First public meeting

Outline of agenda
  • Introduction – Elaine
  • Project so far – Paul
  • Communications – Mark
  • Future initiatives – Dan
  • Group discussion – Elaine & Jacqueline
  • Developing the project – Geoff
  • Future meetings – Geoff

Following a few weeks of initial work we decided to hold a public meeting on the idea of a community orchard for Histon and Impington. We wanted to both assess support for the idea and throw open the question of what people would want from a community orchard and to gather their ideas for the project.

We were delighted with the response on all fronts.

A decision was made at the end of the meeting to proceed with the idea of establishing a community orchard and to make preparations to approach the Parish Council with a proposal for a community orchard within the area of ground behind Manor Park.

It was also decided that we would hold an interim project meeting at 8pm on 5th September at The Stables for anyone who wants to take more active involvement in the project. [Get directions]

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Proposed location

Map showing area of proposed location for Community Orchard. Map Data ©2012 Google

Map showing area (in green hatching) within which community orchard would be located.

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Ideas and questions from the meeting

Around the midpoint of the meeting the floor was opened to all attending. We made note of all questions and ideas that were generated, here are some of the highlights.

Ideas
  • There was much support for growing not just fruit trees, but other fruits such as plums as well as nut trees.
  • Generally, it was accepted that it was a good idea to start with a manageable sized plot with a tree limit of 30-40 trees.
  • Examine the Chivers archive and see what kind of fruits were traditionally grown.
  • The inclusion of bird and bat boxes and possibly bee hives. Moth and bat days/evenings.
  • Having a focus for young children and including benches, picnic tables, etc.
  • There were many technical points raised about tree types, rooting stock, and annual growth rates.
Questions
Who will run and maintain the orchard?
The main response was that being a community orchard it should be run by volunteers from the local community.
Would the orchard be organic?
The original members of the project expressed a preference for organic methods wherever possible.
What would we do with the fruit?
No exact answer was reached on this, but the availability of a community apple press in Cambridge was noted.
Would the project involve the removal of any existing tree cover?
The general response was that this was the last thing we would want to do and we certainly had no plans to interfere with existing woodland.

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Other matters

a small section of the meeting

The need for a water supply was noted and this will be duly investigated. There was a suggestion that we might approach Premier Foods (as the owners of the Chivers brand) for some form of sponsorship.

Also noted was the presence of large numbers of squirrels as well as some deer in the area, prompting the suggestion that we might need to look at deer-proof fencing.

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Directions to The Stables

The Stables is found to the side of St Andrew’s Church, Histon.

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