On Sunday the 26th November, COP26, the UN climate change conference started in Glasgow. Most of us accept by now that we are collectively running out of time. 

What our governments are willing to put on the table is nowhere near good enough. 

So, what do we have to be cheerful about in desperate times like these?

The truth is, we are going to have to take matters into our own hands if we want things to change. And while it is sad that this is the case, the good news is that we can, all of us. And you don’t even have to chain yourself to an oil rig and get arrested (though by all means do if you have the appetite for it).

The food system is responsible for around one third of our carbon footprint yet we find it strange that food features so little in most big climate debates. The food system is built on emissions, energy and infrastructure. The simple act of eating, something we all do several times a day, is actually a major part of the climate puzzle. This is because throwing food away is responsible for 10% of our carbon footprint.

If we collectively stop wasting our food, we can feed every single person on the planet AND be several years closer to a Net Zero society. We could do this right now!

Six years ago when we set up Food Works, we knew it was time to start taking more serious climate action. Food is an area where real change is possible without diktats from governments and big businesses. Food Works is building a community where we can do that together, and we want you to join us to save our planet and build fair and sustainable food for our city.

How you can make a difference

Get the most out of your food

Cutting waste is the easiest way to cut carbon emissions. On top of that, it will save you money and help us feed more people:

  • Understand dates. Only Use-By dates are about food safety. All other dates like best before and sell by have little impact on the edibility of your food. You can use your senses to determine if you want to eat it.

  • Learn to cook a few things. A few simple recipes, e.g. a base curry and soup, will help you to make use of plenty of ingredients in your fridge and cupboard. It will also help you make tastier and healthier meals.

  • Store food correctly. Top tip: Freeze your sliced bread and defrost it one slice at a time in the toaster to make your loaf last.

Vote with your wallet

The most powerful vote we have is not a political one, it is the one in our wallet. When you buy something, don’t just consider what is beneficial and convenient. Consider the company and products that your money is supporting by your purchase.

Where you spend your money determines directly the businesses and products we have tomorrow. It is unfortunately not always easy to understand how responsible a business or product really is. Here’s a few easy ways to start:

  • Buy less meat. No, you don’t need to go vegan, that is a completely different debate. But meat is a huge factor in global warming and we are going to have to use less of it. Skipping meat for a day, or just using smaller portions will make a massive difference. Buying meat that is responsibly farmed can also help, if you can afford it.
  • Buy local.

    Join us

    Food Works has built up a community of hundreds of volunteers and thousands of customers and together we are changing food in Sheffield. Every volunteer helps us to save about 2 tonnes of food every year, enough to create almost 5000 meals.

    If you don’t have the time to volunteer, please consider being a customer and come eat in our cafes, buy our boxes or enjoy our zero waste meals. Food Works is funded by the payments we receive for the food we provide.

    Find information about where to access our food or shop online