Sustainable South Hams hosted a Planet Local roadshow in Bigbury on December 3 to increase awareness about sustainability and the environment.

The event was the first ever festival of its kind and saw a network of local businesses come together to celebrate the products they offer and the environmental consciousness of these items.

Caroline Voaden, Former Lib Dem Member of the European Parliament attended the event and said: “Well done... for a fab event today at St Anne’s Chapel. I bought several lovely Christmas gifts for friends and family from local makers, and the food was fabulous!

“Having run my own small business in Totnes I appreciate the endless hours, the passion and the dedication that goes into sustaining a small business, especially in difficult times like these. (Its) so good to see local people supporting local businesses - we need to think creatively about what more we can do at local and national level to support small, homegrown businesses so they don’t succumb to the online giants and the supermarkets.”

The Planet Local initiative falls under the Sustainable South Hams umbrella, which is a company that hopes to bring together those passionate about sustainability in the South Hams. The event was initiated by Lynda Kelly, Sustainable South Hams business mentor.

Sustainable South Hams said of the event: “We’re connecting, supporting and inspiring local climate and nature action by bringing together a wide range of interested parties, including environmental groups, members of local government, charities and businesses…. and we’re hoping for it to act as a pilot and template for future similar events.”

Lynda has spent many years in retail marketing and as an international marketing manager, and is a co-owner of Herb Heaven Devon. She wanted to create the event because she was aware of the difficulties many small businesses had experienced after the pandemic, and are now facing with cost increases due to the cost of living crisis, so she wanted to do something to help.

She said: “during the last three years I’ve come across so many small eco-businesses, groups and farms who should be equally proud. We all share a common goal to create businesses that are good for the planet - sustainably produced, pasture fed, hand crafted, organic and naturally grown, recyclable, whatever it takes!

“I realised that maybe if we all worked together, we could build a brand that people in the South Hams would recognise and support because we know that our customers also want to support the environment in their purchases.”

The exhibitors were pleased with the success of the event. Janey from Feast Deli Kitchen said: “(I) loved every minute and cant thank you enough - this is the future. A massive congratulations for all your amazing hard work, inspiration and support for the community.”

Katie from South Devon Lavender said: “This is by far the best show I have done this year and I have met so many amazing people.”

The event was supported by local sustainability group Bigbury Net Zero and organisers hope it will encourage similar events across the South Hams. Find out more on the Planet Local Facebook page, or by emailing [email protected].