Closing Loops is a project launched by FoodFutures in 2022 to take forward the priorities of Our Food Futures, a community food strategy for North Lancashire. One of the core topics of the project is REconomy and regenerative enterprise. At four world cafe events at the end of last year, the Closing Loops team invited the residents of different parts of North Lancashire to join in a conversation about this and other topics.

First of all, many participants were curious to learn what we mean by REconomy. It’s certainly not a word in common use, however if we really want to address the pressing problems of our times, it’s a word we might all want to become familiar with.

One world cafe participant described it as “an economy where enterprises generate good rather than being extractive or degenerative; giving back more than they take.“ And another summed it up as “a business that channels any profits made back into the local community; offering a social and environmental benefit.”

The idea that our economy should work for the benefit of people, and not just generate growth and more money for the sake of it, is not new. Social enterprises have been around for a long time, for instance. But the idea of a REconomy goes further. Do we dare dream that ALL human enterprises could create products and services that are truly good for people (and planet)? Do we dare dream of a world where we generate all we truly need through collaboration, rather than through competition?

The world cafe participants came up with a wealth of ideas on what such enterprises might look like. They included many great ideas like…

  • Re-purposing empty shops and other buildings to offer venues for community gatherings, skill sharing, fixing and repair cafes, art exhibitions made out of ‘junk’ etc.
  • Matching under-used growing spaces, e.g. back gardens and school grounds, with keen gardeners and growers that don’t have access to land. The local initiative Grow Caton is already doing this.
  • Creating and sharing information around: How to repair? How to find refills? A don’t-ditch-it directory?
  • And much more.

Participants also talked about several initiatives that in fact already exist in our region. If you’d like to find out more about what they are, and have an appetite for more inspiration, get your hands on the spring edition of THRIVE magazine, which is all about REconomy and regenerative enterprises.

Download the full report on the outcomes of the world cafe discussions

If you have a great idea for a community initiative or regenerative enterprise that would contribute to growing a local REconomy, you may want to apply to the Closing Loops ‘Pots of Possibility’ fund to get your idea off the ground.

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