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GLY Youth Delegation Reports 2023 World Food Forum from Rome

Perface: Green Light-Year Youth Delegation is on a trip to the World Food Forum 2023 in Rome, Italy! This event with global innovators and sustainability advocates will take place October 16-20 (Rome time), bringing together talents from all walks of lives. This year’s Forum will explore how we can work together to address the challenges of today’s food system and co-create a more equitable and sustainable food future through science, technology, innovation and smart investments.

The theme of 2023 World Food Forum is “Agrifood systems transformation accelerates climate action”.

About World Food Forum

The World Food Forum (WFF) is set to host its cornerstone event, encompassing the WFF Global Youth Forum, the FAO Science and Innovation Forum, and the FAO Hand-in-Hand Investment Forum. These interconnected forums are dedicated to promoting dynamic and actionable solutions that drive the transformation of our agrifood systems. Given the pressing challenges and crises of our times, these forums underscore the significance of synergy between the current and upcoming generations. Their collective brilliance in science, technology, innovation, and targeted investments in food and agriculture is pivotal.

In 2023, the WFF’s marquee event is scheduled from 16 to 20 October. It will be hosted both at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) headquarters in Rome, Italy, and online. This week-long event aims to cultivate discussions and debates among a diverse group of stakeholders. This includes the youth, farmers, small-scale producers, Indigenous Peoples, policymakers, agricultural investors, and scientists from across the globe. Their unified objective is clear: to propel advancements in food security and envision a more equitable food future, ensuring that no one is left behind.

About Green Light-Year Youth Delegation Members

Leader: Gong Wenzhu

Nature Name: Mangosteen Hamster

Green Light-Year Youth Project Executive

Wenzhu GONG serves as the Youth Project Specialist at Shanghai Green Light-Year and holds the position of Secretary at RCE Suzhou, a Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development recognized by the United Nations University. Since 2021, driven by her profound passion, she has been championing the transition to sustainable food through education. This journey led her to Green Light-Year, a non-profit dedicated to Education for Sustainability Development (ESD), offering her a significant platform. At RCE Suzhou, she fervently promotes sustainable food education, emphasizing the benefits of insect protein feeds as a sustainable lifestyle choice for the community.

Embracing sustainability, Wenzhu led a team in the Youth4Climate competition in March 2023, presenting an exemplary business model that promotes sustainable vocational education for China’s low-carbon development.

In April 2023, she was invited to the 4th Global Conference of the Sustainable Food Systems Programme, co-hosted by United Nations agencies and the Vietnamese Government. There, she showcased a case study on insect-based animal feed and pet food produced by Nature Creation Youth in Vietnam.

Currently, Wenzhu is spearheading the grassroots promotion and iterative refinement of this business model, aiming to present more eco-friendly and sustainable choices to the public. With a background in International Relations, she is keenly interested in studying the insect-based protein industry globally and exploring its potential growth within the framework of sustainable food system governance. Wenzhu is also eager to connect with other youth groups to exchange innovative solutions.


Zheng Rongsheng

Nature Name: Iris Folded-eared Rabbit

Green Light-Year Research Analyst

Nature Creation Youth Executive Leader

Zheng Rongsheng completed his undergraduate with a dual degree in Grape and Wine Engineering and International Economics and Trade at Ningxia University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University. He secured a full scholarship of 21,000 USD for a year-long exchange program at Missouri State University, USA, where he specialized in Wine Engineering.

In his senior year, Zheng clinched the first prize at the Employment Entrepreneurship Competition spanning China’s Northwest Four Provinces and Regions. Post-graduation, he established Ningxia ZhiPu Network Technology Co., Ltd., delving into the agricultural sector. Later, he pursued a master’s in Food Security at the University of Edinburgh, championing sustainable agriculture and food security. Besides, he serves as a project advisor for the Bugs 4 Ocean initiative.

In 2022, Zheng Rongsheng immersed himself in a food security research initiative, making significant contributions to the publication “Our Food System Around Us.” His growing enthusiasm for sustainable food system development, coupled with his commitment to aiding stray animals, led him to Nature Creation. By March 2023, Zheng had taken on the mantle of Executive Director for the Nature Creation Youth program. He also championed the team’s representation at events such as the World Bank Group’s Youth Challenge 2023 (WBA 2023) and the UNDP 2023 Youth4climate Global Challenge.

This October, Zheng is slated to be the face of Nature Creation Youth at the UNDP Youth4Climate Global Finals in Rome. Concurrently, he will collaborate with the Green Light Year team at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization headquarters, participating in both the World Food Forum 2023 and the UNDP 2023 Youth4Climate global finals.



Nature Name: Whale Rose

Green Light-Year Research Analyst

Academic Manager of Nature Benchmark at WBA Research Program

She boasts a rich professional background and diverse experience. In the financial sector, she interned in the Risk Management and Investment Banking departments of the Bank of China, gaining profound insights into the pivotal role the financial industry plays in promoting sustainable development. She also worked diligently in the CSR research teams of Germany’s Schueco Company and Yili Group, striving to help businesses achieve their sustainability goals. Her efforts focused on mitigating the impacts of climate change across the entire industry chain, promoting sustainable agricultural practices, reducing negative environmental impacts, such as minimizing the use of pesticides and fertilizers, and safeguarding soil health and biodiversity.

In the academic realm, she was awarded the Best Position Prize at Peking University’s Mock Global Environmental Negotiation Summit and showcased her prowess in English debate competitions at Cambridge, Imperial College, and the University of Macau. Additionally, she clinched first place individually and led her team to the top position at the Diplomat Elite Summer Camp.

This year, she took on the role of Academic Manager for the Nature Benchmark under the guidance of expert committee member Professor Ni Huan from the World Conservation Union’s Education and Science Committee in China. Leading her team, she conducted regional profiling for 400 companies assessed under the 2022 WBA Nature Benchmark, utilizing programming techniques like Matlab to create nearly ten types of visualization graphics, including 3D bubble charts. She produced individual reports for 76 Chinese companies, guiding them towards sustainable agricultural practices, reducing environmental impacts, minimizing the use of fertilizers and pesticides, and emphasizing soil health and biodiversity. She also advocated for businesses to reduce food waste, ensuring maximum utilization of food from production to storage and distribution. Furthermore, she underwent comprehensive climate studies under the guidance of mentors from France’s Climate Fresk, encompassing, but not limited to, agricultural practices adaptive to climate change.

These experiences have endowed her with a broader international perspective. She aspires to dedicate herself to driving the transformation of the global food system in the future, working tirelessly to establish a sustainable community of shared destiny.


Xu Yixiang

Nature Name: Lotus Husky

Green Light-Year Research Analyst

General Leader of Food and Agriculture Benchmark at WBA Research Program

Yixiang Xu, a student of international relations from Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, currently serves as a research analyst at Shanghai Green Light Year. He is a dedicated and inquisitive researcher with a penchant for agricultural endeavors. His hands-on experience in rural agriculture, particularly wheat cultivation, has given him a firsthand understanding of the challenges faced in crop production.

Earlier this year, in June, Yixiang contributed to the “Chinese Corporate ESG Performance Research 2023,” which was based on the World Benchmarking Alliance’s methodology and facilitated by Shanghai Green Light Year. As the leader of the food and agriculture segment for this research, he critically assessed the ESG practices of Chinese companies in these sectors. His findings underscored the disparities between Chinese enterprises and leading global counterparts in food and agriculture. This research deepened his understanding of global expectations for companies in these sectors, and he aspires for his insights to guide Chinese companies towards global benchmarks.

Furthermore, Yixiang was an integral part of the China Eco-Apprenticeship Program (CEAP) this summer, another initiative by Shanghai Green Light Year. He, along with his team, conducted immersive research, including on-site visits and interviews, to craft an ESG report for the subject company. This endeavor not only enriched his ESG knowledge but also instilled a heightened sense of responsibility in him.

Yixiang’s involvement in these research projects has transformed his academic interest in food and agriculture into a fervent desire to effect meaningful change in China’s agrifood landscape, and potentially on a global scale. As an international relations student, he is also keen to collaborate with and learn from other experts in the field of food and agriculture.


Ma Zijiao

Nature Name: Avocado Starfish

Green Light-Year Volunteer

Born in Suzhou in 2001, Ma Zijiao grew up in Shanghai and has an ancestral background in Henan Province in the north, being nurtured by the two different cultures of China’s north and south. She is passionate about the things she is interested in and maintains a dynamic mindset.

Currently, she is a senior Economics student of Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, and is also an intern and project participant for sustainable businesses and organizations outside the university. After learning about sustainability in her sophomore year, her connection to sustainability in the food and beverage industry has been unbroken.

In April 2022, she joined Green Light-Year and formed a team with fellow students to participate in the ISCES Global Environment Solutions Challenge co-organized by UNEP and Tongji University, and won the first place in the global finals. She and her team members researched and proposed a preliminary solution to the problem of unsustainable raw materials for cat food in the current market, and they found that the sustainability of cat food is actually closely related to the healthy diet of human beings. It was an unforgettable and inspiring experience for her to be able to work with like-minded people in her field of interest. At the same time, the competition paved the way for her subsequent exploration in the field of sustainable food.

Shortly after, in July 2022, she became an intern of GoodFood Fund CBCGDF, where she participated a project about transforming and upgrading China’s wet markets, and assisted in the organization and implementation of the “Cambridge Policy Boot Camp”. The camp was held in a large farmer’s market in Nanjing, China. When she went to the real farmers’ market and talked to people from different industries who were concerned about sustainable diet, she realized the difficulty and importance of spreading sustainable diet and was also inspired by her predecessors. Once the closest thing Chinese people had to fresh vegetables and fruits, wet markets are now stagnating. She understands that as a young person, she must be responsible for finding modern ways to eat better for ourselves and better for the planet.

In July, she joined ImpactHub Shanghai, a business incubator that supports the SDGs, as an intern in the food & beverage industry research and communications team, where she and her colleagues interviewed veterans of the food and beverage industry and explored the possibilities of sustainability in the food and beverage industry. Topics covered green packaging, carbon neutrality, and reducing food waste.

At the same time, she joined the project team promoting insect protein feed at Green Light-Year in Shanghai, looking forward to bringing this new breed of cat food to a wider range of cat owners and expanding their sources of more sustainable consumption.

As her practice progresses, she explores the sustainable transformation of the food and beverage industry and the possibilities of sustainable diet communication for consumers from different perspectives and dimensions of producers, consumers and third parties. She still needs to see more, talk more , and do more in the future.


Cheng Shutong

Nature name: Peony Antelope

Green Light-Year Research Analyst

Shutong Chen, a Master’s candidate in Environmental Engineering at Tongji University, is also an exchange scholar in the Sustainable Development program at the University of Montreal, Canada. She has showcased her leadership skills by spearheading a team in the Nature Creation Youth project. This initiative, centered on recycling kitchen waste through black soldier flies to produce sustainable food, secured her a spot in the global finals of “Youth4Climate: Sparking Solutions 2023.” This competition, a collaborative effort by the UNDP and the Italian government, also led to her recognition as a top-five global finalist at the World Food Forum’s Global Education Fair Awards。

Shutong’s prior experiences include a year-long internship as a project coordinator at the United Nations Environment Programme-Tongji University Institute of Environment for Sustainable Development (IESD). Subsequently, she interned with the Climate Finance team at the Beijing Green Development Center, delving deep into international ESG policy research and climate finance studies.

With a fervent passion for sustainable development, ESG, the circular economy, and climate finance, Shutong possesses profound insights into these domains. She has graced various international platforms, such as the Sixth United Nations Youth Forum, China-Africa Youth Forum, Asia-Africa Youth Dialogue, China-ASEAN Environmental Cooperation Forum, and a sub-forum at the United Nations COP15. At these events, she has consistently shared her informed perspectives on these pivotal subjects.


Erwen Chen

Nature Name: Fungus Mosquito

Green Light-Year Research Analyst

Erwen Chen is a first-year student pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Economics at the University of Warwick. He is an alumnus of Malvern College Qingdao, where he was a scholarship recipient for three consecutive years.

During his high school tenure, Erwen’s academic prowess was evident. He clinched gold medals in financial literacy and achieved national top scores at the International Economics Olympics (IEO) in 2022. He also secured a gold award at the National Economics Challenge (NEC) of China the same year. His accolades further include a silver medal in the China ASDAN Business Simulation 2020-2021 and a bronze in the Intermediate Biology Olympiad (IBO) 2022, organized by the United Kingdom Biology Competitions (UKBC). This latter achievement underscored his keen understanding of biology from a sustainability perspective.

Erwen’s commitment to research was showcased when he engaged in surveys and valuations of the recreational services of ecosystems in Changdao County, China, from 2019 to 2021. He authored a technical report titled “Which factors can affect the tourism value of a region and how to measure it–Changdao County as an example.” This report excelled in the UK’s Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) programme in 2023, securing an impressive 27 out of 28 marks.

Currently, Erwen volunteers with various projects under Shanghai Green-Light Year. As a member of the Green-Light Year delegation, he is set to attend the World Food Forum (WFF) at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters in Rome, Italy, in October 2023. Erwen is keen on harnessing his knowledge in economics, finance, and natural science to further sustainable development initiatives.


Xin Yichen

Green Light-Year Research Volunteer

Yichen Xin is an eighth-grade student at Xuhui Middle School in Shanghai, specializing in performing arts such as piano, painting, and Shanghai rap. IYichen also demonstrates a keen interest in environmental protection, ecosystem optimization, and the judicious use of food resources. His Innovation Achievement Report was awarded the third prize in the 38th Shanghai Youth Science and Technology Innovation Competition. The Innovation Achievement Report won the third prize in the 38th Shanghai Youth Science and Technology Innovation Competition.

From July to November 2022, Yichen led the research group for the Green Light Year’s project-based learning initiative titled “Food Mileage from an Environmentally Friendly Perspective.” He championed healthy eating habits, emphasized the significance of carbon emissions from food mileage, and successfully completed online learning and project reporting.

Between July and September 2023, Yichen engaged in the “Green Refrigeration PBL” research project. This endeavor delved into the repercussions of climate change on human well-being, advocated for green refrigeration technology, and culminated in a comprehensive research report.

Yichen aspires to gain advanced knowledge and connect with peers who share his passion through these activities. Together, they aim to contribute positively to enhancing our living environment, safeguarding the ecosystem, ensuring food security, and promoting the wise utilization of food resources.


Yang Bowen

Nature Name: Phoebe Goose

Green Light-Year Research Volunteer

Bowen Yang is a senior in high school with a passion for life, born in 2008. Her hometown is Suzhou, where there are numerous traditional cuisines, allowing her to develop a love and curiosity for food. At the same time, she understands that food safety is crucial to everyone’s life.

Her journey began at Suzhou Experimental Primary School, and she continues to pursue knowledge at Suzhou Link Overseas Education School. Honors such as “The Most Beautiful Secondary School Student in Suzhou” and “Outstanding Character Student in Suzhou Industrial Park” are her motivation to keep moving forward.

She is passionate about art and performance, and has won several awards, including the Gold Medal in the Dandelion Youth Artistic Newcomer Selection, and an outstanding achievement in TV performance.

She also excels academically, with English being her strongest point, and has always excelled in her studies. In school, she is a team player, a good communicator, full of enthusiasm for learning and willing to withstand pressure.

Through the influence of club activities outside of school, she is interested in food safety issues and believes that every food should be delicious and healthy. In the future, she is eager to continue to explore the world of food and speak out for food safety.


Gao Jinghan

Nature Name:Rice Micky

Green Light-Year Research Volunteer

Gao Jinghan, currently in Grade 9 at Jinji Lake School, has been following the Green Light Years series of activities since Grade 3 until now.

In January 2018, she participated in Green Light Year’s activity “From the Mountain to the Sea – IUCN Hainan Ecological Holiday” for the first time, to experience bird-watching in the field, practice social service, and learn about the mangrove wetland ecosystem.

On March 19, 2018, Green Light Year was invited to turn her birthday party into an “Ugly Food Party” by purchasing many ingredients that were not “perfect” in appearance, in order to advocate vegetarianism for the protection of the Earth and that mankind and the Earth are a community of destiny, and was featured in the November 2018 issue of the Chinese Environmental Journal, “Green Light Year”. The article “Ugly Food Birthday Party” was published in the November 2018 issue of China Environment’s Green School. This enlightenment also changed my view of the world and gave me some different ideas and curiosity about environmental conservation, which also supported me to keep walking on the road of public welfare.

In August of the same year, I participated in the Northwest Science and Technology Environmental Protection Summer Camp organized by the Greenlight Team and the Qian Xuesen Library. Next, she participated in many charity activities to help the needy and performed with her string band for charity many times.

In January 2020, she participated in the “Sound of Love” New Year’s Day Concert to support the children of Ren’ai School in Suzhou Industrial Park . In September-December of the same year, the orchestra participated in a bird-watching program to get closer to nature and led a small group to interview sanitation workers.

In January 2021, the String Orchestra visited Suzhou Yiyuan Nursing Home and organized a sympathy performance to care for the elderly. In 2021 July, the String Orchestra organized the “Rang Ai Liu Dong” Nujiang Canyon Music Tour, we performed in the local area and donated “Rang Ai Liu Dong” book corners to the local elementary schools. We performed in the area and donated a book corner to the local elementary school.

In January 2022, as the youngest student, she participated in the literature review of Green Light Year’s 《Science-based Carbon Targets – and the Case for Business Climate Action》, 《Conservation Finance: Financing Product Design for Natural Resource Conservation and Policy Practices in China and Foreign Countries》, and 《Natural Capital and Nature-Based Solutions: Chinese and Foreign Policies and Practices》. In June of the same year, he participated in the digital inclusion activities of the Greenlight Youth Research Center, and as a result, he became interested in how to bridge the digital divide in old age, which he continues to study.

In October 2023, she will attend the World Food Forum in Rome, her second food-related event after the Ugly Food Party. She is looking forward to talking with people from different cultures, and she hopes that at such an international forum, the world will see that an ordinary junior high school student of today has been concerned about international food issues even as she grows up.