Some more on the early countercuisine in Totnes…
Another ‘alternative’ food business which had Dartington connections was Sacks. This was established by Tom and Lynda Merrington and started as a market stall in March 1975 selling brown rice and wholemeal flour and other health food products. Tom had been at the Dartington School where his mother had taught during the Second World War. After a year on the market Sacks moved into a shop unit in The Narrows in the spring of 1976. The motivation behind Sacks was a mixture of personal interest in food and an ethical aspiration to provide low cost wholefoods. Therefore Sacks, partly inspired by a shop called City Ditch in Exeter, was opened in order to compete directly with Cranks in the market for health and organic food. It also provided an outlet for members of the South Devon Organic Growers co-operative and other small scale local organic producers.
The other pioneering food-based business in Totnes was Collards. This was opened as a health food café in 1969. Again, the owner, Belle Collard, was partly motivated by her own interest in alternative health and by the fact that she needed an income following her separation from her husband. She felt that wholefood was
Collards sold health foods for about three years before gradually moving into bookselling instead which Belle felt was less labour intensive. Later in the 1970s its pioneering trail was followed by new cafes and restaurants offering wholefoods including La Brioche, the New Era health food restaurant, and later, Willow vegetarian restaurant.