing to share their knowledge and expertise with our members, for partnerships with food and community development related organisations and for funding to support our activities and help us become financially sustainable. If you’re able to help us run a workshop, organise an educational event, would like to help us plan our next Urban Forage and Feast or simply support us financially, we’d love to hear from you.

A little about us

Camille Sauvage (left) Coming from France, I can easily say that food is my God! I know, such a cliché! It took me three years as a Business Consultant and one year travelling in Australia to realise that food is actually driving my life. I want to use my energy and my ambition to do something good for our food system and to improve our general health. Volunteering for YFM is, for me, a way to learn more about issues that I care about, to connect with other people, to build new skills and to be part of a sector that I would like to grow my career in.

Laura Cordner (right) I’m an avid traveller, budding compost enthusiast, wannabe sourdough aficionado and devotee to all things food related. I recently completed my Masters of Sustainability where I found myself focusing heavily on the intersection between sustainability and systems of food production and consumption. Then a stint volunteering on a permaculture farm in Nicaragua really opened my eyes to the real potential of sustainable food systems and how they can function successfully. Now back in Melbourne, I’m keeping the fire alive and getting involved in the food and sustainability community through volunteer work at CERES, Kinfolk Café and of course, the Youth Food Movement.

Like to know more or want to work with us? Please get in touch.

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