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Food and society

The Youth Manifesto reaches adulthood

From the collective development of the document to the creation of a network of BCFN Alumni, through to its arrival at the European Parliament. Young people’s ideas for changing the agri-food model are making headway.

One hundred young researchers from all over the world are working towards a single objective: to lay the foundations for a drastic paradigm shift in the agri-food system. This is what happened in Parma in September 2015 when, over two days of work, the skills and personal experiences of all the young BCFN researchers created the Youth Manifesto: a call for a new policy that can finally bring an end to the current paradoxes governing food production and consumption.

 

Seven areas for intervention

Each of us came to Parma by following a different path but with the same desire to meet the challenge of a common goal. It was exciting to work together, following the advice of our mentors and adopting the right amount of transgression required to move away from everyday life and find a way to change the current state of the agri-food system. The seven tasks of the Youth Manifesto cover seven working groups (on agriculture, journalism, activism and non-profit, education, research and the food industry) and give an idea of how different life could be if only the voices of qualified, motivated young people were listened to and put into practice.


From the Expo to Brussels

The Youth Manifesto draft developed in Parma was presented to Maurizio Martina, the Minister of Agriculture, at EXPO 2015, as well as to representatives from many countries at their respective stands and to Simona Bonafé and Aldo Longo, both representatives from European institutions who gave us initial feedback on the feasibility of our suggestions.

A further step forward was made in early December when the Youth Manifesto was presented to different Members of the European Parliament in Brussels. This event brought the delegation of BCFN Alumni and their message straight to the heart of political debate. Common ground also emerged from this meeting with certain policies already implemented by the European Commission. One such example is the Circular Economy Package, which was also presented on the same day, containing different measures to cut down on food waste. It was very encouraging to find out that the goals of the Youth Manifesto are shared by people with the power to transpose them into legislation.

 

A network of collaborations

In light of the path it has just started, the network of BCFN Alumni is increasingly strengthening its position: our new friendships and spontaneous collaborations are confirming our multidisciplinary approach to the problems we want to solve: a characteristic that makes us different and unique.

 

It was an honour for me to be elected President of the BCFN Alumni and I firmly believe in the strength of this young network. My task will be to motivate each member to be bold and positive in their actions. I will have achieved my goal when each Alumni has been able to have their say on the causes that are important to them, including through the support and exchanges of this community, acting as a role model in their network of contacts. Our mission, as ambassadors of the Youth Manifesto, is to ensure that this document achieves concrete results as soon as possible, without waiting for someone to do our part. We now have everything we need to change (at least) our small piece of the planet.


Francesca Allievi, BCFN Alumni President

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