FOOD and drink firms in North Devon are being invited to join a network designed to increase trade and develop business opportunities. It is the idea of North Devon Plus, the public-private partnership company which promotes a whole range of businesses,

FOOD and drink firms in North Devon are being invited to join a network designed to increase trade and develop business opportunities.It is the idea of North Devon Plus, the public-private partnership company which promotes a whole range of businesses, including tourism, across the region.The network is being financed by a £21,000 grant from Devon Renaissance, the regeneration partnership for rural Devon.Co-ordinator Helen Symons, for North Devon Plus, said: "We want to unite businesses in the area to encourage the use of local products for environmental and social reasons and help increase sales."Our second aim is to provide expert help and point the way to other support services that exist for this sector."And finally, we want to link these food and drink businesses into a mutually supportive network to encourage trade between themselves."North Devon has many top quality products and, with tourism research demonstrating that people come to this area purely as a foodie destination, we have everything to play for."North Devon Plus is planning the inaugural North Devon FoodFest in Barnstaple on Sunday, October 12 as part of Devon Celebration of Food 2008.For more details, contact Helen Symons on 07827 884999 or visit www.ndfood-drink.co.uk