Neil Macdonald - Orcharding Systems for the next decade
I am a third generation Somerset farmer with a background in traditional mixed farming. Somerset is synonomous with cider-making and about nine years ago I started to focus on orchards and cider fruit. With a business partner I co-founded Orchard Pig, the cider and juice maker.
My Nuffield Farming Scholarship is to study Orcharding Systems for the Next Decade and it is sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Fruiterers. I am involved with several industry bodies including The Bath & West Society, the NACM and SWECA and my own company manages over 800 acres of traditional Somerset orchards. This allows me a privileged overview of the orchard business in this area. We offer workshops in Cidermaking and in Pruning and Planting as well as orchard tours throughout the year. We work withlocal schools to encourage an understanding of how orchards are hugely important to wildlife and support a host of beneficial creatures.
I live at Hornblotton, Somerset, with my family. My wife is also involved in the food business as a founder of The Bay Tree Food Company and we have three young boys. I am one of the Parent Support Advisers for their primary school and I work as a volunteer Leader with the local Scout group.
I am looking forward to researching my subject in Australia and New Zealand, as well as Europe and the USA.