Volunteers from the Winterbourne and Frome Valley Environmental Group have been out planting apple trees thanks to a donation of ten trees from Somerset cider maker Thatchers.
Our group has been donated the bundle of apple trees as part of Thatchers Community Orchard Project, which, as part of its 2021 apple tree planting season, is helping community groups, schools and charities plant more trees this spring.
This started in late 2020 when we started taking a closer look at the large amounts of litter we were picking up for recycling in the Frome Valley area. At one point, we sorted the litter collected in one month in to piles by producer. We contacted the companies on email and social media to ask them to support a national deposit return scheme and donate to a tree planting scheme. We didn't have high hopes for this approach; most of the companies that chose to respond, did so with platitude laden tales of greenwashing. Thatchers however were one of two producers that reached out to us with an understanding of the problem and made us an offer of real trees. They soon added us to their community orchard scheme and we set about finding the best place for them to grow in the Frome Valley.
In its ongoing care of the environment and its passion for apple trees – fourth generation cider maker Thatchers introduced its Community Orchard Project this year, offering ready to plant bundles of ten trees to ten community groups.
The ten trees include a selection of apple varieties, including both eating apples and cider apples. They include Paradice Gold, a sweet, crisp eating apple, Newton Wonder, a traditional cooking apple, and Dabinett, one of Thatchers’ favourite cider apples.
Our group has been looking at many potential local tree planting projects, planning to work with [Protect Earth](https://www.protect.earth/) and funding well managed international projects with [Ecologi](https://ecologi.com/). W&FVEG also has close links with the [Frome Valley Growing Project](https://www.facebook.com/FromeValleyGrowingProject/) and they were the obvious choice to take ownership of these cider apple trees in their own community project, right here in Winterbourne!
The Frome Valley Growing Project grow and produce food for their members and the local community from the site they rent just off Swan Lane in Winterbourne. They are growing food as a community in a more sustainable way that depends less on fossil fuel and uses permaculture growing methods. They can be contacted [here](mailto:[email protected]).
We planted all ten trees with stakes and protection in one morning.
Fourth generation cider maker, Martin Thatcher, who planted his first apple tree in Somerset at the age of just five, adds, “Over the last twelve months we’ve all come to appreciate even more the benefits of outdoor space. A community orchard can make such a difference to people’s well-being which is why we’re delighted to be donating these apple trees.”
We are very grateful to Thatchers for recognising our efforts to protect the Frome Valley environment and donating these trees for the benefit of our community.