Community Orchards - the essential guide
COMMON Ground's Community Orchards Handbook is being published in a new edition by Devon-based Green Books.
The handbook was compiled by Sue Clifford and Angela King, founder-directors of the national environmental arts charity Common Ground, which is based at Shaftesbury. The book is part of Common Ground's long-running campaign to preserve the heritage of English apples and orchards.
The new edition reflects the increased interest in community food growing and will be an invaluable help for communities and schools who want to establish an orchard.
Since the 1950s we have lost more than 60 per cent of orchards in England through agricultural change or development, and we currently import 66 per cent of apples sold in shops across the UK. Yet over the centuries, England has had an amazing 3,000 varieties of apples, some exclusive to a very small area.
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The handbook shows groups and individuals how to start their own Community Orchard, from getting support, tackling legal issues and access to organising working parties and selling produce. It gives suggestions on 'apple mapping' and saving local varieties and practical advice on planting, harvesting and safeguarding your orchard. There is a comprehensive resources section and examples of successful community orchard projects across the UK.
Real food campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall says: "The idea of Community Orchards is so good, so obviously right, that I think it's fair to describe it as vital. It will bring back so much benefit to so many, in such an upbeat and positive way."
The Community Orchards Handbook, published by Green Books with Common Ground, ISBN 978 1 900322 92 8, price £14.95