What a year it’s been for ShefFood! Sheffield’s food partnership has gone from strength to strength in 2023, and I’ve been lucky to be part of this fantastic journey as their comms coordinator. Today, I’ll look back at some outstanding stories from Sheffield’s sustainable food scene. We have a wonderful city, and it’s worth shouting about when we have something to celebrate.
Let’s start with the big news first! Sheffield won The Sustainable Food Places Silver Award in 2023. The Sustainable Food Places Award is designed to recognise and celebrate the success of those places, taking a joined-up, holistic approach to food and achieving significant positive change on a range of key food issues. And Sheffield has certainly proved its worth, going from the Bronze to Silver award in only two years.
Of course, this prestigious achievement didn’t just come out of thin air. ShefFood increased its capacity in 2022 to reach more local people, support more partner organisations and run more events. Partnership coordinators Selina Treuherz and Sophie Rowson submitted the Silver Award bid after a dedicated campaign to take Sheffield to Silver, and the success was clear.
They took the partnership from just a handful of organisations to over 60. This effort has continued with new coordinator Rachael Treharne, who started alongside Selina in September 2023. ShefFood now has 80 partner organisations that have signed Sheffield’s food charter. And I expect we’ll easily hit the 100 mark in the first few months of 2024.
This network of organisations has helped Sheffield’s sustainable food sector and movement grow. ShefFood developed the Local Food Action Plan (LFAP) as part of the Sheffield to Silver campaign. This plan recognised and celebrates Sheffield’s current and future actions toward a fairer, more sustainable, and more resilient food system.
Almost one hundred organisations were involved in the co-creation of the plan. The collective aim was to celebrate the city’s incredible food initiatives, organisations, and networks. And to better understand how we can change Sheffield’s food system together. This road map will take Sheffield from Silver to Gold in the next few years.
ShefFood may have led the way on strategy, but the people power behind the movement makes it all work. Hundreds of people employed by or volunteering for ShefFood’s partner organisations have dedicated countless hours to contribute to creating a better food system in Sheffield.
There’s also a growing trend of individuals keen to see a better food system for all. While developing the LFAP, ShefFood brought together a range of themed working groups to address specific areas of the food system. These working groups directly involved Sheffield folk in developing the LFAP -, and helped many become more active in their local food community.
Now, ShefFood hopes to expand that grassroots movement by inviting everyone in Sheffield to Join the Good Food Movement. As part of building this movement, we are developing an exciting programme of events to ensure all Sheffield folk can hear about and be part of transforming our city’s food system for the better. From economics, health, the environment, food access and citizenship, food affects every part of our society, so we should definitely all be involved in how it all works. .
The power of our communities should not be understated; it’s vital to how we grow this movement. But our city’s larger organisations and institutions have a lot of power to lead the way, too. ShefFood has developed close working relationships with a number of the city’s anchor institutions, including The University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield City Council and Sheffield’s Teaching Hospitals. And it’s been a busy year for many of these organisations too. To name just a few achievements, Regather – whose box scheme has been supplying Sheffielders with fresh, organic produce since 2012 – was shortlisted for a BBC Food & Farming award in the ‘Farming the Future’ category. Food Works has partnered with Sheffield Children’s Hospital to provide healthy ‘pay as you can’ ready meals in all acute wards. And, just this month, Sheffield Hallam University hosted an immersive tasting event focused on sustainable food and drink as part of their commitment to the LFAP.
Indeed, it’s nice to see these big awards and national recognition, but at the end of the day, it’s the people of Sheffield we’re accountable to. A big part of ShefFood’s ethos is transparency and democracy. Food decisions have been made behind closed doors for decades, and it’s had significantly detrimental impacts on people and the planet. ShefFood wants to put regular people at the front of the conversation and help more people get involved. This meant we were excited to take part in the South Yorkshire Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Change earlier this year to highlight the intersection between our food and climate systems.
As well as running fun events and educational workshops, ShefFood can help you bring the conversation around food to your own community. We’d love to hear from you if you hope to inspire change in your workplace, run an activity in your local area, or get involved in existing food projects.
If you want to get involved and join our growing Good Food Movement, visit the ShefFood website (sheffood.org.uk). Learn more about the organisation, our partners and our next events and campaigns. Or you can get in touch directly with the coordination team at email@example.com. I’m excited to see our progress in 2024.