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Going for Green

Posted by: Hannah Sanders
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Sheffield businesses are leading the way in sustainable food

Food connects with everything we do - our landscape, our health, our heritage, our life and economy - which is why it’s important we tackle the issue of food sustainability as early as possible.


Food has become a global market, and no country is fully self-sustaining when it comes to produce. Due to customer demand it’s possible to buy food that is out of season year-round, exotic produce and food that has previously been grown in low quantities.


With this growing market comes the question how can we ensure sustainably sourced food across the world to support the ever-growing population.


In Sheffield, there are numerous organisations including Unwrapped, Regather and the Real Junk Food Project working hard to improve sustainability across the city.


Zero waste is not a new movement, but one that continues to develop as people become more aware of how they live, what they consume and the resulting impact. It’s about choosing to follow a sustainable and plastic-free lifestyle by purchasing, creating and consuming sustainable products that don’t have a negative impact on the environment.


Unwrapped is the most recent zero waste, eco-friendly shop to open in Crookes, Sheffield and is the brain child of scientists Kirsty and Bex.


After meeting in 2006 whilst studying for their PhDs in Ecology, Kirsty and Bex started embarking on a journey to bring ‘the green city’ a shop which provided ethical purchasing whilst making zero waste, and encouraging food sustainability.


“We like the concept of being able to help the environment by reducing plastic pollution, packaging and food waste. So opening a zero waste shop seemed like a good direction to go in, and somewhere we could empower the community to address these issues too,” said Kirsty and Bex.


The store will invite customers to fill their own containers with purchases including both food and non-food products, such as wholefoods and eco products, liquid refills and they will also be stocking steel straws, reusable cups and recycled glass jars.

Regather, a trading co-operative and cultural centre in Sharrow is celebrating the launch of the city-wide campaign ‘Making Local Food Work in Sheffield’ which aims to create a community-owned, co-operatively managed, sustainable local food system with a vision to help feed Sheffield for generations to come.


Founder member, Gareth Roberts said: “We want to help communities become more resilient by encouraging co-operative involvement in the food system in Sheffield so that money is retained in the local economy, the land is more productive and people have better awareness of and involvement with local food production.


“Our mission is to grow the economy of Sheffield by developing a more productive landscape, with a focus on urban food production and to transform the resilience and sustainability of the wider urban food system.”

Regather's advanced food system graphic 


Every year, we waste between 30 and 40 per cent of food due to cosmetic blemishes - best before dates, weird-looking, misshapen foods and supermarkets cancelling or reducing their orders. And in the UK alone, 15 million tonnes of food is thrown away each year, at a cost of £19 billion.


The Real Junk Food Project (TRJFP) Sheffield promotes the value of this surplus food by reducing unnecessary waste, which in turn contributes to improved food sustainability- asking customers to 'pay as you feel' for groceries and meals which would otherwise have ended up going to landfill.


“We want to tackle this issue on a human level,” says director of TRJFP Sheffield, Rene Meijer. “So many people go hungry whilst perfectly good food ends up in the bin - it makes zero sense.


“The time, skills and resources which have gone into food production are often ignored, as is the potential environmental harm of waste. Challenging this mind-set is the starting point to tackling food waste.


“Our aim is to not only reduce food waste, but to help create a more sustainable food system and further alleviate food shortages. Whilst re-educating our customers and building awareness that in fact, surplus products are perfectly fine to consume.”


For some tops tips on going sustainable read the full article online

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