Summit In The Orchard – Funding Apple Day Events in Greater Manchester
It was crunch time on Sunday 23rd July for bunches of enthusiastic orchard folk, as green fingered volunteers from across Greater Manchester took part in a Dragons’ Den-style event to raise cash for the city’s community orchards.
Twenty orchardists from across the region descended on Parrs Wood Rural Studies Centre in Didsbury for a ‘Summit in the Orchard’ to pitch for funds towards their annual Apple Day celebrations, a unique day that takes place every 21st October to champion our nation’s apple growing tradition.
The Didsbury event was the brainchild of Helping Britain Blossom, a partnership between Heineken and The Orchard Project with aims to plant and restore community orchards across Britain. Its Greater Manchester project leader, Dan Hasler came up with the idea as part of an ambitious plan to ensure Mancunians are no more than 30 minutes away from an Apple Day event this autumn.
Comments Dan: “Greater Manchester has a strong community orchard heritage and the Dragons’ Den-style event was designed to make sure this year’s Apple Day celebrations are bigger and better than ever, as well as being more accessible for everyone.
“This weekend’s Summit in the Orchard event was a huge success, with teams of enthusiastic volunteers from a wide variety of orchards pitching to win up to £400 each towards their community orchards to spend as they wish. From buying apple presses and tasting packs to jam making kits or PR and publicity for their Apple Day events. The juicier the idea the better!”
Rachel Evans from The Friends of Moor Nook Park in Sale chose to pitch to the Dragons to secure funds for a cycle-powered apple press and fruit dehydrator to use on Apple Day at their soon to be established community orchard. A team of local mums and other volunteers have been fundraising hard to purchase 17 pear and apple trees to create an orchard that local people, young and old, can be a part of.
Explains Rachel: “Moor Nook Park is somewhat of a neglected space that is crying out for improvement, so a group of us locals have taken it upon ourselves to turn it into somewhere we can be proud of, where people can enjoy being outdoors, learn about nature, socialise together and generally feel part of a community. Creating an orchard within the park is a natural extension of that and we feel it would be a wonderful thing to see fruit growing on our doorstep.
“We’re delighted to say that although they were scary, the Dragons took a bite and offered us some money to help our Apple Day plans come to fruition. We’re really looking forward to our own Apple Day celebrations on 6th October when we can drum up more local support to start planting our orchard.”
But it wasn’t just money on offer at the Summit in the Orchard event. Attendees got to try their hands at pruning, scything, heritage variety apple tasting and even fruit crisp making, in a bid to teach them new skills that they can take back to their own community orchards.
With Apple Day just three months away, anyone interested in getting involved in Greater Manchester’s community orchards can find out more by contacting: Dan@theorchardproject.org.uk or visit www.helpingbritainblossom.org.uk.
For more information about The Friends of Moor Nook Park community orchard, please follow: