Dear friends and supporters of Velwell Orchard,

Sincere apologies for taking so long to get around to this update! The past year has been so busy… but more of that below. Here’s a little recap of 2020, a rather unusual year… and a little taster of things to come in 2021.

2020 – A massive year of change

In the height of summer

Last year will be remembered by many for the distruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. We have been very fortunate here at Velwell Orchard to have weathered this storm well and we are emerging from it stronger than ever. We have really missed our regular volunteers, the sounds of children screaming! The satisfied groans of tummies full of pizza! The noisy coffee breaks! The long chats over the weeding!

Jacob came to stay with us in March, at the start of the lockdown, and gradually has taken on more and more responsibility. He is now pretty much running the operations while I have been working full time. Kate and I are really grateful to him for this and also for his work as brother and uncle!

Sasha has also been a massive help to us this year, she has now been working with us for two years and her skills have improved to such an extent that she can easily lay hedges and make gates on her own. She’s also a pretty dab hand at scything and her log stacks have gained worldwide acclaim.

We have not been able to run our usual lively and sociable volunteer days but Jacob has had some regular help from some individuals which has been hugely appreciated. Derek has continued to visit weekly where possible, helping with errands, distributing vegetables, and generally ensuring that we maintain our connection to the local community.

We are so grateful for this support and from the financial support we have received. I am always amazed at how generous folks can be, many people donating money despite hardly every receiving any produce. I’m glad to say that the Velwell Orchard bank account has a healthy balance at present that affords us some security going into the coming year.

2021 – How will it unfold?

At present, Sasha and I continue to work full time and Jacob is running the garden. We have decided not to restart our volunteer days until the restrictions have been fully lifted in the summer. In the meantime, we are looking for one or two people who can offer regular voluntary help in the garden on a friday morning. They will need to be able to commit to regular weekly hours, and be willing to abide by current coronavirus restrictions. If you are interested please let me know or get in touch with Jacob directly.

We hope to restart our weekly volunteer days sometime in the summer, in time for the harvest, apple pressing and general merrymaking. This will hopefully coincide with restarting the Buckfastleigh Aikido Club for adults and, later in September, also for children.

A vision for the future…

Moving forward into 2022 and beyond, we hope to be able to spend more time at Velwell Orchard, purchase a new polytunnel, plant more trees, rebuild the field kitchen and many more things. We want to open the place up to the community again, as a source of biodynamic fruit and vegetables, but also as a place to come and learn and enjoy. I’ve been working this land now for well over 20 years and I firmly beleive we are only just at the beginning of unlocking its potential. We’re looking forward to being able to share this place again with you all soon.

Thanks so much to all of you for your support,

Jeremy

Beetroot seedlings