At a meeting following the first Surbiton Food Festival a discussion about the good and the not so good was had with a view to making the festival better next year. A debate around the Surbiton Food Passport – a way that local businesses could promote offers during the festival – ensued and there was some disagreement as to whether this should have been a free offering of the festival or something that visitors paid for.

This debate led us to wonder; was the £5 paid for the food passport in fact the first form of currency in Surbiton? After all it was full of vouchers to use with local independent traders and businesses.

And; could there be a Surbiton Food Festival Pound – a temporary currency for next year? Well the passport had to be paid for and the offers were only for a brief period of time. A Food Festival Pound could be purchased by the public at a discount (to be agreed upon) and used until they ran out (even after the festival has finished). The pounds are purchased for cash and so are ultimately backed by a ‘deposit’ in a bank and so businesses who participate can turn them back into cash once they have been accepted from the customers.

This might solve the problem of the passport being sold and also there will be no expiry date to the Surbiton Food Festival Pound, they expire when they are used. Once they hit the till they can be converted back to cash.

There would be no risk to the traders so why would they not get involved? What would they have to lose?

Update – The 2014 Surbiton Food Festival saw the launch of the first Kingston Pound note. The trial was a great success and really helped to motivate us to move the project forward.