Let’s bite into a Devon Doughnut!

On Day 3 of the Regenerate Devon Summit (brilliantly hosted by Local Spark, Plymouth Social Enterprise Network and Essence Social Enterprise Exeter) the chat window was on fire as the Doughnut Economics Action Lab (DEAL) team talked about using this tool/lens as a way to coordinate work towards a socially and ecologically resilient economy. The recent publication of the ‘Creating City Portraits’ framework by the Action Lab has prompted the opportunity to work with the Doughnut in South West England (which is dominated by rural and coastal areas, with some urban areas). And for many of us, how this visual framework for sustainable development might be useful to us here in Devon has come into sharp focus.

Since then, DEAL has launched a very helpful website and the Regenerate Devon team organized two follow-on events; a debrief session for the councillors who attended, and a talk by Ilektra Kouloumpi, Senior Cities Strategist at Circle Economy about the experience of creating a city-led Amsterdam Doughnut. Here’s the meeting recording:

Conversations and aligned activities are happening with the idea of ‘a healthier, more just, more resilient Devon’ at their centre. For example, Iridescent Ideas CIC is holding a seminar to explore the impact of the policy gap between public health and the economy, New Prosperity Devon is running a series of webinars on Community Wealth Building for Devon’s institutions and POP+ is working on raising the profile of community development activity in Plymouth. Lots more people are waiting for something to emerge so that they can participate or support it. There are many bioregions around the world also looking to make a region-scale Doughnut. Let’s get synched up.

Because BLC is based in South Devon, we feel called to kick things off here; to begin in the place we know, and to pilot the co-design of a multi-metric-based evidence base to support inclusive and participatory strategic planning and decision-making here in South Devon. We turned our attention to Doughnut Economics after hearing Kate Raworth speak at Ways with Words in 2017, and since then we have been looking at metrics for envisaging, articulating and monitoring a healthy bioregion. Through this process, and with the input of Nick Paling, Head of Data, Evidence and Communications at Westcountry Rivers Trust, we are beginning to see a path.

We have called together a small-ish group of Doughnut enthusiasts in a regular conversation we are calling Coffee and Doughnuts. In our first session Manda Brookman shared her experience of producing a Doughnut Hack in Cornwall and over the next 6 sessions we will actively be exploring questions and issues, collectively formulating a perspective that we plan to share with folks within county, city, town and district councils. We anticipate that this group will organically broaden into a coalition tackling various processes including exploration and analysis, for which funding will be vital.

Of course, it also makes a lot of sense for Doughnut-making to happen at the Devon-wide scale. We would love to co-host a Devon-wide Doughnut Hack, inspired by our Cornish neighbours.

Here’s the playbook for the Cornwall Collective Doughnut Hack from Cafe Disruptif: http://www.cafedisruptif.com/eco-nomics-disrupted–the-doughnut-hack.html and Cornwall Council’s Decision Wheel: https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/environment-and-planning/climate-emergency/our-action-plan/what-is-cornwall-council-doing/decision-making-wheel/

Are you thinking along similar lines? We look forward to co-creating a Devon Doughnut with you!