Monday 27th November – and a trip to London for a meeting about Orchards with Sustain: ‘the alliance for better food and farming’ to discuss the national Leader+ funded (an EU-fund) orchards project.
This is a 2 year project – which, after a few hiccups on the match funding, is now well-underway. The meeting was a chance for reps from various orchard and fruit groups to get together and chat, and hear updates from the 4 local orchard projects funded by Leader+.
I’m not going to list those in detail here – but if you’re interested they are Damsons in Cumbria, theatre/community apple pressing in Devon, innovative ways to assess true economic value of orchards in Herefordshire and an Orchards for Everyone project in Kent. You can find an overview at Sustain’s Orchard Project website.
It was a very useful meeting for me, and for others – there are already calls for the next one to be brought forward from 12 months time to 6 months time. Lots of networking, all sorts of orchards represented – apple, pear, cherry, damson, cobnut etc etc. And all with common problems – decline, revival of interest, problems with harvesting, marketing, promotion etc. And that’s just the crop – the community value and biodiversity value are also a Big Thing for our orchards – more on this another time…