How do the orchards affect Herefordshire people?
Local people helped us to assess the social value of orchards. We invited people living near to each of the orchards to explain and rate the impact of the orchard upon their lives, and a total of 138 people have come along to our community evenings. The evenings followed a simple process devised with Forum for the Future which asked people to work in groups to identify all the positive and negative social impacts of the orchard. A consensus was reached to determine the three most important social impacts through a voting process. These three impacts were then ranked against the economic and environmental impacts for the orchard to gain a sense of their relative value. Each orchard had its own distinct role for its neighbours, but the conclusion is that they have overwhelmingly positive impacts on Herefordshire life - as an amenity, as a view, as a place to experience and conserve nature, and where people can see a vibrant local economy. People have welcomed having their views sought on their neighbourhood and seemed to enjoy the evening's process. It was also an eye-opener for the farmers who found out how much local people appreciated their orchards - and noted some of the things that people didn't like.
We also asked Rebecca Roseff to conduct in-depth taped interviews with people who had interesting tales about their local orchard. The results of her work are twelve excellent recordings which are now stored for posterity on the oral history database at Hereford Cider Museum.