On September 5th, in The Glade, an amazing outdoor venue behind Schumacher College, our community gathered to support five solutionary local business projects – The Living Projects, Montreal Style Bagels, CommonFlora, BrewHaHa, and Mend Assembly. Over 143 offers were made, including money and in-kind business services, worth over £11,500. And some investments were offers of introductions, knowledge, volunteering, Tweeting, applying plaster, bottling, deliveries, and even childcare. There was a lot of love and care in the woods that afternoon. What better way to build back?
‘Build Back Better’ has been a common cry over this strange year and a half in lockdown. Many people noted the positives coming from this experience, including the opportunity to set our economy on a better course toward meeting everyone’s needs, while cutting carbon emissions in half and protecting biodiversity. This kind of change only comes from everyone participating, doing what they can – not just talking about it, not just being a ‘switched on’ consumer, but actually investing one’s self in something juicy, something wonderful, something transformative. And this is just what happened at the 9th Local Entrepreneur Forum & Community of Dragons event in The Glade, earlier this autumn.
There was also a bit of a festival feeling. Food was served by The Kitchen Table and Montreal Style Bagels. On tap was kombucha from BrewHaHa, craft beer from Barnaby’s Brewhouse and cider from Dartington Cider. Izzi Bard, of Kuki and the Bard, played guitar.
There were three focused sessions for changemakers, too. The one on Local Responses to Climate Change outlined plans for a Climate Emergency Response Centre to be located in the centre of town, and for the updated Transition Streets programme. The session on Prosperity for Young People brought many together to hear about innovative projects like Crazy Beautiful World and New Futures Academy. And finally the Build Local Food Resilience session bright food producers and activists together to explore opportunities to build a regenerative food network, Devon Food Partnership.
If indeed we’re to bounce back after pandemic and Brexit, and really do what’s needed to do our part in South Devon to transform our local economy, build food security and resilience, take care of our young people and more, it will take more of this kind of thing. There will be more events like this, of course – maybe this spring! And there are plenty of other ways we can come together to collaborate, cooperate, connect for the common good. This builds ‘community’ and amplifies the positive feelings we already have living in this amazing place.
There – that’s the invitation. See you at the next Local Entrepreneur Forum & Community of Dragons!