Local Food Action Plan Launch event - Panel

Will Sheffield Win The Silver Award?

Having helped Sheffield win the Sustainable Food Places Bronze Award in 2021, we set about creating an action plan for work going forward. Our hope was to achieve a Sustainable Food Places Silver Award within a few years but, more vitally and ambitiously, build a better food system for everyone in Sheffield. It’s fair to say we are well on the way to achieving our aims, and with the Silver Award submission being completed next month, it’s an excellent opportunity to look back at what’s been achieved in just two short years.

Their Key Commitments

Starting in 2015, we’ve grown in scale and scope, especially after our successful bid for Sheffield’s Bronze Award. In 2021, we committed to the below key strategies to take Sheffield to the next level in sustainable food systems.

  • Increasing our capacity as an organisation to reach more local people, support more partner organisations and run more events.
  • Developing our relationships with anchor institutions in Sheffield, including The University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University.
  • Working with Sheffield City Council to strategise and implement sustainable food systems and bolstering the local economy.
  • Applying for funding through grants and campaigns focusing on building better food systems for all.
  • Setting up a dedicated steering group to develop finance and governance structures.
  • Creating a range of themed working groups for specific areas of development in our overarching food strategy

While an ambitious task, we have accomplished all these actions and more.

What they’ve achieved

Now run by Partnership Coordinator Selina Treuherz and Deputy Coordinator Sophie Rowson, we’ve taken on the challenge of expanding the partnership’s capacity. With our #ShefToSilver campaign, we have added over 60 new organisations to the partnership who have signed the Sheffield Food Charter, committing their pledges towards sustainable food practices across the city. These businesses and groups are making changes in their own organisations but have also led the way in developing food policy in the city.

ShefFood, with the help of our dedicated steering group and Fix Our Food, has created and hosted numerous events over the past six months. This includes food-tasting, community meals and, most importantly, a range of themed working group events which involved over 100 organisations. These working groups focused on growing & composting, food economies, food provision, health & obesity and food citizenship. The culmination of these events was the launch of Sheffield’s Local Food Action Plan this June, a dedicated action plan for food sustainability across the city. It celebrates the fantastic work already achieved in Sheffield but, more crucially, sets out specific steps from committed organisations over the next seven years. 

The Role of Anchor Institutions

The connection of people across the city, from small retailers such as Stannington Fruit & Veg to larger volunteer organisations like the S6 Food Bank, has ensured policy has been created directly from our communities. This is a fantastic achievement that can’t be understated. However, ShefFood’s connection to anchor institutions has also been vitally important. 

Sheffield City Council has been involved in many stages of the Local Food Action Plan, especially in the Food, Health & Obesity working group. They have committed to a food strategy for all with their collaborative ShefFood report, “Fairer, Healthier, Greener”. Plus, they are taking the lead on over 20 Local Food Action Plan aims and projects. 

The Universities have also been a vital source of resources and support. For example, In collaboration with Regather and the Institute for Sustainable Food at the University of Sheffield, they’ve created six research reports that have been information evidence for the partnership’s work. And recently ShefFood has gained a new partnership with the University of Sheffield funded by a Synergy grant from the ‘Transforming UK food systems’ programme. The project is focused on enabling the transfer of good practices among local food partnerships to encourage their future sustainability and national impact.

As ShefFood grows as an organisation and helps more and more partners, so does the prospect of a transformed food system for our city and our contribution to the national picture. 

So, What’s next?

As mentioned, the Local Food Action Plan was launched this June and laid out 70 key actions from almost 100 organisations.  This is the roadmap for a sustainable food system for Sheffield over the next seven years, with some projects already in place or being developed this year. But, it’s not just the future the plan looks to but is a true celebration of the outstanding work being accomplished in Sheffield over the past few years. 

One of the truly unique things about this action plan is its celebration of the people. Instead of lofty goals, this report includes direct actions that will bring a new era of affordable, sustainable, culturally appropriate and nutritious food to the people of Sheffield. You can read the entire plan here. 

The next step for ShefFood is the Sustainable Food Places Silver Award bid which will be submitted in July. Whether we as a city will be granted remains to be seen. Still, it is undoubtedly deserved when you look at the extraordinary work of ShefFood and the thousands of Sheffield residents who feed our city on a daily basis. 

If you want to get involved in ShefFood, its working groups or just want to know more email the team at info@sheffood.org.uk or explore this website for more info.