NFU starts UK's first School of Sustainable Food and Farming

09 August 2022

Environmental field

In partnership with Harper Adams University, the NFU, Morrisons and McDonald's have joined together to launch the UK’s first SSFF (School of Sustainable Food and Farming). Read on to find out how the new school will educate, empower and inspire.

The SSFF (School of Sustainable Food and Farming), launched in October 2021, will lead in the development of sustainable farming methods and help British farmers and growers with their pathway to net zero

Unique collaboration

The school aims to educate, inspire and empower current and future farmers and growers to achieve net zero within a sustainable farming and food system.

This unique collaboration of industry stakeholders, coming together to act as one voice, will highlight the importance of working together to collaboratively address net zero.

Skills and knowledge

The school will equip farmers and growers with the skills and knowledge to support their journey to net zero through a unique range of courses.

These courses are designed by experts in sustainable farming and food production at Harper Adams, along with specialist collaboration from Morrisons, McDonald's UK & Ireland and the NFU.

The school will also act as a hub for sharing ideas, learnings and best practices, as well as being involved in policy engagement to ensure the agricultural sector gets the support and guidance required.

Through knowledge exchange, workshops, online courses and mentoring, the school will enable farmers to understand how to produce food sustainably.

Alongside expanding the industry's knowledge of the environment, animal welfare, and positive farming relationships, they will also develop the skills needed to produce nutritious, tasty British food.

The four key pillars of the SSFF

New talent – Pillar 1

To champion food and farming career opportunities for diverse people and thinking.

Upskill – Pillar 2

Upskill current workforce through education and sharing insight for farmers and food producers via virtual and in-person learning.

Research – Pillar 3

To work collaboratively to find the solutions to key industry challenges through academia and the latest technology.

Influence– Pillar 4

To raise the profile of the school with policy makers within farming and industry and to raise the profile of what policy needs to do to unlock government intervention.

Support and engage

In recognition of the huge climate challenge agriculture is facing and the commitments that have been pledged by many in the industry, the School has been established to better support and engage with farmers on the Net Zero ambitions.

As part of the NFU’s policy priority, partnering with the SSFF supports our aim to guide members to useful resources which will support them on their journey to net zero.

We want farmers and growers to be more confident in building sustainable and resilient farming businesses, and we believe this is achievable through the work of the SSFF.

The founding partners

Each of the founding partners has an equal voice and acts with transparency and commitment to supporting the industry in reaching its Net Zero ambitions.

McDonald’s Plan for Change

McDonald’s UK and Ireland launched its Plan for Change – a comprehensive business and sustainability strategy to help it achieve its aim of net zero emissions across its entire business by 2040.

To ensure the business leads positive change from farms to front counter, the plan sets out ambitious goals and actions across its four key areas:

  • planet
  • people
  • restaurants and
  • food.

Morrisons’ pledge

Morrisons has pledged to become the first supermarket to be completely supplied by ‘zero emission’ British farms by 2030.

They plan to do this by measuring their current emissions, working with farmers to demonstrate how sustainable farming and ‘net zero’ can be achieved and providing farmers with incentives which are beneficial to them.

The school plays a vital role in helping Morrisons achieve their net zero targets.

The NFU’s role

Our role is to raise the profile of the SSFF with the policy makers within agriculture and industry and to ensure that the learnings and outcomes from the SSFF shape policy and unlock government intervention.

We also play a key role in raising awareness of the benefits the SSFF can offer our members to further support their journeys to net zero.

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