Healthy soil, Healthy food, Healthy people (H3)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: Geography

Abstract

Bringing together world-class researchers from Sheffield, Leeds, Bristol, Cambridge and City Universities, this proposal seeks to transform the UK food system 'from the ground up' via an integrated programme of interdisciplinary research on healthy soil, healthy food and healthy people (H3). The H3 Consortium addresses the links between food production and consumption and takes a whole systems approach to identify workable paths towards a transformed UK food system, delivered via a series of interventions: on farm, in food manufacturing, distribution and retail, and in terms of the health implications and inequalities associated with food consumption in UK homes and communities.

The proposed research addresses all of the UK government policy drivers outlined in the Call text from diet-related ill health to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, from biodiversity to soil health and water quality, rebuilding trust in the food system, promoting clean growth and supporting the translation of scientific research and new technologies for the benefit of the UK economy and society.

Our approach is thoroughly interdisciplinary, combining world-class soil and plant scientists, health researchers, economists and social scientists The research team have many years' experience of working together, leading interdisciplinary research centres, co-supervising PhD students and collaborating on numerous research projects including the N8 agri-food programme.

We take an integrated approach to the agri-food system, recognizing its inherent complexity and addressing the governance challenges that arise from the rapidly changing regulatory landscape.

Our proposed research involves six interconnected work-packages. The first advances novel growing technologies via fundamental research into agricultural practices that have the potential to transform the quality of food we grow while minimising its environmental impact. The second aims to combine hydroponic and conventional soil-based agriculture, creating a linked network of hybrid demonstrator farms in peri-urban areas to encourage improvements in dietary health and environmental sustainability. The third extends these ideas to the landscape scale, evaluating the benefits of regenerative agriculture in terms of reduced fertiliser and pesticide use and increased food quality. The fourth addresses the key public health challenges of micro-nutrient deficiency through the application of state of the art methods of biofortification, enhancing the nutritional value of foods that are already part of established UK diets. The fifth seeks to increase the consumption of fibre with its attendant health and sustainability benefits, based on lessons learnt from the Danish wholegrain partnership; while the sixth seeks to increase food system resilience to economic, health and environmental shocks through collaborative research with retailers and consumers. Three cross-cutting themes (CCTs) provide further integration across the work-packages. The first focuses on the application of integrative methods such as LCA and scenario-building approaches to assess the environmental, social and economic impact of different interventions and policy options. The second focuses on issues of consumer demand, public acceptability and affordability; while the third ensures that stakeholder involvement features consistently throughout the programme, with a strong emphasis on knowledge exchange and impact within and beyond the five-year funding period.

The H3 Consortium is led by Professors Peter Jackson and Duncan Cameron who co-direct the Institute for Sustainable Food at the University of Sheffield. They are joined by a core team, comprising the work-package and CCT leaders, a wider group of co-investigators and PDRAs, and an experienced business development manager, focused on maximising the impact of our research in government, business and civil society.

People

ORCID iD

Peter Jackson (Principal Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0002-3654-1891
Duncan Cameron (Co-Investigator)
Alan Mackie (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0002-5681-0593
Tim Daniell (Co-Investigator)
Clare Louise Lawton (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0003-2341-0793
Bernard Michael Corfe (Co-Investigator)
Siau Ching Lenny Koh (Co-Investigator)
Sue Hartley (Co-Investigator)
Samantha Caton (Co-Investigator)
Louise Dye (Co-Investigator)
Anna Krzywoszynska (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0002-8304-0440
William Young (Co-Investigator)
Lynn Dicks (Co-Investigator)
Jurriaan Ton (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0002-8512-2802
Stephen Rolfe (Co-Investigator)
Peter Ho (Co-Investigator)
Jonathan Leake (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0001-8364-7616
Jill Louise Edmondson (Co-Investigator)
Christian Reynolds (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0002-1073-7394
GULBANU KAPTAN (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0002-3219-9347
David Evans (Co-Investigator)
Anthony John Ryan (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0001-7737-0526
Anne Marie Tallontire (Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0002-8339-8442
Sonal Choudhary (Co-Investigator)
Bhavani Shankar (Co-Investigator)
Phani Kumar Chintakayala (Researcher Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0002-2526-8674
Neil Bernard Boyle (Researcher Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0002-0604-4712
Megan Lewis (Researcher Co-Investigator)
Katie Adolphus (Researcher Co-Investigator) orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0003-0655-1025

Publications

10 25 50
 
Title An introduction to the H3 project 
Description An eight minute film to introduce the scope and rationale for the Healthy Soil, Healthy Food and Healthy People research project. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2021 
Impact So far in March 2022 318 people have watched the film. 
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4q26FkaVjtY
 
Title Food future in flux 
Description A short film produced for the Citizen Food Futures conference. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2021 
Impact The film has been watched 77 times in March 2022. 
URL https://vimeo.com/640374021
 
Description Closed parliamentary briefing on food insecurity and children's health
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
URL https://post.parliament.uk/event-summary-food-insecurity-and-childrens-health/
 
Description Defra Science Advisory Council Member
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
URL https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/8567...
 
Description Evidence to parliamentary committee
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
URL https://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/e8bb3ee7-a727-4b80-970f-2ac6fcaaebac
 
Description Jonathan Leake training farmers on soil health monitoring
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact Training of farmers in the West Cambridgeshire Hundreds farming cluster on how to measure and monitor changes in soil health, included presentations and practical demonstrations to enable future self monitoring.
 
Description Global Engagement Partnership Development Fund
Amount £2,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Sheffield 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2022 
End 12/2022
 
Description QR Policy Support Fund
Amount £21,500 (GBP)
Organisation University of Sheffield 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2022 
End 03/2022
 
Description BBC Radio 3 - Arts and Ideas, Green thinking: food podcast 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Peter Jackson participated in a podcast ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26) to discuss 'how can we make food and farming more sustainable?'.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09pxxlg
 
Description Engagement meetings with colleagues from the Coop 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact We have responded to requests to organise three meetings with staff from the Coop supermarket. These have included briefings on overall project outlines, and specific presentations and discussions regarding regenerative agriculture.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Engagement with Defra 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Ongoing dialogue with Defra
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Evidence to parliamentary committee for Nature Based Solutions and climate change 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Lynn Dicks gave evidence to a Parliamentary Committee on 7th September 2021.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/e8bb3ee7-a727-4b80-970f-2ac6fcaaebac
 
Description Food Future in flux film for Citizen Food Futures 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact 3 minute film made by Professor David Evans and Dr Jonathan Beacham from CCT2 for the Citizen Food Futures event in November 2021. In March 2022 recorded 76 views on Vimeo. The film suggests that future diets are linked to our activities today, that whilst globalisation of meat and dairy rich 'Western diets' have ecological and public health consequences, current mainstreaming of previously niche plant based alternatives in the UK, may prompt more widespread change.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021,2022
URL https://vimeo.com/640374021
 
Description Food and Drink Federation Fibre February Webinar 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The FDF convened a webinar for Fibre February 'Bridging the Fibre Gap with innovation and communication from concept to launch'. The panel included industry and academia including Professor Louise Dye the lead of WP5. Oliver Morrison at Food Navigator referred to Louise inputs in his follow up reporting on 4th March and asked to be kept informed about future work and findings. The link to his article is here:
https://www.foodnavigator.com/Article/2022/03/04/The-fibre-dilemma-If-we-build-it-will-they-come#
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://www.fdf.org.uk/fdf/resources/webinar-listing/2022/fibre-february-webinar/
 
Description H3 Academic Advisory Board 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The academic advisory board involves world renowned academics whose research complements that of H3. It aims to ensure that our research has global relevance, and widen our potential impact. It is anticipated that members will also support our ECRs with mentoring and career development.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
 
Description H3 Responses to the National Food Strategy 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact H3 responded to the publication of the National Food Strategy with a series of 3 articles on the H3 website which we also shared via social media, these related to 'Prospects for more sustainable food production', 'Confronting consumer demand', and 'School meals and increasing fibre'.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.h3.ac.uk/news/
 
Description H3 Stakeholder Advisory Board 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The H3 Stakeholder advisory board members are drawn from industry, third sector, and policy makers. Members meet annually, are kep updated through our website and have had numerous contacts in between. For example as a result of the first meeting, follow up meetings have been held with AHDB in relation to the Farmbench tool and regenerative agriculture, with the Coop re Regen Ag, and the Food and Drink Federation re Fibre initiatives.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description H3 electronic newsletter 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The H3 newsletter is compiled and distributed via a mailchimp e-newsletter format every six months to project stakeholders, participants, other programme participants and those who self subscribe through our website. We provide updates on project progress, events, staffing, and outputs.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021,2022
 
Description H3 film 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact H3 produced an 8 minute film which introduces the scope of the H3 project to a general audience. The film was made with stakeholders and the project team, and helped us to identify future potential research partners. It was uploaded to youtube in November 2021, in March 2022 it has experienced 316 views through that channel.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021,2022
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4q26FkaVjtY
 
Description H3 project website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact H3 website was established to provide an overview and introduction to the project, staff and partners. Users can link to our social media twitter and be added to the mailchimp newsletter mailing list. We also added the H3 film (which is also on you tube in November 2021).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021,2022
URL https://www.h3.ac.uk/
 
Description H3 twitter channel 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact the H3 twitter channel was established in August 2021. In March 2022 we have 178 followers. We share project updates, programme wide and project recruitment opportunities, news items such as upcoming events, responses to the National Food Strategy etc.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021,2022
URL https://twitter.com/healthyfood_h3
 
Description Launch of University of Sheffield Institute for Sustainable Food at the Royal Society 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The launch of the Institute for Sustainable Food at the Royal Society on Monday 14th March 2022 included a series of talks and presentations. These outlined the work of the Healthy Soil, Healthy Food and Healthy People (H3) research project and included a screening of the H3 film. The audience included senior academic colleagues, policy makers, industry and practitioners.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
 
Description Panel discussion making the case for a UK fibre partnership 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact An online panel discussion was jointly convened by H3 and Cereal Partners Worldwide on International Wholegrains Day (16th September 2021). Chaired by Stephen Hammond MP and also including the Food and Drink Federation, Professor Louise Dye, Professor Bernard Corfe and Dr Sam Caton from H3, and the Danish Wholegrain Partnership. The importance of fibre in the diet, existing low levels of consumption and strategies to increase fibre intake were discussed. Some of these will be trialled through WP5 of the H3 project. All participants were supportive of the formation of a UK fibre partnership.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Parliamentary briefing on food insecurity and children's health. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Professor Louise Dye spoke at a closed Parliamentary Briefing on Food Insecurity and Children's Health on 15th September 2021. Included the importance of breakfast.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://post.parliament.uk/event-summary-food-insecurity-and-childrens-health/
 
Description Regenerative Agriculture research processes with farmers and stakeholders 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The working processes in work package three - (regenerative agriculture at a landscape scale) include routine stakeholder engagement and co-creation, including: regular fortnightly meetings with farmer cluster leads, and other key stakeholders (Soil Association, AHDB); presentations and training with farmers - on soil health measures in West Cambridgeshire Hundreds (WCH) cluster (15 farmers and film crew 3rd March 2022), social science methods with WCH (11th Feb 2022) and Allenford (10th March 2022) farming clusters; Soil Association Innovative farmers workshop 1st March 2022 Staffordshire.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021,2022
 
Description Soil article in the Conversation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Duncan Cameron authored an article in the Conversation related to soil degradation and regeneration. It was shared through Twitter and facebook and generated 27 comments.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://theconversation.com/why-the-fate-of-our-planets-environment-depends-on-the-state-of-its-soil...
 
Description Urban Agriculture Special Interest Group meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact The UK SPF Urban Agriculture Special Interest Group meeting was hosted at the University of Sheffield to facilitate knowledge exchange, support networking and identify synergies between projects in the Transforming food systems SPF Programme. Included presentations and field visits.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
 
Description Urban Agriculture article in the Conversation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This article promote urban horticulture as a means to reducing food insecurity, increase access to fruit and vegetables and reduce climate change impacts through more locally based production.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://theconversation.com/urban-health-wellbeing-and-food-supplies-are-all-under-threat-growing-mo...