Choose and source your fruit trees
Once you have agreed with your local authority on a location to plant the fruit trees the next step is to decide on which type of fruit trees you will plant. The Irish Seed Savers Association, who conserve and grow heritage apple and other fruit trees, can give you advice on which types will best suit your location and they also sell bareroot trees from October onwards. You can find their contact information here.
There are some costs involved with planting fruit trees, such as:
1) the bareroot trees 2) stakes 3) tree ties 4) tree guards or wire mesh (which are necessary in all but the most protected of locations)
These costs will vary depending on tree and guard types, but the approximate cost per tree planted is €35-€45. To source funding to cover these costs you can try the following:
- Your Local Authority- they sometimes have small grants for community groups. The
Heritage Officer in your local authority can be a good place to start.
- The Heritage Council - they sometimes have grants for community projects - see details here.
- Crowd-funding - can help to build a community for your project.
- Gift-a-tree scheme. At Christmas (end of Nov) you can offer local people the chance to ‘buy a tree’ which you can then plant (with them if they like) in your Open Orchard. A tree planting experience is a nice gift!
- Local sponsorship - ask local business if they would sponsor some fruit trees- you could thank them on signage in the Orchard.
Insurance, finance and governance
● If you are applying for grants, some may require a formal organisation, bank account and proper insurance. The simplest way of doing this is to set up an unincorporated association, a very simple form of community group. You just need to make a simple constitution (draft constitution is on the resources page) that sets out who you are and what you do. If necessary for the grant you can also set up a bank account and buy an insurance policy. If you can arrange to use the local authority's governance, finance and insurance, this is much simpler to get going with! Alternatively consider if a local existing organisation could be the 'sponsor'; for instance the local Business Improvement District, Groundwork group or local community project.
● Health & safety is really important- but don’t let it sink you. You can use the risk assessment document (in the resources page) and tailor them to your own needs. Make a simple guide for people who come to plant -the key information on 1 page will do, and it can be laminated for reuse. It could contain important info, such as ‘keep space between other people who are working’; ‘don’t leave tools on the floor’; ‘take care with lifting- bend from your knees and watch your back’- the sort of things that are useful to remind ourselves of on a regular basis.