News Wanted: young 'changemakers' with broad network and a passion for agriculture and food

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Wanted: young 'changemakers' with broad network and a passion for agriculture and food

Europe is looking for 40 young ambassadors to drive sustainable change in the agri-food chain. Are you passionate about food? Do you have a large network that you would like to expand abroad? And do you stand for sustainability? Then apply before November 21, 2021 at

The selected young people will be offered training and networking opportunities on city trips throughout Europe over the next three years. In this way COCOREADO wants to give them the knowledge, skills and confidence to fully play their role as ambassadors and changemakers. Finally, the best ideas that emerge from the ambassadors' network have a chance to be financed by the project.

COCOREADO is a project funded by the European Commission and coordinated by KU Leuven. Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture Fisheries and Food (ILVO) is the Flemish research partner. Several European youth and agricultural organizations such as CEJA, MIJARC and Rural Youth Europe are involved.


As providers of essential ecosystem services such as food production and landscape management, farmers are of paramount importance to modern, urban society. Nevertheless, they are under high pressure, not only because of the European Green Deal and climate ambitions, but also because of their weak negotiating position in the (world) market and a growing distrust from society. The COCOREADO project wants to help them strengthen their position, using three known success factors: relying on ambassadors, promoting good (local) practices and working with young people.


Therefore, on September 14, a call will be distributed across Europe: young people with a passion for agriculture or food, an extensive local and/or online network and the ambition to make a real difference in the world, have the chance to become ambassadors of COCOREADO for 3 years. In exchange for their commitment they will be offered interesting multi-day trainings, each time in a different European city, and the opportunity to be part of an innovative network of changemakers. The best ideas that emerge during brainstorming sessions or in co-creation with local actors stand a chance of being financially supported by the project.


COCOREADO is funded by the European Commission. The project involves both academic partners and local partners from the agricultural and youth sectors across Europe. Local involvement should address regional differences in terms of good practices, obstacles and opportunities.

Meer informatie?

Info for potential ambassadors


Erik Mathijs
KU Leuven
Project coordinator

Tessa Avermaete & Margo Heremans
KU Leuven
Project managers

The COCOREADO project in a nutshell

COCOREADO: COnnecting COnsumers and producers to Rebalance farmers position through AmbassaDOrs trainings

The COCOREADO project is designed with the aim of valuing and (re)positioning the place of the farmer: as an individual actor, as a key figure in innovative food chains and as a supplier in public tenders.

The project uses a multi-actor approach and understanding of agricultural knowledge and innovation systems. To achieve maximum impact, a 3-pronged approach is applied, based on ambassadorship, best practices and a focus on youth.

The COCOREADO project aims to create an environment in rural areas where young people are encouraged to work together to develop innovative solutions that strengthen the position of the farmer, respond to consumer demand and at the same time improve the conditions for sustainable public procurement of local and seasonal food.

The consortium connects crucial youth actors including young farmers, students and youth movements and ensures an environment where support is offered and action taking encouraged. A key tool in creating such an environment is the COCOREADO ambassador training program.

Academic and close-to-agricultural partners from all over Europe are also involved in the project, thus taking into account regional differences, possible obstacles in reproducing good practices and regional opportunities in developing solutions.

The active involvement of young people in developing solutions together is at the heart of the consortium. CEJA, MIJARC and Rural Youth Europe are full partners in the consortium.

The project starts by collecting innovative initiatives that improve both the position of the farmer and the link to the consumer. Good practices will be assessed based on their replicability and transformed into educational materials. Hot consortium will also work on user-friendly decision support tools. Communication and dissemination of the good examples and tools will focus on farmers, rural communities, policy makers and actors in the food chain such as chefs and local food processors.

The COCOREADO consortium consists of 13 partners: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium), Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology (Finland), Consulai Consulatoria Agroindustrial lda (Portugal), Institute for the Study of Societies and Knowledge (Bulgaria), University of Copenhagen (Denmark), Baltic Study Center (Latvia), Equity of the Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (Belgium), Jozef Stefan Institute (Slovenia), Conseil Européen des Jeunes Agriculteurs aisbl ( Belgium), Mouvement International de la Jeunesse Agricole et Rurale Catholique (Belgium), Institute for Agri-food Technology and Infrastructures of Navarra (Spain), Iniciativas innovadoras (Spain), Rural Youth Europe (Germany).

The COCOREADO project has a duration of 42 months. The total budget is 3 million Euro. The budget for KU Leuven in this project is 524,500 Euro.

The project management team consists of the project coordinator (Erik Mathijs, KU Leuven), the project managers (Tessa Avermaete & Margo Heremans, KU Leuven) and the multi-actor manager (Fleur Marchand, ILVO).