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Information about GRowsley

GRowsley is a community fruit harvesting project based in Rowsley, Derbyshire, run by a team of dedicated local volunteers.

GRowsley is an exciting cross-generational fruit-harvesting project, which was initially funded by
an Action Grant from Derbyshire County Council.

The main aims of GRowsley include:

  • Co-ordinating the harvesting of local fruit trees
Re-distributing to food bank projects
  • Selling artisan produce to help generate income
  • Running fruit preservation and harvesting workshops

Whether you’re a green-fingered and passionate grower or a small front garden owner; an orchard or allotment keeper; a professional pickler or a hesitant preserver – everyone is welcome to get involved.

Our local trees and orchards are disappearing

Across England traditional orchards are disappearing from the landscape due to redevelopment, abandonment and neglect. This and the importation of cheap fruit from abroad has caused the loss of many small orchards which could vanish from the British landscape by the end of the century unless action is taken to save them (Natural England & National Trust).

Incredibly, 90% of traditional orchards have been lost since the 1950s, with 45% of the remaining orchards were found to be in declining condition as a habitat (People’s Trust for Endangered Species).

Traditional orchards provide indispensable habitats for wildlife including butterflies, bumblebees, birds, bats and beetles. Traditional orchards are now a Priority Habitat under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (Natural England).

Orchards are also a connection to our rural past. Many of us imagine these quintessential English landscapes are still out there, but the reality is in England they are almost gone. If nothing is done, a focal point for communities across the country and a crucial habitat for wildlife could be wiped out forever.

Derbyshire has its own heritage varieties of apple trees, including the Beeley Pippin, Belledge Pippin and Newton Wonder, which tells us that apples were once a part of rural life locally.

We import most of the apples we eat

We import 70% of our apples (DEFRA 2019) and many of them come from distant lands such as New Zealand, over 12,000 miles away. Many of these fruits are produced using intensive (oil-based) methods and are transported using fossil fuels.

If we can harvest our own neighbourhood orchards, fresh from the tree, we can reduce our community carbon footprint, improve our own community’s well-being and safeguard local ecology.

GRowsley hopes to improve our local area environment by:
●  Saving local orchards by using them
●  Mapping local fruit trees
●  Increasing awareness of local ecology
●  Surveying and monitoring wildlife in local orchards
●  Encouraging the planting of Derbyshire tree varieties in allotments, community orchards and private gardens
●  Creating and sharing local expertise by linking with others

GRowsley – Oral History & Rowsley Recipe Book Project 

Are you interested in learning more about Rowsley’s history and finding out about the stories of people who have lived here? Are you passionate about preserving history and passing on stories and family recipes to the next generation? If so we would love to hear from you to contribute towards this project where we hope to collate oral histories and local recipes for a short publication about the village, its residents and its recipes. 
Please get in touch if you or someone you know would like to find out more?
We are keen to hear from long-term residents or from people who would be happy to share their memories of growing up in Rowsley? Did you go to Rowsley school? Have you lived and worked in
Rowsley all your life and want to share with us how you have seen the village change for better (or for worse!)
We also would love to hear from anyone who has experience of collating oral histories who would like to work with us on this project.
What have we done so far?
The GRowsley volunteers have been working on a number of ideas and activities so far: ● First Apple Pressing Day at Rowsley in October 2021.

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