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Food poverty campaigner approaches the door of 10 Downing Street
Podcast / The Big Issues
Podcast / The Big Issues

Food poverty – the teenagers fighting to be heard

The right to food is recognised in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but in 2019 in the UK 5m people were living in food poverty.

Many of those affected are children, and in this episode of the Table Talk podcast, we meet two extraordinary teenagers who are campaigning to make the food system fairer for everyone.

Yumna Hussen and Saffron Stedall are both Young Food Ambassadors for the Food Foundation, campaigning for Children’s Right2Food.

They believe that young people are not being heard when it comes to food poverty, and are working to implement real change.

Their campaigning has taken them to COP26 and Downing Street. They have also met and worked alongside Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, Henry Dimbleby, and England footballer Marcus Rashford.

As part of their work, they have produced The Children’s Right2Food Charter, which sets out a roadmap for tackling food poverty.

A big part of the charter is a call for the expansion of free school meals, which Yumna and Saffron point out could be the only meal some children are getting each day.

Listen to the full episode to find out what motivated both teenagers to get involved with the Food Foundation, what they believe a more equal food system would actually look like, and the role they believe better education could play in making the system fairer.

They also call for healthy food options to be made cheaper, and discuss the links between food poverty and obesity.

The Food Foundation

The Food Foundation mission is to change food policy and business practice and to ensure everyone across the UK can afford and have access to a healthy and sustainable diet.

They aim to use surprising and inventive ideas to catalyse and deliver fundamental change in the food system, synthesising strong evidence, shaping power coalitions, harnessing citizen’s voices and driving progress with impactful communications.

They identify new opportunities for action and trial new levers for change.

The Children’s Right2Food and Young Food Ambassadors

Children’s Right2Food is a nationwide initiative to ensure every child in the UK can access and afford good food. Led by a team of Young Food Ambassadors across the UK, the campaign calls for government action to tackle children’s food insecurity and childhood obesity caused by inequalities.

It all began when the Young Food Ambassadors came together to launch their own Right2Food Charter, calling on Government to listen to their stories and those of millions of other young people across the UK who were living with increased levels of hunger and food poverty. They undertook a range of impactful activities including panels, media interviews, school assemblies, speaking at the Food Insecurity Summit, meeting MPs, taking part in youth boards as well as short films and podcasts.

Listen to the Children’s Right2Food podcast

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