Our planet faces the challenge of feeding an expanding population – predicted to reach almost 10 billion by 2050 – with fewer resources than ever. To do this in a sustainable manner, new solutions are needed. Ideas and innovations that take into account the day-to-day realities of farming, agricultural production and food consumption. Ideas that will transform today’s challenges into tomorrow’s opportunities. We believe that, as the agricultural leaders of tomorrow, young people should be at the forefront of these efforts.
A platform for change
The Youth Ag Summit is a unique opportunity to connect and empower the next generation of agricultural change-makers. Every two years, we bring together 100 global young leaders aged 18 to 25, for networking, debates, skills training, and project development. The end goal? To equip young people to take concrete action on one of humanity’s most pressing problems: how to feed a hungry planet.
A global framework
The Youth Ag Summit’s efforts are aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 with a view to ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring prosperity for all. Amongst other things, the SDGs aim to achieve Zero Hunger and end all forms of malnutrition by 2030.
A growing movement
The first edition of the Youth Ag Summit took place in Calgary, Canada in 2013, followed in 2015 with the second edition in Canberra, Australia. The most recent Summit took place in Brussels, Belgium, in October 2017.
The fourth edition of the Youth Ag Summit will be hosted in Brasilia, Brazil, between November 4 and 6, 2019. Once again, 100 young delegates from across the world will be chosen to attend. However, for the first time, the final selection of delegates will be based on their proposed project ideas.
Planting a path for progress
To apply, eligible candidates (young people aged 18 to 25 with a passion for agriculture) will need to submit an idea for a ‘Thrive for Change’ project which addresses food security in the context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Applicants are encouraged to think about how they can “plant a path” for youth to be change-makers in implementing the SDGs, and work towards food security in ways both big and small.
The Summit will function as an idea incubator: helping delegates work together to turn the ideas with the most potential into reality, and equipping them with the skills needed to deliver on their projects once the Summit concludes.
The delegates will also participate in industry tours, hear from expert speakers, and pledge action on “3 Little Things” to improve food security – one of the most concrete outcomes from previous Summits. You can find out how previous delegates have been progressing with their #3LittleThings below.
“After the Youth Ag Summit I became part of the Thought For Food Next Gen Council, where I had the opportunity to work with young ambassadors from across Latin America to recruit teams for the Thought For Food Challenge. We aim to generate awareness in our local communities about the importance of implementing sustainable practices to feed the world. Thanks to this, I’ve been able to connect youth with global opportunities in agriculture, and start a small project to support vulnerable indigenous communities in the Bolivian Amazon. I also participated as one of 1000 delegates at the UNLEASH Innovation Lab in Singapore in June, where we had the opportunity to create a solution to achieve zero hunger. Every young person committed to the challenge of feeding 9 billion people by 2050 should become an agvocate and pledge their own #3LittleThings. It has not only inspired me to take concrete actions, but also has given me the opportunity to connect with like-minded people.”
“My main goal after the Youth Ag Summit was to bring more perspectives into food and ag conversations. My job is the Education Coordinator for the Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph. I run programs where students from all disciplines work on real-life projects to help agriculture organizations improve the food system (you can apply!). I also run a program called feeding 9 billion to bring fun food security education to high schoolers. The third demographic I work with is the general public: I get to travel to big events to run ag-education activities that teach everyday people about the challenges and opportunities in our food system.”
“My #3LittleThings are focused on furthering my involvement in entomophagy (edible insects). In pursuit of this I have explored the topic abroad, most notably in Bangkok, Thailand: the insect eating capital of the world. Scorpions, Giant Water bugs, grasshoppers, Crickets, Bamboo worms, Weaver Ant Pupae... you name it, I ate them all! My first insect encounter in Thailand was with fellow Youth Ag Summit alumna Cherry Wang, who took me out to the night train market where she treated me to bugs and beer - an opportunity that may have been missed if not for the social network established through YAS. The highlight of my trip was when I went to Krabi in south Thailand, where I witnessed an 8 year old girl using her pocket money to buy a bag of Red Palm Weevils much in the same way a child in England might buy a bag of sweets. For me this was evidence of how the stigma against eating insects could be resolved over time through a shift in cultural perspective.”
“My #3LittleThings were to encourage, celebrate and educate. The first two were encourage others to commit to their own small steps for agriculture on social media, and to continue celebrate Australian agriculture by photographing a LEGO® farmer minifigure and sharing through Little BRICK Pastoral. My long-term pledge was to educate and increase agricultural education in Australian schools. Looking back, the Youth Ag Summit was an important part of the jigsaw. As another delegate said, the students in our kindergartens today will be the Mum and Dad consumers of 2050. If we want to change the conversation, we have to have a conversation in our classrooms. This continues to drive my passion for telling that story through Little BRICK Pastoral. I’ve since partnered with NSW Department of Primary Industries to create a teacher resource kit delivered free to 200 primary schools in the region.”
“My #3littlethings focus on communicating, contributing and initiating. A highlight was presenting the Canberra Youth Ag-Declaration at the United Nations’ Committee on Food Security in Rome; an action plan on how youth can drive change based on the 2015 Youth Ag Summit. Beyond this, I continue to #agvocate, sharing experiences with Uwezo youth group in Mombasa, Kenya and posting on social media. A recent partnership with Farm Culture Africa and extended talks with fellow YAS delegate Risper Njagi (from agrikuaplatform) have fired up in me the drive to see to it that smallholder farmers contribute to global food security. The agricultural value chain has immense entrepreneurial opportunities, and I’ve recently initiated my own franchise for beef and milk products: the Chii Place. My question: if I can do it, why can’t YOU(th) do it?”