New Community Orchard Leaders Trained
by John Matthews
Last winter, in conjunction with Action in Rural Sussex and other partners, we planted twenty one orchards with schools and community groups in Sussex including the smallest orchard to date at London Road station in Brighton.
We were keen to provide training for the new guardians of these orchards and last week, more than forty community orchard leaders attended one of our day long courses at Stanmer Park.
Many of those attending were teachers who have taken on responsibility for looking after their school orchards but the groups also included others who have taken on responsibility for or been involved in the planting of community orchards.
The programme included advice on looking after young fruit trees along with a tour of three orchards at Stanmer Park, as well as ideas and demonstrations on how to use the fruit in cookery and for juicing. Luckily, the sun shone for most of the three days.
The other important part of the day was advice and sharing of information on how to celebrate the orchard throughout the year and in particular its harvest with local Apple Days often being the main event. Several of those attending told of their ideas for celebrating the orchards and getting the local community involved.
Those attending left with more confidence as to how to care for their trees and we shall be visiting each orchard sometime in the next year to see how the trees are getting on. We hope that many of those taking part last week will attend our Apple Day on September 30 this year and look forward to seeing them there.