Community orchard open day planned for January

Preparations are underway for a community open day Saturday 18 January at the Phillip Island Community Orchard, Wimbledon Heights.

Preparations are underway for a community open day Saturday 18 January at the Phillip Island Community Orchard.
Murray Jackson Managing Director of Westernport Water explains ‘our team are currently finalising the agreements with the Phillip Island Community Orchard (PICO) committee, and will have everything ready to go for the New Year’.
‘We have planned a fun filled morning on Saturday 18 January where the community will be able to come along and check out the site, speak to the PICO committee and register to become a PICO member.
‘Partnering the community and supporting the development of an orchard and garden aims to connect individuals and organisations and enhance the liveability of this beautiful place we live in,’ said Murray.
At a recent planning workshop Matt Calissi Chair of the Phillip Island Community Orchard (PICO) committee said ‘the site provided by Westernport Water has enormous potential, community orchard members will have access to a wonderful outdoor space that will be filled with edible home grown food’.
‘It’s all about sustainability, we’re aiming to reuse and repurpose as many things as we can, we have class A recycled water and mulch from green waste, which would otherwise have gone to waste,’ said Matt.
‘The Phillip Island Community Orchard plans to be a shared orchard and garden where people collectively share produce, and the workload of course,’ said Matt.
Recently the PICO committee in collaboration with Westernport Water planted some fruit trees for test subjects, installing tree guards for rabbit and wind protection. Some of the varieties included pear, feijoa, mulberry, macadamia, avocado, guava, loquats and apples.
“The Phillip Island Community Orchard committee would like to thank local councillors Cr. Phil Wright, Cr. Kimberley Brown and Cr. Andrew Phillips for the funding support which enabled us to purchase the first batch of fruit trees, said Matt.
‘We have done a lot of planning, some of the recent work on the site included establishing soil improving test sites, marking out areas in accordance with the feasibility study and Westernport Water have connected the water services.
‘The community response and support from local traders has been terrific, thanks to local farmer Bob Davies, Phillip Island Nature Parks, Transition Phillip Island, PICAL and Terra Firma for their people power and use of machinery,’ said Matt.
Those people who would like to get involved and become a member of the community orchard can send us a message on facebook www.facebook.com/islandorchard  or email us at islandcommunityorchard@gmail.com
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