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Dragon Orchard

Dragon Orchard is a small traditional fruit farm that has been tended by the same family for nearly 90 years. The 22 acre orchard is set in the south eastern corner of the rolling Herefordshire countryside, near Ledbury, close to the Malvern Hills.

Norman and Ann Stanier returned to the family fruit farm in 1993 to take over the running of the orchard from Norman's parents. Whilst the growing practices have remained much the same, the markets for the fruit have changed hugely due to the dominance of supermarkets and imported fruit from around the world.

Dragon Orchard has been innovative in championing local food and over the past few years has helped bridge the gap between producers and consumers with its Cropsharers and Sponsor A Tree scheme. 
Annie & Norman Stanier in the orchard

The basis of Community Supported Agriculture is developing a relationship between a farmer(s) and the community that consumes their produce founded on an understanding of mutual support. The farmer or grower benefits by receiving a fair return on their products and a guaranteed market enabling them to invest their time in growing the food rather than looking for customers. Consumers benefit enormously by receiving fresh locally produced food from a known location with an understanding of how it is produced. The local economy is stimulated by consumers supporting local businesses.

The Soil Association have actively promoted CSAs through a Big Lottery funded support project Making Local Food Work. The Soil Association feel that reconnecting consumers with producers may be the single most important strategy for breaking away from industrial agriculture and moving towards more sustainable farming that meets the needs of both consumers and producers. CSA has a valuable role to play in redeveloping these connections. Dragon Orchard Cropsharers, which was set up in 2001, is a grower-led CSA initiative and one of the longest running CSAs in the UK.

Riding on the orchard trailer
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