Leading Youth Food Campaigner Launches Global Manifesto to Mend ‘Broken Food System’

Brazilian-American young food campaigner Lana Weidgenant is this week launching a global food manifesto – together with 34 other leading youth activists from around the world – setting out what they want governments and businesses to do to mend the “broken food system” that is threatening species extinction, driving climate change and contributing to disease around the world.

Lana helped to engage more than 100,000 young people from all seven continents around the world to vote on the top ten ‘Actions 4 Change’ they believe must be prioritized to make sure everyone can eat a healthy and sustainable diet, and to ensure food production does not harm but helps protect our planet. The growing movement of young people is demanding change from decision-makers, who they feel are failing to listen to young people and to prioritize the global food crisis.

In the United States, “back sustainable farming to regenerate our soils and reduce damaging chemicals” was voted as the top priority in the manifesto, followed by “everyone should be able to afford healthy and nutritious food.” “Every child should eat a healthy and sustainable meal at school or college” came third.

Lana has already helped galvanize support for the Act4Food Act4Change campaign in part by her own actions to promote sustainable food systems in the United States.

Global youth are now calling on governments and businesses to act on their youth food priorities.

Lana Weidgenant, Act4Food Act4Change U.S. youth leader, said:

“Young people around the world are speaking up and demanding urgent action to tackle hunger, improve health and heal the planet. The food system is broken, and we are the most vulnerable to the effects of malnutrition and climate change. Our manifesto of Actions 4 Change is a challenge to governments and businesses to do the right thing. The U.S. government and businesses must take action on food systems now.”

Anna Taylor, Director of the Food Foundation, said:

“We are seeing the global movement of young people campaigning for a better food system growing by the day. The statistics are bleak: currently our global food system creates one third of all greenhouse gases and is the biggest driver of biodiversity loss. But the voices of young people are powerful, and their determination brings hope. It’s critical decision-makers listen and involve them in decision-making.”

Failure by businesses and governments to act to mend the broken food system would have catastrophic consequences for the planet and its people.

Food systems generate around one-third of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.

Our global food system is the primary driver of biodiversity loss, with agriculture alone being the identified threat to 86 percent of the species at risk of extinction.

3 billion people can’t afford a healthy diet, with 2 billion suffering from food insecurity and 1 in 3 people suffering from obesity. Yet we waste a third of the food we produce.

Poor diets are the largest risk factor contributing to the global burden of disease, responsible for about 22 percent of adult deaths globally.

70 percent of all fresh water withdrawn is used for agricultural irrigation, while nearly half the global population are already living in potential water scarce areas at least one month per year.

For more information or interviews, please contact Lana Weidgenant at lanaweidgenant@gmail.com.

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Photo courtesy of Julian Hanslmaier, Unsplash

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