In November, Ida produced a second newsletter for the project, available on the website. It provides updates from the participating Leader+ orchard projects, and information on orchard tree sponsoring and community supported agriculture adopted by two orchards in Herefordshire.
The Good Practice Guide was printed in January. The project's final dissemination event was held on 29 January in Devon at the Land Heritage Trust's Summerhill Farm.
Ida has been continuing her visits to orchard projects. Crop diversity has been identified as an opportunity for traditional orchard managers to increase income, interest and biodiversity in their orchards, so Ida has also continued to include different types of orchard and produce in her investigations.
Ida assisted the international plant biodiversity charity Plantlife with research for its current magazine, which ran a special feature on traditional orchards.
Project officer Ida Fabrizio has begun her planned round of visits to orchard projects across the country to research useful case studies for the Good Practice Guide for Orchard Project Management.
Ida has also continued with research and work on the Good Practice Guide. She circulated a draft structure, receiving very useful comments from members of the Orchards Co-operation Group working party, and has started writing the first chapter.
A summer meeting was convened for 11 July 2007, taking place at the Natural England Offices in Ledbury. The agenda included a detailed discussion of the proposed content of the guide. The meeting concluded with an orchard visit to Tidnor Wood orchards and Orchard Trust, which runs a cider apple tree museum, orchard gene bank, and a commercial orchard.
In March, Ida attended a training day in Worcester for The People's Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) Traditional Orchard Project. They are in the process of producing an inventory of traditional orchards in nine counties in England with the help of volunteer surveyors.
Ida has produced the first Leader+ Orchard Co-operation Newsletter, available on the Sustain and Leader+ websites, containing case studies of orchard projects.
Ida has also drafted the structure of a Good Practice Guide, with themes and ideas circulated for comment to participating Leader+ Local Action Groups and the orchard project working party.
After an initial period of making contacts, attending events and gathering local projects information during the height of the apple season in October, Ida organised a national network meeting held in November. There was general agreement that orchards are multifunctional and their range of functions should be better understood and valued. Ideas were also discussed for a Good Practice Guide to be published at the end of 2007. The network meeting was well attended by enthusiastic organisers of orchard projects around the country. Many in the group requested another network meeting around early summer.
In early December, along with John Miller of Kent County Council, Ida met Heather Robertson of Natural England to discuss the importance of biodiversity in orchards and what references should be made to it in the forthcoming Good Practice Guide. Heather explained that there was a proposal for a National BAP (Biodiversity Action Plan) for orchards, and it is rumoured that the BAP for Traditional Orchards may be decided by April 2007.
Orchards Project: During 2006 and 2007, Sustain worked on a national orchard project with Leader+ (European Union funded programme of rural development) to conserve and bring into sustainable management traditional orchards in 6 Leader+ funded areas: Hereford Rivers; Somerset Levels & Moors; Teinbridge; North West Devon; Mid Kent, and Cumbria Fells & Dales.
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