29 Jun - 20 Jul 2021

Food systems for decent employment and better lives for all

SparkBlue • 24 June 2021

Welcome to our discussion on Action Track 4

How do we build food systems that promote decent and productive employment for all? Action Track 4

We need food systems that promote and advance decent and productive employment for all, that support entrepreneurship and address inequitable access to resources. Also, we need to strengthen the capacities of local communities, women, indigenous peoples, farmers, and other marginalized groups to have a greater role in shaping their own future of food. And to ensure food systems that promote employment for all, we need coordinated actions.

Look at some of the actionable solutions that the UNFSS Action Track process and youth have proposed.

  1. Mobilize civil society and supporting youth-led initiatives
  2. Attract youth to farming
  3. Empower women, smallholder farmers and youth through school-based agricultural education
  4. Empower youth as innovators and changemakers for sustainable food systems
  5. Support small projects/initiatives locally owned by youth
  6. Establish a catalytic SME financing facility to transform food systems
  7. Blended financing mechanism to small projects/initiatives locally owned by women and youth

Find additional information in the UNFSS Community Platform.

After reading these propositions, let us know what you think, what you can do, and what support is needed to bring the changes you aspire to obtain! You can answer one or all the following questions, using any means you prefer – write a comment, share a picture, compose a song or a poem, or send us a short video:

  1. Is there anything we have missed or that can complement these propositions?
  2. What concrete actions are you, your youth organization, or your community ready to take to ensure that food systems promote more decent employment?
  3. How do you think Governments and other stakeholders can support youth in achieving the actions identified?
  4. Supposing there were coalitions formed around any of these, which one would you be interested to join?


Comments (27)

Tommaso Ruggiero Moderator

Hello, we are Tommaso and Emma, we are the Youth Track moderators for Food systems for decent employment and better lives for all. We are very excited to receive your thoughts and your comments regarding this topic. Please remember to click on the 'Select your language' button available and feel free to comment in your own language. We're ready to collect everybody's recommendation and to raise Youth's voice from all over the world.

Vanessa Garcia Polanco

Please take a look at these and discuss the following: 

  1. What is the issue that is of primary importance to you and your communities?
    1. Greater participation of excluded groups
  2. Aside from public/private partnerships, more goverment funded programs at different levels (state, municipal,regional) to fund youth starting farming operations and youth lead organizations training the next generation of farmers. 
  3. Organize non-profits and cooperatives to access funding, training and support network to support youth in ag. 
  4. Support the systems and insfrasctuture  that youth need to participate in agriculture. Reduce succedees to big farms and agri businesses , so  youth in ag can compete in ag.  
  5. Yes
Tommaso Ruggiero Moderator

Thanks for your valuable comment Vanessa! It would be very interesting in knowing more about the excluded group, who are these in your community? Why are they excluded?

In addition, it seems that in your community access to funds is the main issue for youth in agriculture and this prevent them to enter the market and compete, is this correct?

Sezibera Robert

 Implement regular dialogues and action planning with young constituents and should organise regular youth dialogues in their constituencies, where youth provide feedback on actions taken in response to previous youth inputs and where young people provide information and insights into the local implementation of SDG related targets. This should include spaces for discussion on areas of concern and commitments that are not being fulfilled, in order to develop mutual accountability action plans to address challenges. events ahead of regional and global government conferences can also be an opportunity for young people to learn more and if its good they may applicate in their country

Emma R Moderator

Dear Sezibera, thank you for contribution and interesting input. Indeed, you raise a very good point on the importance of creating spaces for discussion, exchange and consultation with young constituents as a permanent feature, and a way for governments and leaders to be held accountable as well as have a dialogue with their constituents. Would you picture this as a recurrent meeting, such as for instance local citizens councils, or one-offs ahead of global conferences and elections for instance? Also, would you see this process happening at the local level - municipality - or perhaps the district/region level, or even wider at country level? 

Selma bichbich

I think, giving the chance to youth to speak out and express their thoughts, is not a mistake if such a thing was giving to youth, because this latter will lead to a huge, positive change that can not only address challenges but even tackle them by implementing their brilliant ideas that had always brought with it very interesting outcomes, not only that but providing them with the needed support that consists of funding, encouraging, awarding and everything that can motivate them to do more and to love doing it as well.

Emma R Moderator

Thank you for your input Selma, which also builds very much on other inputs above. There is a clear interest for youth to have spaces for citizen discussion, exchange, and perhaps direct dialogue with politicians and governments. Do you have any ideas in mind for a format this could follow? Would this be in person exchanges, written consultations, permanent local citizen councils? 
You make another good point about motivating youth to do more and take action, they can be actors of the change.

Selma bichbich

First, I would love to thank you for noticing my input and for your positive feedback!

I have always believed in simplicity that can do a lot, no matter how small things were because I believe that this latter will be always easily noticed not only by the authorities but EVERYONE!

And we all know that there is nothing simpler than words since this latter healed people, solved problems and even liberated countries, so for me I think the best formate that I would always go for, and highly recommend others to always make it their first step, whether through having it in person exchanges or written consultation, and I do rather the first one more, even though I'm into both because you can see in today's era, that everyone is either scary about what the other is going to say or so excited to know what the same other is going to say as well?!

Now for going for such debates or dialogues with politicians and the authorities will always end up with an outcome, we can see a lot of youth who started being considered heroes just because they spoke out and everyone listened including the GOVERNMENT...

Probably people will keep always considering WORDS way simple to do something..but trust me it does, whether in written form, or spoken form.


Thank you one more time! 


Emma R Moderator

Thanks Selma! These are very inspiring words, and I very much agree in the power of discussion and exchange. We have a lot to learn from each other, and knowledge and opinion sharing can help us move forward and effectively change the world. I note your point as a key one, there is a power in speaking up in any forum, and we can only encourage youth to do so! 
We are looking forward to hearing from more participants and continuing the discussion here, and out there in the world.

Emmanuel Ngore

Youthfulness is a stage in life. Can we make sure these very important issues are executable and implemented so that future Youth do not re-invent the wheel? Right now it is more of an incessant invention

Emma R Moderator

Indeed Emmanuel, you raise a good point. There is a lot of knowledge and good practices that exist already, but we need to promote the transmission of existing practices and knowledge that work moving forward. Intergenerational exchange and capacity-building is key, today, but also for youth of the future. How can we ensure the transformations, and new practices we put in place remain, and are transmitted to future generations, how do we empower and give the tools they need to younger generations?

Ida Stromso

These input come from the "Indigenous Youth Global Declaration on Sustainable and Resilient Food Systems" issued during the Global Indigenous Youth Forum 2021:

1/3) We urge Member States and the UN to recognize the rights of Indigenous Peoples within the framework of Human Rights and the obligations of the United Nations Charter, regardless of the population size of the people concerned. The criterion of self-identification to an Indigenous People is the main criterion for determining membership to the people. Member States must recognize the criterion of self-identification. Indigenous Peoples right to self-determination in all aspects affecting their food systems should be duly respected.

1/3) We urge Member States to recognize the customary law of Indigenous Peoples over our territories and the ancestral ties with our lands and territories; we Indigenous Youth are the current and future custodians of our lands and territories.

1/3) We urge Governments to grant Indigenous Youth tailor-made affordable credit facilities to allow them financial stability to carry forward Indigenous Peoples Food Systems and to support the development of Indigenous Youth’s enterprises. We call upon the Private Sector to create spaces for Indigenous Peoples to sell our products.

1/3) For Indigenous youth living in urban areas, we urge Member States to ensure decent equal employment opportunities that guarantee labour rights free of discrimination and with social protection.

1/3) We appeal to governments to develop training plans for new technologies in Indigenous languages ​​that allow, within the framework of interculturality, to develop the capacities of Indigenous Youth to create local plans for the conservation of traditional knowledge through actions of innovation that combine ancestral knowledge with new technologies.

1/3) We ask funders, private sector and government to commit funds to Indigenous-led programming and training for Indigenous Youth’s capacity development and education.

Education is also of key importance on the path to decent employment:

1/3) We recommend that Member States work with Indigenous Peoples to establish intercultural education programmes; recognising Indigenous Youth need to learn about our traditional food systems, cultural heritage and key knowledge to sustain our food systems. We also encourage Member States to build interculturality into mainstream education, which will enable entire societies to better understand and respect Indigenous Peoples.

Echai Bruno

I think much has been Said, but to add, making Youths more attracted to agriculture Will go a long way to increase employment as they Will take agriculture as a business or passion. This can be done through trainings on modern techniques in agriculture that have a high Turn over and less human strength, encouragements, subventions, just to name but these

Tommaso Ruggiero Moderator

Thanks so much Bruno! Very interesting comment. Do you think governments can have an important role in contributing to make agriculture more attractive and putting in place the measures you mentioned?

Ndzerem Ulrich
  1. Empower women, smallholder farmers and youth through school-based agricultural education

Hello, I am Ndzerem Njodzeka Ulrich, CSAYN Bamenda, Cameroon.

Local farmers sometimes do the farming all wrong. The more the workshops to train them in various BEST Farm Practices, the better the results and farm produce in the end. Youths from agricultural establishments can be directly involved in such trainings provided the support they need from agric private and government sector elite.



Tommaso Ruggiero Moderator

Dear Ulrich,

thank you very much for your input! It is indeed a very good point. Allow me also to send you the link to the Community Platform  which includes some propositions that might be of your interest. In fact, in the proposition of Wave 1, Solution 13 (Invest in the Future -Making Food Systems Finance Accessible for Rural People) a Global platform for digital rural finance is proposed, with the following pillars:

1) an Innovation Fund with catalytic capital to support the development of new digital finance products, services, and business models designed for inclusive access among rural people;

2) a Technical Assistance Hub providing capital and expert support to build the capacity of rural financial service providers shifting to digital solutions and to technology providers with new business models to test for inclusion and sustainability;

3) a Global Knowledge Hub offering a repository of good practices and convening learning events around enabling policy and regulations, digital financial literacy, consumer protection, and partnerships.

Laurence Jeangros

The following comment is made on behalf of our youth-led group "Bites of Transfoodmation", in which we have created a vision for the food systems we want in the future in this manifesto.

  1. Within our group, Bites of Transfoodmation, we intensively talked about some aspects related to food systems for decent employment and better lives for all that may complement the above-listed propositions. For example, we highlighted the importance of focusing on cross-sectoral professional careers in the future as we believe that people will increasingly want to either know more about the food they consume, or have access to different opportunities and lifestyles. One could imagine replacing some of their time at their “usual” workplace with work in farms, gardening, animal breeding, beekeeping, etc. This would allow breaking down barriers among sectors and enable people to acquire knowledge on more fronts. Another thing that came out of our discussions is the importance of renewed traditions when talking about innovation. Indeed, we believe that innovations should always build upon existing experiential knowledge and keep what is inclusive and empowering in each tradition. Eventually, this would democratize innovations and empower cultures by participating in the transformation of the systems.
  2. Our group commits to support initiatives that strengthen cross-sectoral professions and that create a good environment for people wishing to be active on different fronts at the same time. Moreover, the group commits to support (especially youth-led) innovations and modern scientific knowledge in local realities by trying to link them with already existing experiential knowledge and know-how coming from older generations (intergenerational).
  3. We covered this question in Action Track 1.
  4. The following propositions are the most in line with our discussions: attract youth to farming (2); empower women, smallholder farmers and youth through school-based agricultural education (3); empower youth as innovators and changemakers for sustainable food systems (4); support small projects and initiatives locally owned by the youth (5).
Bronika Thapa

Thank you for interesting propositions .  In my views youth should be mobilized in a way that systems should secure future of youths in agriculture as major source of income and technologies should be facilitated to youths more among in the developing countries. Government should take necessary precautions action against middle bussiness being profited rather than farmers. Barren land should be properly used for farming than just focusing on urbanisation. 

Also participation of youths and making the voices of youths prioritized in national and international conferences is a must.

Tommaso Ruggiero Moderator

Dear Bronika. thanks for your comment. Indeed some of the key pillars of Action Track 4 Game-Changing Solutions are the following:

  • 1. Strengthen labour regulations by placing people’s dignity and rights at the centre
  • 2.Improve governance of labour markets in food systems
  • 3.Promote ratification and effective implementation of international labour standards
  • 4.Securing land tenure rights for resilient and sustainable food systems
  • 5.Institutionalize and mainstream the anti-discrimination and labour rights of migrant (foreign) workers in agriculture and across the food chain.

In addition, on the policy development side, engaging with cities and local governments for equitable livelihoods has been identified as a key priority too.

Please find out more : file:///C:/Users/tomma/AppData/Local/Temp/AT4_Synthesis_of_Propositions_Wave1.rev_-1.pdf

Trent McKnight

School-based agricultural education (SBAE) is a proven way to prepare youth for careers across the agri-food value chain and engage them as early adopters and change agents to introduce new ideas and technologies into their communities.  By combining livelihood skills (hard skills) with life skills (soft skills), young people gain confidence, leadership, science, entrepreneurial and farming skills that can serve them in any career.  

SBAE requires government support through Ministries of Education and Agriculture.  President Kenyatta formally launched 4-K, Kenya's SBAE program, Kenya's SBAE program, last month.  More countries should follow Kenya's leadership.

Other organizations, such as the Future Farmers of America, 4-H Korea, and 4-H Liberia, are among the many SBAE organizations with historic government partnerships.  

My organization has launched The Movement for School-Based Agricultural Education -- a movement intended to bring together youth organizations, donors and agriculture groups interested in creating an enabling environment for SBAE.  

If youth are going to transform food and agriculture, we must reach them where they live and learn -- in their local school.  

Emma R Moderator

Thank you all for excellent and very interesting contributions in the past days! We have heard a lot of good points, and noted the contribution of the youth-led group Bites of Transfoodmation thinking of the future of work and workplaces and noting the importance of seeing tradition and innovation in connection, and not against each other. 
Bronika shared insights about using land for farming rather than urbanisation, and including youth in policy spaces.
We note also the very interesting initiatives and organisations shared by Trent. Hearing more about existing initiatives and success stories is inspiring and shows change can be done at all levels. Thanks Trent for pointing to the need of investing in school-based agricultural education, a key tool to empower children and youth to be change-makers and develop knowledge and competences that can serve them in all aspects of life. 

We are delighted to see the conversation continuing and hope to hear more about your thoughts and opinions in the next days!

Lisanne van Oosterhoud

Thank you all. Below I share some additional insights that I discussed with youth groups about experiences we have.

Side note: Examples are from The Netherlands. This is were I live and where the discussion took place.

1. We discussed the importance to connect local policy and city goals with local initiatives, projects, and organization on a thematic foundation.

We experience quite some reluctance within municipalities as they struggle to see the power of food to also serve their goals (and to be worth investing in), such as; social inclusion, soil fertility, waste processing, health, and education. We believe it could help to collect initiatives/projects/concrete steps already taken, based on themes and connect them to local policy as ways to move forward. For instance,  schools serving healthy school meals and teaching agricultural practices showing their positive impact, could serve as ways forward in the theme education. These examples should be more broadly broadcasted.

2. By uniting youth initiatives and networks within countries, their collective efforts can be more streamlined towards shared perspectives and goals of course without loosing their own identity. By working nationwide on some specific goals or themes, the power to transform could be intensified and it could highlight the urgency for change more. 

3. Taking back food sovereignity within supermarkets. Supermarkets nowadays, have a huge say on what we eat and where the products come from. We are nudged in ways we are not even aware off.

In our discussions, we highlighted the importance to have a say on what is sold in supermarkets. For instance, oblige them to have a specific potion of local and nature positive products, stop advertising meat products and unhealthy products, and making healthy products less expensive (as was already mentioned). 
I am working with a short chain food network called Rechtstreex where we sell directly from farmers to consumers, allowing for transparancy and a fair price for producers. 

Food cooperations and community supported agriculture (Herenboeren in Dutch) can also serve as ways towards food sovereignity: A Herenboerderij is a farm where the farmer is not the owner of the farm. The farm is owned by a group of households (about 200). They lease a piece of land together and employ a farmer who works in a sustainable manner. All households participating in the project are called Herenboeren.


Thank you!

Emma R Moderator

Thank you Lisanne for collecting inputs and sharing all these very interesting points! I take special note of your remark about reluctance to see the power of food and its interlinkages with many dimensions of sustainability and health. This is a very important point and obstacle in the transformation of agri-food system. Investing in raising awareness at local level of the power of food, and connecting local policies with local initiatives and resources, will be key in transforming the way we produce, consume and eat food. Creating a coalition of action to address that issue could be a very important and instrumental outcome of the UNFSS. 
You also highlight well the power of collective action for change, and to trigger change at all levels. 
Thanks also for noting food sovereignty as another point that echoes some of the previous points as well. Very valuable to share the initiatives existing in the Netherlands, and the Herenboeren especially. 

Lisanne van Oosterhoud

[~115731] Thank you for your reply and the great moderation :)

Mateusz Ciasnocha

The Farm of Francesco (more information here and here) is a real-life example of an initiative that provides opportunities for youth, and other disadvantaged communities, to enter agriculture through our vocational education model guided by a proprietary, scientifically validated impact dashboard.

Emma R Moderator

Thanks Mateusz for sharing this example, and in the meantime highlighting the opportunity to empower disadvantaged communities and youth to enter agriculture and be part of the movement to sustainable food systems.



Women all have the right to a decent job! It doesn't matter if they are literate, educated or illiterate! 

1- Is there anything we have missed or that can complement these propositions?
- Use blockchain to create an application to share traditional knowledge on sustainable farming practices among indigenous populations.

- Legally, cooperatives in developing countries must be more structured and grouped to offer reliable guarantees in order to obtain financing from local banks

- Funding can help a better transition to organic, environmentally friendly

- Implement agroforestry and tree ownership in the state forest code. Better regulations are needed that allow indigenous people to benefit from the tree and be encouraged to preserve it.

- Create a special aid premium for farmers creating green jobs.

- Trying to create waste processing plants, to make biodegradable food packaging and thus create jobs for young people.

2- What concrete actions are you, your youth organization, or your community ready to take to ensure that food systems promote more decent employment?

- Founder of the KEKA platform, Young innovative leaders for resilient agriculture,  through her dynamic team, reflects on the inclusion of women in the sustainable transition of the peanut sector in Senegal to guarantee them better jobs.

- Regarding India, we question the strengthening of rural land ownership rights to ensure safe work for women without fear of arbitrary eviction.

web site under construction: https://www.kekaagri.com/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/12539751

Also as a member of the COOK AFRICA restaurant chain promoting healthy and nutritious meals from all regions of the Ivory Coast, we make it a point of honor to hire mostly women including illiterate ones. This is in order to provide them with a decent income in order to meet their needs and ensure food security for all.


3- How do you think Governments and other stakeholders can support youth in achieving the actions identified?
- States can set up projects for the exclusive participation of young people

- Dedicate a day to young people and their role in contributing to decent jobs in food systems

- Make annual projects for young people and offer funding grants

- Organize awards ceremonies for young people who have had innovative ideas to contribute to decent jobs in food systems

In the case of the KEKA platform, governments could partner with us to seek innovative ideas on how to achieve decent jobs in food systems and a better life for all. 

4- Supposing there were coalitions formed around any of these, which one would you be interested to join?

KEKA platform would be interested in integrating all coalitions. We believe, we are making a contribution to the development of a strong law which is the basis for the success of all actions undertaken for decent employment and a better life for all.