Ark Sheffield sparks conversations about climate change through free meals

Written by Emily Phillips

An arts project is encouraging communities in Sheffield to get together over food and talk about climate change.

Ark Sheffield is running events with partners across the city in March, such as Blend Kitchen, Heeley City Farm, Foodhall and SADACCA (Sheffield and District African Caribbean Community Association) that offer free meals alongside a discussion about climate change.

Tom Payne, 42, is one of three Lead Creatives running the project, which will culminate in a large-scale event at The Crucible Theatre on 6 April.

One of the free meals events at SADACCA. Photo credit: Becky Payne Photography

Dr Payne said the narrative around climate change, characterised by megaphones and scary news stories on social media, can be overwhelming for people to think about.

He said: “We’re wanting to start with very simple conversation, with food, with people, in places in Sheffield.”

Ark, with fellow creatives Julia Udall and Alex De Little, want participants to explore their own hopes, fears and solutions to the ecological crisis we face.

The events so far have been a huge success, Dr Payne said, with an exciting, diverse mix of people having rich conversations.

A meal at Blend Kitchen. Photo credit: Becky Payne Photography

A meal at SADACCA last week saw a 91-year-old man attend.

He came along because he needed to do it for his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, to show he was part of the conversation and to leave a legacy behind.

Dr Payne said: “It’s such an honour when somebody is there, and they’ve lived a really full life, and still want to act and make things better for other people.”

Conversations from the food events will be recorded and streamed at The Crucible as part of Together in the City Festival on 6 April, so that the 900 strong auditorium can hear the voices of the city.

SADACCA meal event. Photo credit Becky Payne Photography

The meals are free to attend, with the final event taking place on 18 March.

Visit the Ark Sheffield website for more information: home | ark sheffield (

Written by Emily Phillips

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