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A Magazine for Sheffield

"By 2030, Sheffield’s food landscape will look entirely different"

Why has ShefFood co-ordinated a seven-year Local Food Action Plan for Sheffield? Lorna and Selina tell us more about the food partnership's ambitious, co-produced strategy to transform our food system for the better.

Green city action seedlings

Gardeners with Green City Action, a ShefFood partner.

Green City Action

Since the mid-1980s, many progressive strategies, plans and policies have been developed in Sheffield on the understanding that local government, the NHS, universities, businesses and communities must all work together in partnership to create the lasting change needed to our food system. But without funding, a clear route for progress or national support, best laid plans have often been limited in their practical impact.

ShefFood, the Sheffield Food Partnership, hopes to change this with the launch of the Local Food Action Plan for Sheffield, a strategy that goes beyond aims to set out clear and achievable actions.

With the backing of partners across the city who have committed to implementing them, from institutions like the universities and the Council to local businesses and social enterprises, the grassroots plan will work towards building a healthier and more sustainable food system in Sheffield.

What’s the plan?

In collaboration with FixOurFood, ShefFood has co-created an action plan with almost 100 organisations in the city. Through a series of workshops, we have co-developed an approach which addresses and celebrates five key pillars of a good local food system – food provision, food production, the food economy, health and wellbeing, and the good food movement – through a series of concrete actions.

The five key strategies are:

  • Strengthen food networks by developing skills and learning together.

  • Build collective capacity to share and use data on Sheffield’s food system.

  • Participate in making and delivering ambitious local food policy.

  • Build an inclusive food movement.

  • Leverage spaces for food initiatives.

Too often, food policy comes from a top-down approach. That is one of the reasons that changes have taken so long to be implemented in the past. We believe that involving the community from day one is what will make a real difference.

What also makes our local food action plan distinct from others that have come before it is its actionability. It sets out 70 specific commitments and activities from diverse organisations across the city. Over the next seven years, these actions will take our food system on a journey to becoming fairer and more sustainable for the people of Sheffield and the planet as a whole.

The change we want to see

We believe that significant change needs to be achieved very rapidly. We must extend and deepen collaborations across Sheffield’s diverse food networks by sharing knowledge and skills and co-developing training resources. Learning needs to be a core part of this, where together we can understand how to access, use and share information to support on-the-ground decision-making.

Continuing to advocate for and deliver food systems change while enhancing engagement with underrepresented groups is absolutely vital to bringing every single person in Sheffield into the work of better food. Connecting Sheffield’s vibrant food networks to all populations and areas of the city will help us all celebrate and grow our food sector.

Lastly, supporting organisations and initiatives across Sheffield to access the physical spaces necessary to grow, process and distribute healthy and sustainable food is essential in building the food system our city deserves.

In the context of national food shortages, limited national policies and a continuing cost of living crisis, the plan provides some much-needed direction towards everyone in the city being able to access delicious, nutritious and affordable food.

Sheffield food in 2030

By 2030, Sheffield’s food landscape will look entirely different. With backing from organisations across the city, ShefFood and its partners are working towards achieving the following:

  • Everyone in Sheffield has access to healthy and sustainable food.

  • Food networks and organisations support access to healthy and sustainable food across all wards of Sheffield.

  • Businesses and community-based organisations collectively procure and distribute sustainable food.

  • Sheffield’s communities feel empowered to shape local food systems and participate in food policy development.

  • Food education (i.e. growing, cooking, buying, eating) is available to everyone in Sheffield.

  • Communities and organisations of all sizes can reduce, reuse and recycle food, green waste and other organic wastes.

  • Businesses and communities can access suitable land and resources for agro-ecological and low-impact food production.

  • Communities can access social spaces for cooking and eating together.

  • ShefFood represents diverse groups, identities and areas of the city.

  • Local low-carbon food producers are supported to supply food to anchor institutions, including universities, hospitals and other large institutions.

  • Public health, social and support services are people-centred and compassionate.

  • Robust and resilient food networks connect organisations across sectors to tackle shared problems.

Regather lansdown garden club

A planter outside Regather Works, Club Garden Road.

Celebrating our successes

The local food action plan is also a celebration of the fantastic work that has come before it and which is happening in our city right now. A section of the plan recognises just some of the incredible work of individuals and collectives in Sheffield over the past few years.

These pioneering organisations include Regather, Food Works, The Sheffield Wheat Experiment and S2 Food Bank, who are leading the way in public food education and activism. The Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme had 11,400 children in Sheffield attend a HAF session in the summer of 2022. Last year’s Food Ladders Report mapped food provision in Sheffield and outlined recommendations to build and deepen existing projects. A comprehensive interactive map of food providers in the city is also now available through Voluntary Action Sheffield.

The launch event

To celebrate the achievements of our food sector and the launch of the Local Food Action Plan, ShefFood is hosting a community meal and Q&A session in the heart of the city.

The launch event is an opportunity for anyone to get involved now and learn more about the plan. This is about transforming the city's local food system, which needs to involve everyone in the city, from institutions like the universities and Sheffield City Council all the way through to workers on the ground, neighbours down the road and all residents of Sheffield.

Learn more

The Sheffield Local Food Action Plan launch event takes place on Thursday 15 June, 5:30 pm at Victoria Hall on Norfolk Street (S1 2JB).

The panel panel will include Selina Treuherz (ShefFood Partnership Coordinator), Jess Wilson (Sheffield City Council Lead for Food & Public Health), Lyds Leather (VAS Community Development Coordinator) and Gareth Roberts (Regather Co-Founder).

Everyone is invited to stay for a delicious community meal from 7.15pm.

Get in touch with ShefFood with any queries about the event.

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