The University of Sheffield Sustainable Food Futures (SheFF) tackles global food security through integrated interdisciplinary investigations of agri-food systems.
SheFF brings together world-class researchers from across the University, in all five faculties, and in major collaborating research centres, institutes and groups, including Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI), Sheffield International Development Institute (SIID), the Robert Hill Institute for Plant Science Research (RHI) and the P3 Centre of Excellence in Translational Plant Science, the Human Nutrition Unit, School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR), the Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre (AREC), and the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures. SheFF also contributes to the N8AgriFood programme.
SheFF works with researchers, businesses, government, consumers and NGOs in the agri-food sector to assess the impact of environmental, political, economic, cultural and demographic change on food systems and identify solutions to mitigate risks and successfully adapt.
Our approach has the following distinctive characteristics:
- An expanded view of sustainable agri-food systems that looks beyond technological solutions and the environmental dimensions of sustainability to encompass health outcomes, social and ecological justice, and prosperity.
- Embracing contestation and recognizing that there are multiple and rival ways of framing what a sustainable agri-food system might entail. We focus on tensions, trade-offs, alignments and compromises, exploring who benefits (or loses) from particular outcomes.
- A systematic approach to food and agriculture. We insist on the need for ‘joined-up thinking’, emphasizing interconnections across the food supply chain.
- Engaging with and understanding conventional food systems. We seek to advance a critical analysis of the current intensive, industrialized food system in order to understand its dynamics and reduce its negative consequences.
- Methodological innovation and integration. SheFF hosts a range of methodological expertise including quantitative modelling skills (such as LCA), participatory methods (such as stakeholder fora) and ethnographic studies of consumer practices.
- Undertaking comparative research with colleagues in the Global South, working closely with colleagues in the Sheffield Institute of International Development (SIID) and the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures.