ShefFood Celebration Party: Uniting Sheffield Through Sustainable Food

In the heart of Sheffield, a celebration unfolded—one that spoke volumes about our city’s commitment to sustainable food. As I stepped into Haggler’s Corner, the atmosphere buzzed with a sense of accomplishment and camaraderie. This was no ordinary gathering; it was a tribute to Sheffield’s recent achievement: the Sustainable Food Places Silver Award.

If you’re unfamiliar with Sustainable Food Places, you might wonder about their significance. Sustainable Food Places (SFP) is a UK coalition dedicated to promoting sustainable food practices. Here in Sheffield, ShefFood serves as the local arm of SFP, facilitating collaboration among local businesses, organisations, and key institutions like Sheffield City Council and the universities. ShefFood played a crucial role in compiling evidence for the city’s submission for the Silver Award, which Sheffield won in November 2023 – and that was what this party was all about!

Since this day was ultimately a celebration of food, some might say the focal point of the evening was the culinary offerings from Corner Jammers. The build-your-own burrito concept allowed guests to tailor their meals to their tastes with some Mexican-inspired cuisine. With all options vegan, there was plenty for everyone to try, my favourites being the crispy tofu, spicy sweet potatoes, crunchy coleslaw, and a refreshing corn salad. It was a welcome departure from the usual party fare, and the flavours did not disappoint. Abbeydale’s Moonshine Pale Ale, a local brew that perfectly complemented the meal, was on tap to wash down the delectable dishes. A nod to Sheffield’s thriving craft beer scene and a reminder of the importance of supporting local producers when possible.  

While feeding your guests is the top priority for most hosts, the diverse mix of attendees truly made this event memorable. From representatives of anchor institutions like Sheffield City Council and Sheffield University to members of local businesses and community organisations, the room was filled with individuals passionate about sustainable food practices. Conversations flowed naturally, fostering connections that could lead to future collaborations and initiatives.

As comms coordinator to ShefFood, it was great to meet some of our partners face to face, and not just on a Zoom call. I had some great conversations about events people are putting on, campaigns they are running and what their vision for food in the future for Sheffield should look like. 

Some notable mentions from conversations include the following. ; Sheffield Action on Plastic recently launched their campaign on replacing disposable coffee cups with a reusable option in Sheffield cafes, including Dana, Union St and Hop Coffee. The United Women’s Affiliation empowers women, young mothers, single fathers, and youth, especially in underprivileged communities in Sheffield. They are growing as an organisation and have some unique events coming up; check out their website for more information.  Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust have just bought Ughill Farm and will transform it into a nature-friendly farm. These are just some of the fantastic projects happening in our city. 

Behind the scenes, the ShefFood partnership coordinators, Selina Treuherz and Rachael Treharne, deserve recognition for their efforts in organising the event. Their dedication to promoting sustainable food practices in Sheffield has been instrumental in bringing the community together and driving positive change.

As I reflect on the evening, I can’t help but recognise the significant impact of events like these on supporting sustainable initiatives. While formal meetings and institutional discussions certainly have their place, there’s something inherently powerful about gathering together over a shared meal. The sense of community and camaraderie that comes with breaking bread together creates an atmosphere of openness and trust that is difficult to replicate in more formal settings. This, in turn, provides an opportunity for meaningful dialogue and fosters a sense of shared purpose that can help to galvanise support for critical environmental causes.  Overall, events like these are essential to any sustainable movement and play a vital role in bringing people together to work towards a common goal.

For ShefFood, that goal is to help even more people connect over good food and build a bigger, better Good Food Movement in Sheffield this year. If you aren’t part of the network yet, I’d invite you to sign up at the ShefFood website and join the thousands of others in the city working towards a better food system. The partnership is developing even more events this year to help more people learn and participate in the most fundamental part of our lives, eating. We have a book club and working group meetings on topics like the economy, composting and health. We also have plans for film screenings and even more parties, so sign up to find out first! 

As Sheffield continues on its journey towards a more sustainable future, events like the ShefFood celebration remind us of our progress and the work that still lies ahead. By uniting as a community and supporting initiatives that promote sustainable living, we can create a city where good food is accessible to all.