ShefFood Meeting Minutes Cover Image

Food Ladders Meeting – 16th Jan 2023


Agenda For Meeting as follows:

  • Selina updates (10 minutes):
    • To introduce ShefFood and FixourFood 
    • Travel expense form
  • Lyds Updates (10 minutes):
    • Where are we at with the SYCMA fund (TBBT) 
    • Where were at mapping
    • Celebrate where we are 
  • Discussions (1 hour):
    • Values for the food ladders network
      • If you were to sign a commitment to the food ladders network, what would you like to be on it?
      • What do organisations have resource wise and what can they do/already share?
      • What do organisations not want to or feel they can share? I.e. What resources are they most concerned about and can we create a platform to make sharing easier?
    • Food stores- how is it working for you, what are the benefits, is there any feedback? What do you see the future of these?
  • Agreed to do a feasibility study into food sourcing, reminder of the community food sourcing idea 

Intended Outcomes

  • Terms of reference
  • Connection within the network
  • Communal food Store/Sourcing assessment 


Introduction and food mapping

  • Lyds has been mapping and collecting data from Sheffield food services. The associated  Food mapping is now live. 
  • This will allow us to look for gaps in the food system.
  • Data wise – we have broad data but very little small-scale mapping. We will know cold spots within the next month.

Update on funding from the council and fix our food

  • Sheffield City Council: South Yorkshire mayoral Combined Authority – with Bread and Butter: Organisation has offered to create a system where they would either come and deliver 5 food deliveries or instead give us cash. It’s been decided by the city council that we don’t need new players in the city’s food network, we just need cash. £150,000 to extend the reach of where emergency reach gets too in the city – tied up with food sourcing issues. 
  • Within this we need to look at the feasibility of food sourcing. The time frame for this leads us to Feb/March – at which point a feasibility report will be done. We need to make sure all elected groups on the council are heard (currently waiting for the Liberal Democrats). We need to understand more from the funding organisations about the options they are able to provide. 

Discussion: What are our assets? What values would we want in a collective food network? What would collective food sourcing look like?

Split into 3 Groups: (G1, G2, G3)

Discussions in G1 

Regarding “What could collective food sourcing look like? Now benefits/feedback”

  • Groups introduced discussion members.
  • Highlighted how ethnic minority needs have been neglected in food provisioning. 
  • There is a need for basic stock in the city. This includes things such as rice and oil. This issue is especially important when talked about in the context of culturally appropriate food.
  • Groups are happy to give out fresh food, especially during collective surplus.
  • Ozmans can also help, and Selina will look to connect the supermarket chain with groups in the discussion. 

Regarding “What resources and assets can you share/not feel able to?”

  • Group members discussed the usefulness that would come from sharing and mapping data. 

Regarding “If you were to sign a commitment to a FL network, what would it be?”. 

  • There needs to be a respect of different people and groups, the commitment needs to recognise that there are a variety of social values. In different spaces. 
  • In the past it has felt like there has been competition between different users and on the wider scale of food services in the city. 
  • We also need to recognise the issues of food tourism, people accessing multiple services.
    • Counterpoint to this that might take up too much energy, and instead it’s better to focus on helping the majority of people who don’t do this. 
  • How can we remove competition between services? In the past this has been the case because of entrenched habits. There’s only so much funding and this funding has always been postcode related. It’s going to take time to remove this, but everyone wants it removed. 

Discussions in G2 

Regarding “What resources and assets can you share/not feel able to?”

  • Noted how there hasn’t been enough data sharing. In addition, it’s important to note that with mapping, it doesn’t include issues such as time mapping and scale of operations. 
  • We need greater communication – storage capacity is the issue, this is an area where mutual help would be very useful. For example in the case of Fir Vale Food Bank when there has been storage space issues. 
  • Storage capacity would also be useful at busy times such as Christmas. 
  • We should also increase our news networks and have an online space where we can signpost people. 
  • If we are to have some sort of website or portal it should include a portal for those with operational knowledge and those without (a user and a provide space on the website/ backend/frontend)
  • However, we haven’t gotten too far on this issue and if we were to have a space then it would be designed to be internal.
  • Noted that only 10% of food referrals come through the council and they should not be a space where they monitor who is needing food support. Council should act as a mediator, and really have very little other role other than simply signposting. 
  • The council got involved during the pandemic and has since taken a step back. They only got involved because they felt they had to. The question that the council is looking to address is where and how do they play their part.

Regarding “If you were to sign a commitment to a FL network, what would it be?”. 

  • Members noted that there is a different environment with community run food banks (examples in the case where volunteers were once users of the food banks or still are users). There seems to be a greater community feel. There needs to be a greater drive to support this. 
  • Potentially move away from being not just provisional but moving to ideas of community food. – this could involve a commitment to move people/institutions up the FL pathway.
    • However a noted issue with this is that some food banks for example, simply want to remain food banks and have no desire to move up the pathway. 
  • There needs to be ground rules in place. There can’t just be an asset commitment, we need to look at whether people from different organisations can work together if they have opposing values, or perhaps if they are from different faiths. 
  • Social commitments in food provisioning spaces are very important and there needs to be a recognition of this. In many cases, people are simply using institutions such as food banks as social meeting spaces and points of social contact. 

Regarding “What could collective food sourcing look like? Now benefits/feedback”

  • We can increase overall capacity through food sharing. 
  • We can look at the individual needs of food providers. Additionally, this doesn’t just need to be done on an organisation level. It can be done on a venue level. This is especially useful when multiple organisations are sharing the same space. 
  • Clearly, everyone in the discussion is in favour of collective food sourcing.

Discussions in G3

Regarding “If you were to sign a commitment to a FL network, what would it be?”. 

  • Member noted that if there is to be a set of values, they wanted there to be a commitment to the value of social eating. 

Regarding “What could collective food sourcing look like? Now benefits/feedback”

  • (collective sourcing surplus food): S6 is currently ordering food at a cost and one of the issues is how can surplus be distributed across the city.
  • There will be competition between cities potentially in accessing surplus. (Important to note that FARESHARE has very stringent rules on what they accept). 
  • Cooperative sourcing programs has a chance to get at every last drop of surplus that is not being accessed so far. However, there is also an opportunity to not just get surplus, but to pay mates rates on actual food. More understanding of this issue is necessary. 
  • Certain institutions sometimes try to do more than they can, which isn’t always the answer. For example, food sourcing organisations shouldn’t always be a social eating space. 
  • There are different values in different spaces. 
  • How have people found using the foodstores at S6? “Very good”, one contributor had received 35 tonnes of produce from the space. This has allowed them to look toward increasing the capacity and size of their services. 

Regarding “What resources and assets can you share/not feel able to?”

  • Notes that again, the sharing of data would be extremely useful. The data doesn’t need to be of a necessary type at this stage, it just needs to be regular, consistent and reliable. 

Collective notes on each discussion area: 

Regarding “What resources and assets can you share/not feel able to?”

  • Data: There needs to be a consistent subset to plan with
  • News: Who has extra/ lack off
    • Mutual help 
    • Plan for pinch point 
    • This could be done through a shared live document or a whatsapp group for example.
  • Operational knowledge:
    • Share ideas, especially for potential start ups but also to help people out of poverty
    • Understand barriers better
    • Adding on additional services 
    • Allows for inter-organisational referrals. 
  • SYMCA Funding:
  • Database of volunteers: – subset of VAS Volunteer centre. 

Regarding “What could collective food sourcing look like? Now benefits/feedback”

  • S6 food stores:
    • St Mary has used this 3 times and it’s been lots of help. However the service is not the be all and end all. 
    • FS. N
    • Supermarkets are signed up to TT – but this is a double edged sword. TT is also decreasing food sourcing. 
  • SS is the largest foodbank
    • Issues when the food isn’t culturally appropriate (NEED OIL AND RICE!)
    • Yes to more Fresh Food (such as potatoes) 
    • Community go to, been operating for more than 3 years 
    • Also need to tackle issue of warm help
  • Food works
    • Need to coordinate people and feeding. 
  • Are we just diluting our resources? IE S6 can buy at source.
    • There is competition regardless of food chain.
    • Cooperative food sourcing could maximise our efficiency regarding surplus. But also speaking to suppliers we would gain bargaining ability as we represent Sheffield.
  • We need to be clear when we are talking about new solutions and current ones. They are regional, creative solutions as well. We just represent Sheffield. 
  • There is lots to be said about building relationships and using food as an anchor.
    • This could include providing debt advice and other wrap around support.
  • S2 Currently has very good foodstores.
    • Collective purchasing is the way to go as this allows us to utilise the economies of scale, and get better access to culturally appropriate food. 
    • We also need to stay aware of capacity throughout all of this. 
  • We already have habits such as taking stock, so this can be filtered into other practices.  

Regarding “If you were to sign a commitment to a FL network, what would it be?”. 

  • Distribution
    • Van, foodstores S6
    • Surplus food collective sourcing, not just S6
  • Knowledge sharing
    • Transparency in problems and solutions 
    • We currently don’t talk to each other enough.
  • Resources of food/surplus food. 
  • Small scale distribution with a focus on sharing assets.
  • Commitment to campaigning to recognise work that we do. (SOlidarity)
  • Recognition of the Foodladders model/pathway.
    • Understanding the inherent problems of the food bank system.
    • Non judgement, transparent etc.
  • Social connection within food bank networks.
    • Space to have a conversation
  • Recognition of the social space our organisations hold.
    • Respect knowledge
    • Don’t reinvent the wheel.
  • Conversations around food bank multiuse.
  • Competition
    • Not used to working collaboratively
      • How do we understand this?
      • Autonomy or competition
    • Information transparency: Newsletter/ collaboration transparency. 
    • Everything is database monitoring.
  • Collaboration and learning based on service type. 


  • A feeling that everyone is in favour of collective food sourcing.
  • Feasibility report needs to be conducted. 
  • Everyone claim on expenses form if you can
  • Excitement surrounding the progress that has been made.