We’ve seen some fantastic food events and festivals this Summer, and we look forward to more this season. While it’s great to see local food showcased, there is lots of excellent academic work going on behind the scenes. Learning about food and nutrition is critical in building a more sustainable food network here in Sheffield. We wanted to highlight the Nutrition Society’s Summer Conference, which is being hosted in Sheffield this year. The topic is Food and Nutrition: Pathways to a sustainable future, a subject we support 100%. 

Who are The Nutrition Society

The Nutrition Society researches and shares the science of nutrition.  First established in 1941, it is a registered charity in the United Kingdom dedicated to studying nutrition sciences. It uses research to help prevent diseases and improve human and animal health. It’s one of the world’s largest societies for nutrition, producing research papers that guide food and health policies. They also run large conferences throughout the year to share their research findings. For example, this year’s summer conference is focused on how sustainable practices can help improve nutrition and health.

The Summer Conference 2022

The 2022 Nutrition Society Summer Conference runs from 12 July 2022 to 15 July 2022 in Sheffield City Centre. It is hosted in collaboration with Sheffield Hallam University, the University of Sheffield and Sheffield City Council. This will be their first in-person Summer Conference since the pandemic, held at the Sheffield Hallam University city-centre campus. The theme of this conference highlights sustainability. 

Sustainability is high on the agenda for the people in Sheffield. Conferences such as COP 26 highlighted the urgency of the climate crisis and that food systems are a vital factor. The conference will focus on how to build ethical food systems, tackle inequalities and sustain health for future generations. The Organising Committee has considered local food and will offer attendees a chance to explore Sheffield and its local produce. So, we are incredibly excited to see how they represent our excellent Sheffield food scene to those visiting the city, and we are not the only ones.

Emma France, Marketing Manager for Business Tourism at Marketing Sheffield said:

 “We are thrilled to see another major conference take place in the city, after a collaborative effort from The University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University and Marketing Sheffield. Our Conference Ambassadors continue to play a vital role in attracting large international events to Sheffield and we are grateful for their ongoing support and enthusiasm. It’s fantastic that we will be able to showcase the wealth of expertise around this subject in Sheffield.”

Why ShefFood Supports the Conference

The conference will look at six key areas tied to sustainability and health. ShefFood supports these as they are part of our road map to help Sheffield build a better local food system. Here’s why we believe each topic can help us get where we want to go:

Building ethical food systems

Creating a local food system that works for everybody in Sheffield is ShefFood’s primary goal. Access to healthy, local and affordable food improves health outcomes for everyone in our community. It also protects against pollution and enhances biodiversity in the city. It also contributes to tackling the climate emergency. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.

Eroding nutritional inequalities

This is another core part of our work. Food poverty is rising in Sheffield, and food banks are struggling to keep up with demand. The cost of living crisis isn’t just about accessing food full stop it’s also about people’s ability to purchase nutritious, healthy food, not just calorie-rich junk food. We are looking forward to hearing about what could combat these inequalities. We believe everyone has a right to nutritious and delicious food.

Sustaining an ageing population.

While the conference will focus on the impact of diet on the older generation’s health, we can only do this by providing nutritious food in the first place. We need more farmers to ensure we can produce the food we need and support those no longer working. So, we want to build extensive training programmes for farming and horticulture for the younger generation. This is something ShefFood is already working on by forming working groups dedicated to this aim. With training, we also need more green jobs, both of which will expand our local growing capabilities. 

Navigating dietary trends.

The world is changing rapidly, and we need to shift our diets to improve our health and help the planet. The conference has many talks on this topic, including a debate on‘ Sustainable diets in turbulent times; identifying the gaps, societal challenges and solutions’. We want to see how this can apply to local Sheffield people. 

Understanding mechanisms for health.

This goes hand and hand with the topic above. If we can understand how food impacts our health, we can educate how to improve our diet. Promoting healthy eating and how food affects the world starts from a young age. We’d love to see the research here impact education policy in our schools.

Enabling activity: lessons from exercise science.

While we are always focused on food, exercise does go hand in hand with better health. We are keen to promote green activities that benefit the environment and our communities. Gardening at home, volunteering in a community garden, becoming involved in farming and getting out in nature are all important ways to improve the health of our food system, biodiversity and an individual’s health. 

If you’d like to learn more about the conference, you can find all the information at The Nutrition Society’s website: www.nutritionsociety.org. The conference runs from 12 July 2022 to 15 July 2022 at Sheffield Hallam University, Howard St in Sheffield City Centre.