The Game is an engaging, informative scenarios thinking tool to enable decision-makers in local and national government, emergency planners, senior leaders in the food sector, university researcher and other policy influencers to better understand existing and emerging threats to our food supplies, and what to do about them.
Aided by the supply landscape map (see below), Players have to:
- Decide on social and economic trade-offs in a complex system
- Quickly understand the magnitude of the task in supplying sufficient, safe, nutritious food in a fair and equitable way
- Recognise and assess emerging supply threats, and take action to avert them or mitigate their impact
National and local government responsibilities regarding food security
The population have ‘soft law’ food security rights under the UN Declaration of Human Rights (1948). The Rome Declaration (1996), placed the responsibility on Governments to ensure access to sufficient supplies of safe, nutritious food for their populations
- As we pointed out to the EFRA Commons Select Committee (1), the Government’s statement in their 2021 Food Security Report to Parliament (2) indicates they are seeking to abnegate their responsibilities under the Rome Declaration.
Local organisations, including local authorities and emergency services, have statutory duties to assess risks to their communities, and to produce resilience plans.
- There is no evidence local government in the West Midlands is fulfilling these duties, as we outlined in section 1.1 of Our Response to the Birmingham Food System Strategy Consultation Draft.
The origins of The Game
In January 2018, we published our horizon scanning project report Back from the future. It highlighted the scale and urgency of the threats on our food supply system, and exposed the inability and/or lack of capacity within governments and other institutions to respond at that time.
We were sufficiently concerned that no-one in national government appeared to grasp the challenges ahead. We therefore decided to devise The Game. The history of this first version, and and a second iteration (about buffer stocks). is here.
In the summer of 2021, we reviewed the forecasts made only four years earlier. Scarily, we realised we’d been 10-15 years too optimistic.
Along the while, too, the fragilities and vulnerabilities of the UK’s food supply system have been gravely exacerbated by the impact of both Covid and this Brexit.
(1) In section 4.1.2 of our Response to the Call of Evidence from the EFRA Commons Select Committee Inquiry on Food Security (September 2022)
(2) On page 154 of the 2021 Food Security Report to Parliament.