Games Impact Understanding of Water and Food

By Roger Sykes 

In the UK, we enjoy a year-round supply of fresh fruit and vegetables from here and abroad. However, much of it comes from water-stressed regions, from East Anglia to South Africa. This exposes the supply to water-related and other risks. For example, what would happen to water resources if we all started hitting our 5-a-day targets? What would happen to our food supply if exporting countries were hit by drought? 

The Global Food Security project “Increasing resilience to water-related risks in the UK fresh fruit and vegetable system” aims to answer some of these questions. The project team used stakeholder interviews and workshops to collect individual accounts of how parts of the UK fresh fruit and veg system respond to water risk. This knowledge was then developed into a game to be played by stakeholders to help us understand risk and resilience – throughout the whole system. 

“Fruit and Veg. vs the Future” allows players to put together fruit and veg systems and pit them against different future scenarios. As water shocks hit the systems, we see whether the actors in the system can mitigate the shock or whether they pass it on to others through the supply chain. This highlights who the winners and losers are and how we can increase the resilience of the overall supply chain. Several workshops have been held using the game in the UK and South Africa with others planned for the future. 

If you are interested in using the game, please contact Tim Hess (t.hess@cranfield.ac.uk) or Joanne Craven (joanne@joannecraven.co.uk).