Mike Hallam from the Ethical Small Traders Association (ESTA), talks about his latest scheme for supporting local food businesses: The Food Loop Game!

food loop game

I have come up with a creative and maybe unique way of supporting our local food businesses. I have created a game: The Food Loop Game!

It works by members of the public buying local produce and providing simple evidence of items bought. Evidence can take the form of receipts, restaurant bills, invoices or pictures. These get converted into points which go up onto the Food Loop Game leader board.

Not only are points available for buying local produce, but additional points are available for low food miles. Extra points are also awarded when the food business we spend with goes on to re-spend our money. Points usually mean prizes so there will be a £25 prize for the person who is at the top of the leader board on the morning of September 1st!

The game also tries to encourage local food outlets to get involved. Their task is to try to spend your money with other local food businesses – helping to spread the purchasing power of your cash. By playing the game you therefore get to see what your money does after you have spent it, and we all get to see how our money keeps on working within our local food economy.

To qualify as a local food business the business owner must live within the Lancaster and Morecambe area. This includes the vast majority of food retailers, independent pubs, cafes, and restaurants, market stalls and independent food shops.

As well as encouraging the sale of more local food and drink, the game aims to demonstrate (over time) that spending money locally helps to boost our local economy; providing concrete evidence that this is happening. The local spending information that the game produces might also help to attract new funding or investments for our local food economy.

At the moment the game is still being trialled and developed. We are therefore looking for members of the public to help us develop the game by joining up and playing, and giving us feedback and suggestions on how to improve it.

If you want to play you simply need to register on the Food Loop Game website: lancasterfoodloopgame.weebly.com. The website also provides further information about how to play!

You can also follow the game and its progress by joining “The Food Loop Game.” 

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