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Youth perspectives research on sustainable food and farming careers

Sustain is undertaking research to explore the diverse career paths available in the sustainable food sector and how we want to inspire and guide 16 to 30-year-olds from underrepresented backgrounds to explore opportunities.

A lady shouting into a megaphone. Copyright: Andrea Piacquadio | Pexels

A lady shouting into a megaphone. Copyright: Andrea Piacquadio | Pexels

The current UK sustainable food sector lacks adequate knowledge and presence of young people from underrepresented ethnic backgrounds. To understand the barriers they face and to support the development of diversity and inclusion in the sector, Sustain and Roots to Work has launched a short-term research project. The research consists of a survey aimed at 16 to 30-year-olds on the sustainable food sector (deadline Sunday 31 June 2024) and a focus group with the same target group on Monday 24 June 2024. 

Why do we need to diversify the workforce?

By increasing representation, we can:

  • Develop more culturally inclusive food systems that cater to diverse dietary needs and preferences.
  • Embrace innovative solutions informed by diverse knowledge and traditional practices.
  • Create a more equitable food industry that reflects the communities it serves.

Addressing these problems is crucial for several reasons:

Diversity and innovation: Diverse perspectives are essential for innovation in sustainable food and farming. Minority ethnic young people bring unique cultural insights and experiences that can lead to creative solutions for global food and environmental challenges.

Social equity: Ensuring that career opportunities in sustainable food and farming are accessible to all is a matter of social justice. By addressing inequalities, the sector can be more inclusive and fair.

Community impact: Empowering racialsied or minoritised young people to pursue careers in sustainable food and farming can have a positive impact on their communities, promoting food security, economic development, and environmental stewardship.

Creating a more equitable sector

The research aims to investigate the intersections of career opportunities, diversity, and sustainabilty in the food and farming sectors and achieve the following outcomes:

Identify career pathways: Map out the diverse career opportunities in sustainable food and farming, providing clear information on job roles, required skills, and educational pathways.

Highlight barriers: Understand the specific challenges faced by minority ethnic youths in accessing these careers through surveys and focus groups.

Promote awareness: Increase awareness about the importance and opportunities of careers in the sustainable food and farming among minority ethnic youths and community organisations.

The research is a step towards creating a more inclusive and diverse sustainable food and farming sector. By understanding and addressing the barriers faced by minoritised groups, we can unlock their potential to contribute to a more sustainable and equitable food system.

Take part in the survey or share it with your networks before 31 June 2024. To take part in the focus group email

Published Monday 17 June 2024

Roots to Work: Roots to Work is a platform for people to advertise and find jobs in the field of good food. We noticed there wasn’t a unique gathering place for good food opportunities to all sit together and felt it was time to make it happen in the UK.

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Sareta coordinates Sustain's diversity outreach work which aims to bring more people from underrepresented backgrounds, with specific focus on ethnic diversity, into the progressive food and farming sector. A core part of this work is outreach with younger people and students to inspire them to get involved in the movement. She manages Sustain’s Roots to Work jobs platform which is also a tool to engage new and diverse talent into the sector.

Sareta Puri
Diversity Outreach Coordinator

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Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.

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