In 2021, Sheffield won the Sustainable Food Places Bronze award, and part of that success was down to creating a Good Food Movement within the city. But what is a Good Food Movement, and why is it important? This term is used a lot by people in the food and sustainability sector but isn’t necessarily easily understood or recognised by everyone. So, today, ShefFood, Sheffield’s Food Partnership, wanted to share with readers why this movement can make Sheffield folk happier, healthier and inspired to live in a greener city.
What is a Good Food Movement?
A Good Food Movement, at its core, increases public awareness of food issues and encourages participation in food-related activities, creating active food citizens. Being a ‘food citizen’ means we aren’t just on the receiving end of the food system as consumers, but we are also active participants with the power to shape it. The main aim of ShefFood is to help transform Sheffield’s food system into a more sustainable and fairer sector, and a Good Food Movement is a central part of this action plan. You can read more about the Good Food Movement on the Sustainable Food Places website.
There are several key ways to help our community become more active food citizens.
- Creating communications and events that can inspire people about their role in the food system.
- Sharing the importance and joy of good food
- Practical engagement opportunities such as growing, cooking and sharing food in our community.
- Building a network of food actors of every kind who can connect and collaborate online and in person.
If you want to become an active food citizen, you’re in luck! Sheffield’s already has a growing Good Food Movement, with plenty to get involved in, and we’d love you to join.
Sheffield is a destination city for sports, outdoor activities, music and much more, but our growing food scene is what we love most about it. Joining the thousands of people in dining out, attending food festivals and markets, shopping in our local delis and market stalls, and coming together for community food activities is a straightforward way to help the local food industry. But, if you want to be more active in developing projects and changing policy, ShefFood and its partners host several events and workshops a month to help grow the Good Food Movement directly.
ShefFood has developed five working groups that meet regularly to tackle a vital area in the food system. The working groups include Good Food Economy, Food, Health & Obesity, Food Ladders and Growing & Composting, as well as the Good Food Movement group. Coming to one of these meetings is the perfect opportunity to be active in your food community. Recent events include a Storytelling Workshop on sharing food success stories, a BBQ meeting at Heelery & Meersbrook Allotments and a foraged dining experience with Food Works Sheffield.
The next working group meetings include Good Food Economy & Procurement – 3rd Oct, Food Ladders – 5th Oct, Growing & Composting – 25th Oct, and Good Food Movement – 14th Nov. Learn more on the SheFfood website. These events allow everyone who wants to be involved to participate in actively changing our food landscape.
The joy of good food
Another crucial part of the Good Food Movement is sharing the success stories of food. The news is filled with gloomy stories. While it’s important to stay informed, hearing all this negativity can often make us feel down. There is so much to celebrate in Sheffield’s food system, which has gone from strength to strength over the past five years. Hearing about these successes can help everyone feel more confident about the future and get more involved when they see they can make a difference. So here are a few of the fantastic things Sheffield folk have achieved.
- The Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programmes deliver nutritious food across Sheffield and support nutritional education. 11,400 children in Sheffield attended a HAF activity in the Summer of 2022.
- Sheffield hosted two major food conferences in 2022: the Nutrition Society and UKRI Transforming UK Food Systems.
- Sheffield City Council passed the Food Access Plan in July 2022, which included investment for a food community development role at Voluntary Action Sheffield to provide advice and support in community food spaces.
- Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and Taylor Shaw are increasing the number of vegetarian meals available in hospitals and schools, responsibly sourcing fish and using less but higher-quality meat.
To hear more success stories, visit the ShefFood website (sheffood.org.uk) or follow them on social media @sheffoodsocial
If you are more about getting your hands dirty, then there are countless opportunities to cook, grow and serve food to everyone in the city. Together for Sheffield conducted an audit on volunteering in the city and found that work carried out by faith groups in Sheffield is worth more than £11 million to the city – as 4,250 helpers give their time to provide over 700 projects. Thousands of other volunteers work in the city for all types of food-based organisations, which shows how active citizens are. Are you ready to join them? Here are just some of the incredible organisations you could get involved in.
- Fancy growing? You can volunteer with several farms and allotments in the city, including Green City Action, Regather Farm and Heeley City Farm.
- A dab hand in the kitchen? Help out at the Open Kitchen Social Club, The Sunday Centre or Food Works Sheffield.
- Are you great at organising? Or maybe you drive? You could help distribute food in your community with the Sheffield Food Bank Network, Fareshare Yorkshire or the Church on the Corner.
Of course, a Good Food Movement works best when as many people as possible are involved. Food systems that work for people and not profits start at a grassroots level. Building a network of food actors of every kind who can connect and collaborate online and in person will grow the movement and make it more inclusive. If you’re an individual, business or organisation involved in food, ShefFood wants to hear from you.
Over 70 organisations have signed Sheffield’s food charter, and they are helping build that network across all parts of the food sector. Partners range from large anchor institutions like the Institute for Sustainable Food at The University of Sheffield to innovative food businesses like Leaf + Shoot. There are grassroots community groups like Parson Cross Community Pantry and educational organisations like the School Of Artisan Food or Heeley City Farm.
If you’d like to become a partner and help the Good Food Movement grow, visit the ShefFood website’s partners page to learn more. https://sheffood.org.uk/partners and be part of a better food system for Sheffield.