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Could the Sidmouth Farmers’ Market make a come-back?

  • by JW

“A lot of people who have realised local food is not as expensive as they thought it was, that the produce is better and they like the fact they can support their local economy”.


It was back in 2009 that the VGS set up the first food market in Sidmouth:

Sidmouth food market from Vision Group | Sidmouth Herald

This was later taken on by Kennaway House – and up until the pandemic, there was a regular farmers’ market in the Cellar Bar, sometimes spilling into the front lawns:

Futures Forum: Sidmouth Farmers’ Market: Saturday 9th March

It was revived for a short while in September 2020:

Sidmouth Farmers’ Market to return – Vision Group for Sidmouth

The Food Festival @ Kennaway House 2020

And Kennaway House has just announced the return of the Food Festival in August this year:

Back by popular demand! We are pleased to announce that the 2022 Sidmouth Food Festival will be held on Saturday 13th August. For further information and bookings, please contact us on 01395 515551 or

Sidmouth Food Festival

This might well help in the revival of the monthly farmers’ market itself, the question being:

Could the Sidmouth Farmers’ Market could make a come-back?

During Sunday’s On Your Farm on Radio 4, the person behind a revival of farmers’ markets made the point that since the pandemic there has been much more interest in local food:

Anna Louise Claydon explores Greenacres Smallholding in Witnesham in Suffolk – a community-supported farm on just under five hectares…

She also meets Justine Paul, the founder of Suffolk Market Events which runs some of the biggest farmers’ markets in the county – a community which has been vital for the growth of Greenacres.

BBC Radio 4 – On Your Farm, By Hand or by Horse

During lockdown, there was a lot of talk about the benefits of ‘local food’:

Anthony Davison, whose Big Barn online food map of local producers and sellers has dramatically increased its traffic since the first Covid lockdown, thinks this boost is here to stay. He has heard about “a lot of people who have found their local farm shop or butcher and realised it’s not as expensive as they thought it was, that the produce is better and they like the fact they can support their local economy”. He believes greater interest leads to more home cooking and healthier eating and that freshness, flavour, and a sense of seasonality are some of the other benefits of local food. “The more you care about how food is produced, the less likely you are to buy Peruvian asparagus”, he says. “You understand that you eat it in May and June when its local and fresh.”

A recent report on the benefits of local food by the New Economics Foundation estimates that for every £1 spent in the local food network Growing Communities in London, a further £3.70 is generated in social, economic and environmental value. The community-led organisation sells organic food that gives a fair price to the grower, has a weekly veg-bag scheme, a farmers’ market and a producer network to foster smaller-scale producers working on sustainable principles. Eco benefits of such foods can include attention to soil health and other reduced carbon emissions and improved water quality due to less pollution through chemical inputs such as pesticides and fertilisers.

The trend that’s shaking up the food industry – BBC Food

Sheffield University has just come out with a study:

Local food suppliers saved the day during the Covid-19 pandemic food shortages, but new research from the University of Sheffield also finds lessons need to be learnt if national food systems are to survive future crises.

In a series of new reports from the University of Sheffield’s Institute for Sustainable Food, the local food sector was found to have contributed to the resilience of UK food systems during the pandemic by providing access to food at a time when some were struggling to find the basics on supermarket shelves around the country, and highlighted the highs and lows of the pandemic experienced by those in the local food sector.

An ambitious vision the local food sector has for transforming the UK food system is also explored, and sets out how this sector can become an engine of societal, economic, and ecological transformation in the UK, while also indicating the systemic barriers and challenges facing organisations in achieving this.

Local food suppliers proved their value during the pandemic, so how do we ensure they thrive? | News | The University of Sheffield

The question is, then:

Could the Sidmouth Farmers’ Market could make a come-back?