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Help us fill Sheffield with fruit trees, urges local social enterprise

The Sheffield Fruit Trees crowdfunder, live until 12 December, will triple the growing capacity of the community-run nursery, for the benefit of gardens and public spaces across the city.

Pear treee at Ponderosa

A pear tree at the Ponderosa in Upperthorpe.

The Meersbrook-based social enterprise Sheffield Fruit Trees (SFT) are committed to widening access to fruit in public and communal spaces across the city, alongside sharing and growing skills involved in caring for fruit trees.

The community-run nursery propagates new fruit trees by taking cuttings from trees and working with the community to plant them in gardens and public spaces across Sheffield, with a specialism in local varieties.

The project is currently based on a small site where SFT are limited to growing 300 trees a year. Through a crowdfunder that is live until 12 December, as well as funding already secured from the Forestry Commission, the team want to scale up by establishing a larger nursery which will enable them to grow up to 1,000 trees annually.

Money raised through the initiative will be invested in a borehole and irrigation system to support more trees and an orchard shed to enable SFT to run training sessions, store tools and to provide shelter on rainy days.

Founding member Daniele Rinaudo said the group started "with a few hundred quid and a lot of enthusiasm for growing fruit trees," and has since invested around 7,000 hours of voluntary time in building the social enterprise.

"After four years of operating on a small budget and investing lots of our own time, this marks a new chapter as we scale up our project and work towards our aim of bringing fruit trees to people and neighbourhoods across Sheffield.

"There are so many reasons we believe this work is important: the need for food security in a changing climate; increasing biodiversity and reducing habitat loss; and creating spaces where communities can come together and experience the joy of harvesting their own fruit.

"We’re really grateful for your support in helping us to continue this work and build on what we’ve already done."

Get involved

Anyone interested in supporting Sheffield Fruit Trees can find out more and make a pledge until 12 December.

Perks include workshops, potted trees, merchandise – and the chance to name your own fruit variety.

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