If you attended the Growers’ Question Time last week you will have met Tom Martin who is the Wylam Community Orchard Warden. But what do you know about the actual community orchard?
It is sited at the lower south facing field of Wylam First School and covers about one and a half acres of field.
Wylam Community Orchard has three primary goals:
- It is a source of local fruit and growing fruit knowledge.
- It encourages bio-diversity and creates wildlife habitats.
- It is a focus for community effort and increased self sufficiency. We will learn new skills, such as grafting or juicing, as the orchard grows.
It gives the children at the school a chance to be involved in:
- Learning and skills in planting and tree care, harvesting and commercialising orchard bi products. That’s the enterprise and community or ‘big society’ agenda
- Helping our children understand that a more sustainable local economy makes for a stronger community and can help cut “food miles”.
- Working with others on the harvest or grass cutting on a sunny summer day is actually very rewarding and picnics there are great.
- Bio Diversity in action through the award winning wildflower meadow. It also helps orchard pollination. That’s the environmental agenda
The Community Orchard is run by its members and volunteers who are active in working on site to care for the trees, fruit bushes, fruit canes and the wild flower meadow that is now included in return for a share of the fruit harvest. There are also social events held for members during the year and volunteers are always required on a regular basis.