Ben has been volunteering with traditional orchard manager Tom Adams for 18 months, and is now embarking on a formal apprenticeship to learn all the necessary skills to graft and prune fruit trees and create and manage a range of orchard styles.
A 2023 QEST Apprenticeship will support Ben during his training as he develops the skills to manage an organic fruit tree nursery and orchard, while learning how to work within an agroforestry system to enhance soil health, crop yields and biodiversity habitats. Tom will also teach Ben more about integrated pest and disease control and organic land management, using green manures and crop rotations to enhance the soil and help with tree care. Nursery and orchard management incorporates a wide range of traditional countryside crafts including coppicing, hedge laying, juice and cider making that are now endangered crafts. Ben’s long-term goal is to set up his own organic fruit tree nursery and orchard, which he can use for educational purposes as well as for propagation material for grafting.