The very first food youth council in the Netherlands has been installed. Fifteen youngsters from the (pre-) VET from the north of the Netherlands will be working on issues
related to sustainability and health within the theme of food. They give young people a voice towards policy makers and administrators. Making a difference with the food youth council:
Imagine, you have a voice to change something in the future in terms of food. You think the food chain needs to be changed and you also have ideas about this. It’s nice that you can indeed share your ideas. That’s why we joined the food youth council.
‘In the summer of 2020 we were approached by Anita van der Noord*. An experienced and fanatical politician who is committed to young people. Anita had only one goal:
to give young people a voice! Anita shared her mission and vision, she wanted to establish a youth food council. For this she sought the first members of the council. The first members were we, Jelien and Femke, along with two others. We immediately envisioned how we could change a number of food issues.
But why, why did we immediately get excited? We were often asked this question. Femke said: “Meeting new people with the same ambition. I do my best to make my voice heard.” And Jelien said: “I like talking to people who are in a position to actually make the change.” Then our adventure with the food youth council began.
Of course, we had to strengthen our council. In order to inform and enthuse more young people, to make their voices heard in the field of food, we visited several
schools. We have now formed a strong and beautiful council with each other.
Friday 9 October 2020 was a big day for us, as it was the official opening of the council. We entered into a dialogue with each other and various experts in the field of
nutrition (including policy officers, growers, farmers and the mayor). We immediately made our voices heard and said what we stand for. We were very
noticed then and were taken seriously. As a result, we have brought in a number of issues.
Because the first food youth council in the Netherlands had started, it is important to immediately make an impression, say what you stand for and to be taken seriously. To get
more publicity, the entire start-up of the council was filmed by a documentary maker.
After October 9, things went fast. We were invited to several radio stations. We were allowed to tell our story there. And if that wasn’t enough, we were nominated for the SustainaBUL VET audience award. The tension was to die for. On the day of the final we were neck and neck with another contestant. At the last minute we had
a lead and this resulted in a victory.
WOW, no one expected that! Several issues have been completed. The municipality of Groningen has even asked if we want to remain involved in their food agenda and to give our opinion. We couldn’t have wished for a better start”.
Suppose you have read this story and you want to set up something similar in your country. How do you handle that then?
Search for election manifestos of political parties and find the people who get a lot of publicity because of their attention to the SDGs. Invite that person(s) to your school and tell them what you want (using the above story as an example). Suppose that politician also sees something in the idea and goes to work with it…. Then you can also mean something in the field of food!
*Council member GroenLinks (a Dutch political party), regional coordinator SDG Netherlands (provinces of Drenthe and Groningen), director of the New Lifestyle Foundation, chairman
of the Child and Nutrition Foundation.
Contact info Youth Food council