Empowering young people to be the trailblazers of our food future

SEMESTER DATES: April 14th - 26th August (See info pack for program commencement date in your city)

LOCATIONS: Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney, & Western Sydney

Upstart is the Youth Food Movement Australia’s leadership program building the capacity of young people to be change makers in the world of food and agriculture. The program provides a cohort of young people (aged 18-35) across Australia with the opportunity to co-create real-world community food projects, and have a tangible impact on the food system around them.

We’re about giving young people the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to Australia’s food future. We say ‘screw it’ to the idea that you need rubber-stamped professional skills to start creating the kind of world you want to live in. Upstart welcomes young people who simply want to throw themselves in, meet awesome people, learn new skills, challenge themselves and learn more about how food reaches their plates.

Participants will receive a training Bootcamp, a project development night, online training and resources, group-organised learning opportunities, and hands-on experience in project design and delivery.

Hear what it's like to be a part of Upstart from Session 2 Upstart participant, Claudia here.

Simone's Testimonial

Program Objectives

Develop your network of foodie friends and future change-makers.

Upstart is about providing young people with the environment they need to ‘step up’. We want to get awesome young people in the same room, so they can get together, get mad and go change the world.

The Youth Food Movement was founded on a philosophy that the most important factor for young people to take action is an enabling environment. This program is about surrounding you with sweet-arse people who get equally as fired up about food, and who will be there to back you up when you pursue whatever it is that puts fire in your belly.

Design and execute a change-making project.

We take a very intentional ‘learn by doing’ approach, because we know that the biggest learnings aren’t in the classroom - they’re on the ground. Upstart is an opportunity to step beyond the theory and concepts you learn at school, university, TAFE, books, blogs, whatever, and to learn by getting your hands into it.

You’ll be working with your peers in your local chapter team to co-design, organise, and execute projects in your local community, building skills which not only help you run awesome projects, but which you can take out and apply in the world.

The program is based around the delivery of a YFM project in your community, which addresses a current issue in the food system. We provide introductory training in:

  • Designing projects for behaviour change
  • Budgeting and fundraising for your project
  • Creating a project execution timeline

    You’ll get hands-on experience in one (or several) of the roles involved in project execution including:

  • Outreach
  • Communications
  • Content creation
  • Event management
  • Impact measurement

    Learn about yourself.

    All of the above can be a whirlwind journey and at times it can be challenging. At YFM we value being actively aware of, and reflecting on, how we act and respond in these situations. At our Bootcamp we’ll help you identify your working style and what your personal goals are for the program, we’ll then check back on these as the program continues.

    Learn about our food story

    You already care about food, and you might already know about specific parts of our food system. We want to create an environment where people with different backgrounds come together and hear about the other pieces of the puzzle, whether it be coming fresh out of a nutrition degree, being an avid home cook, a farmer, a loving backyard worm-farm parent, a farmer, or someone who just wants to know more about the food on their plate.

    Through your research into the project issue you’ll be exposed to many sides of the food and agriculture story from your fellow group members and group-organised learning experiences. Through organising your project you’ll interact with others in the food space and we’ll add more perspectives to the table through online resources.

    Jess's Testimonial

  • Who Upstart is for

    Upstart introduces participants to a broad range of perspectives and experiences at an introductory level. We don’t require any formal qualifications or fancy skills. We designed Upstart for people who are beginning their journey as change makers and starting to throw themselves in. No expert skills necessary!

    Basically, if you’re someone who is between 18-35 and wants to meet awesome people, learn heaps, and grow your professional and leadership skills along the way, then Upstart is for you.

    Timeline Overview

    Week Program Component
    Week 0 Welcome Bootcamp
    Week 1-4 Topic research, group organised learning experiences, and exploration of project ideas
    Week 5 Project development night
    Week 6-14 Project development (2 week break: June 10th - June 24th)
    Week 14-15 Project delivery
    Week 16 Debrief and networking events

    *Weeks may vary slightly, check your info pack for the specific dates of your chapter.

    Information pack

    If it sounds like Upstart is right up your alley, check out our info pack for course details. The pack has all the important stuff to consider about location, time commitment, the program calendar, and fees.

    Download your info pack here:





    Western Sydney

    How to apply

    Applications for this session of Upstart have now closed.

    Top and middle Left: Upstart participants at Sydney Heaps Cooked event, Bottom left: Upstart participants at Wollongong Heaps Cooked event, Bottom right: Brisbane Upstart participants at their Heaps Cooked event (photo by Cody Gordon), Top right: Melbourne session 2 bootcamp.