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Gloucestershire Business News

Stroud becoming tourist hotspot

It is exactly 25 years since the Farmers' Market started in Stroud.

According to its founder, the market has played a big part in the positive and inclusive culture of the town - and even becoming a tourist hotspot.

Clare Honeyfield started the market in 1999 and opened the Made in Stroud shop in 2000.

She said: "Back then, promotion of local produce, food culture and appreciation of handmade wasn't a culture. It was a culture that we built.

"The rest of the country has caught up - with a real appreciation of handmade, artisan, small family businesses, small family farms and the idea of paying maybe a bit extra to get quality and to get that real sense of place with your purchases."

Stroud had a real boost in popularity three years ago, when the Sunday Times Travel named it as the best place in the UK to live.

Clare said that, following lockdowns, people decided they didn't want or need to live in a city. A lot of people have moved to the town from Bristol and London - attracted by the culture and the work the local authorities put in to promoting tourism in the area.

It has led to a local economy which is relatively buoyant compared to many towns and cities at the current time.

The market and the shop have also attracted artists, makers and producers to move to Stroud, knowing there is an outlet for them to share and sell their work.

And some of the farmers' market stallholders have gone on to open their own shops in the town.

Made in Stroud is on Kendrick Street. The whole street is fully occupied and, apart from one shop, they are all independent.

Clare said: "It's really unusual in the UK. I think it's a good model for small towns.

"It has created its own momentum. The farmers' market has created a strong food culture, it's really inclusive."

This culture contributed to the 'radical hospitality' of The Long Table in Stroud, founded by Tom Herbert.

Clare said: "It means that people who are more privileged are able to contribute to the life of people who aren't in such a good place economically at the moment. The Long Table provides good quality food, sourced from local farms. You pay what you can, pay it forward or get a free meal. It's a virtuous circle where everyone gets to benefit."

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