Fruit and Veg vs. the Future on tour

In Fruit and Veg vs the Future, your challenge is to keep up supplies of fresh fruit and vegetables to the inhabitants of Main Island in a fiendishly difficult future scenario set for you by another team, whilst they struggle for survival in a future set by you. The game explores how uncertain future water risks affect the fruit and veg system, and how we can make it more resilient.

I developed Fruit and Veg vs. the Future for the research project “Increasing resilience to water-related risks in the UK fresh fruit and vegetable supply system“, with colleagues from the University of Oxford, Cranfield University and the University of East Anglia. We are interested in finding out how future water risks might affect different actors in the UK fresh fruit and veg system, and how their responses affect the system as a whole.

To answer some of these questions, we used the game for two workshops involving 22 participants including growers, retailers, processors and government. Each group played the game twice: the first game representing “business-as-usual”, and the second game trying to improve on the status quo.

We saw dramatic futures play out: three-year droughts, cut-throat competition, and innovative collaboration. Playing the game, participants were free to step out of their professional roles and think as a group about different ways things could be done. In participants’ words, “the concept was alien, but proved [them] wrong” and “delivered a lot more in thinking and understanding than [they] expected.”.

Within our research project, we are combining the results of the workshop with interviews and other data to build up a picture of how resilient our fruit and veg supply really is, and how we can make it more resilient to whatever tomorrow throws at it.

If you are interested in the game or would like to play it in your organisation, please get in touch. We would be very happy to hear from you!