Young people are the trailblazers of our food future.

We know that to empower and untap their potential, the single most powerful thing we can do is to create communities of young people who love food, support creativity and can help give rise to new ideas and fresh approaches.

Upstart is the Youth Food Movement’s community training program to build the capacity of young people to be change makers in the world of food and agriculture.

The program, launching in February 2017, will provide a cohort of young people across Australia with the opportunity to be part of creating a real-world community food project and have a tangible impact on the food system around them.

We don’t care about formal qualifications or fancy skills. If you’re someone who wants to meet awesome people, learn heaps more about how food reaches your plate and grow your professional and leadership skills along the journey, this opportunity is for you.

Program Components:

  • Welcome Orientation Training Workshop
  • Online training sessions + guest presenter webinar series
  • Hands-on participation in food project design and delivery
  • Personal development + goal-setting sessions
  • Chapter team retreat
  • Upstart is about growing the next generation of change makers in food and agriculture. And you’re invited.

    WHEN |

    Upstart is a 9-month program (Mar-Oct 2017), divided into two 10-week sessions. You can register for either the full program (Session One and Two), or Session Two only.

    Registrations close Sunday 26th February 2017, 11.59pm EST.

    WHERE |

    The Upstart program is being offered out of YFM’s existing chapter locations: Sydney (central), Western Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Wollongong and Launceston.

    WHY |

    Young people are awesome. We’re about helping them make their awesome come alive, backing themselves up and channelling it to supporting a food future we can be proud of.


    Upstart is a semi-guided training program. That means, we’ll be upskilling our participants in a number of core areas relevant to community organising in food. This is knowledge that we’ve built up over the last 5 years of supporting volunteers across the country. However, we know that greatest learnings come not from formal workshops, but from getting your hands dirty in the field. You’ll learn a whole host of practical applied skills associated with project planning and execution, including event organising, experience design, how to work productively in teams, how to organise volunteers, how to make people care about what you care about, and many more.

    Check out the Upstart Information Pack for details on training sessions and testimonials from previous volunteer leaders at YFM.

    The full program cost is $89 ($59 for students/concession), payable when you register for the Welcome Training Workshop on Eventbrite. This includes the cost of Session One and Session Two.

    If you wish to register for Session Two alone, the cost is $59 ($45 for student/concession). Registrations for Session Two will open in May/June.

    We keep the costs of Upstart as low as we possibly can. However we understand that not every young person who would like to participate in Upstart can afford to participate. We’ll be offering a small number of scholarships for those who face financial barriers to participation. To apply, contact us on , outlining a) why you’d like to participate in Upstart and b) why you need a scholarship to participate in Upstart. Applications close 20th February.

    Not at all. And we really hate that young people are somehow expected to have *all* the skills before they’re even given a foot in the employment door these days (cos where exactly are you meant to get these magical unicorn skills if no one is prepared to teach you? )

    We don’t care about fancy CVs or how many feathers you have in your hat. If you’re passionate about food, are good at getting stuck in, are committed to making a difference in the world and want to learn how to do it (or do it better), then this opportunity is for you. When you register, you’ll be asked to identify what you believe you bring to a team, and equally, what skills you’re interested in developing over the course of the program. We'll help you focus in on those areas over the course of the program.

    Teams will be provided with a series of core dates for each session (see the Session Calendar in the Info Pack). When you register, you’ll need to make sure you can commit to attend the Welcome Training Workshop as this will be core to your participation in the program.

    Check out the Upstart Information Pack for details of this workshop in your area.

    The program is designed for you to be able to complete it around your existing passions and commitments in life, be they work, study, job hunting, pursuing your bee-keeping obsession etc. Aside from participation in the core elements of the program (the Welcome Training Workshop , Project Kick-Off Meeting and Debrief), participants will be expected to be self-directed in assigning time to work with their team on the project. You might expect to dedicate approximately 5 hours to the program each week over the course of the session, depending on what’s happening that week.

    We strongly encourage participants to make an active decision around how much time they’d like to dedicate towards the practical, hands-on element of the program and to communicate with your teammates about this decision. Personal sustainability is fundamental to our approach to organising and time management will be covered in the first Welcome Training Workshop.

    Registrations are open between Monday 6th February and Sunday 22nd February (closing 11.59 PM EST). To secure your position in the program, you simply need to book your ticket to the relevant Welcome Training Workshop on Eventbrite.

    We are very excited that you’re asking. However, due to the strong practical element of the program, and the importance of face-to-face organising, we are sadly not able to make the program available remotely at this stage. It is our great hope that we will be able to extend this out to more cities, both urban and regional, in future years. Stay tuned, awesome keen beens.

    It’s our firm belief that the world needs more leaders who are ‘reluctant leaders’, those who step into leadership roles not from a sense of wanting to be the loudest voice in the room, but out of a sense that there’s important work to be done, and it needs to happen soon. YFM is full of young people who might not have seen themselves as ‘leadership material’ but who care passionately about this food system of ours, and are committed to doing their bit to creating a flourishing one in the future. If this is you, then we want you on board.

    YFM’s two core projects for 2017 will be made public at the Orientation and Training Workshop.

    Each chapter will be provided with a project brief, with teams working together to make their concept come alive. This year projects will focus on developing connections with farmers/agriculture, showcasing the work of local food champions, developing the cooking skills of young adults, and deepening young people’s understanding of the Australian food system. Teams will be encouraged to get creative in how they interpret their brief.

    YFM ran a Facebook Live Session on Monday 13th February to answer many of your questions. Check it out here before getting in touch.

    Alternatively, email them through to and we’ll do our darndest to answer your questions.