Filling Sheffield with fruit trees!

by Sheffield Fruit Trees in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, United Kingdom

We did it
On 12th January 2023 we successfully raised £17,145 with 357 supporters in 58 days

Setting up an organic fruit tree nursery and heritage orchard of rare varieties at our new site in the Moss Valley, south of Sheffield.

by Sheffield Fruit Trees in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, United Kingdom


We're a workers' co-op of fruit tree growers looking to our friends, supporters and the wider community to help us establish our new fruit tree nursery and heritage orchard near Sheffield. Funds will go towards:

  • A borehole, pump and irrigation system
  • An orchard training building/nursery office/toolstore
  • A set of tools to maintain the site
  • Fencing and gates to protect our nursery trees
  • Compost, woodchip and other organic soil improvers
  • Volunteer expenses for our orchard-planting workdays



We are Julie, Daniele and Oli, and together we run Sheffield Fruit Trees. 

We're a workers' co-operative fruit tree nursery and our aim is to provide Sheffield and South Yorkshire with fruit trees. 

We run a donation scheme to give trees to community groups and organisations, as well as supplying trees to allotmenters, councils and commercial gardeners.

We want the Sheffield of the future to have fruit trees in every park and on every street corner, and this project is a fundamental part of making that a reality.

We are a social enterprise, meaning we run our business for social and environmental purposes. And as a workers' co-op we operate on a non-profit basis - once we have covered our labour and material costs all surpluses go back into the business to enable us to realise our aims more fully.

In our times of changing climate and biodiversity loss, we believe its not just possible but necessary to create long-term sustainable livelihoods doing this kind of work.



Sheffield Fruit Trees grew out of the Abundance project - an initiative that began in 2007 to harvest and redistribute fruit growing around Sheffield that was otherwise going to waste. 

Groups of volunteers went around the city scoping out forgotten trees growing on riverbanks and by railway lines, gradually building up a map of the fruit trees growing here. Inspired by what they'd discovered, a few members decided to try their hand at grafting new trees using cuttings taken from these 'Sheffield varieties', with the aim of building and increasing the local abundance of fruit.

Skipping forward to 2018, we branched off from Abundance with the aim of creating a standalone social enterprise fruit tree nursery. For the past four years we have been steadily building this project to the point where we now grow 400 new trees every year. We estimate that since then we've sent around 1100 fruit trees out into the world!

However, we've reached the limit of what we can do on the small community allotment plot where we've been based since 2018, so we've taken a leap and moved to a larger site just to the south of Sheffield.



We've taken on 0.5 acres of former hay meadow on the Sheffield Organic Growers site in Moss Valley.

Our plan is to establish a larger tree nursery with the capacity to cultivate up to 1000 new trees per year, and to plant an orchard of rare local fruit varieties alongside to provide us with the cuttings to graft new trees and preserve these unique varieties.

To make the move a successful one we need to add a few key elements to the site. We have already secured match funding from the Forestry Commission for half of the costs and are now looking to our community and beyond for the rest, so this is where you come in!


At the top of our shopping list is a borehole and an irrigation set-up to go alongside it. There is no mains water on the site, so this is the best option for providing the trees with the water they need to grow. As well as the borehole itself you will be funding a solar-powered pump, drip-feed irrigation pipes and three 1000L containers to see us through the drier parts of the year.

Next up is a shed which we will commission local tradespeople to build for us. This will enable us to run classroom sessions as part of our workshops in orchard management and fruit tree propagation. The shed will also serve as tool storage, provide office space and give us some shelter on rainy days.

Part of the funds we raise will pay for bulk deliveries of organic matter to bring some life back to the soil and provide nutrients for our first batch of trees - the site has been farmed for hay for many years, meaning the soil is heavily compacted from machinery use and and depleted of nutrients from decades of relying on chemical fertilisers to generate a crop.

We know that the future of food-growing needs to be based on techniques that build soil and bring in biodiversity, so a key part of our project will be to regenerate this patch of land so that it can not only support a tree nursery but also provide habitat for pollinating insects and other creatures.

Finally some of the funding will go towards providing hot drinks and snacks for the volunteers who will come to help plant the trees, dig the beds and hammer in the fenceposts. We can't do all of this on our own!


Knowing that people believe in the value of the work we do is what keeps us going. We're motivated to take this project to its next phase because of the positive impacts we know it can have. We're really grateful to everyone who can help us realise our vision.

Thank you for all of your support!


Sheffield Fruit Trees badge:


Bramall Lane Champagne tote bag (natural):


Sharrow Pippin a.k.a Giblet print, tote bag (natural colour) and t-shirt (green):

Bramall Lane Champagne illustration for print, tote bag, and t-shirt (white colour):


Sharrow Pippin (a.k.a Giblet) t-shirt (green):


Potted apple/plum tree:



This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£100 or more

17 of 40 claimed

Fund a library tree

Pay for the costs of one of our library trees in Moss Valley, including planting and aftercare. We will include your name on the information panel beside the tree you have sponsored.

£5 or more

Solidarity pledge

£5 solidarity pledge - We are so thankful for all donations towards our crowdfunder! All of these pledges will go directly to fund the project.

£8 or more

9 of 100 claimed


Receive one of our own custom Sheffield Fruit Trees badges!

£15 or more

13 of 40 claimed

Tote bag

An organic natural cotton tote bag with one of Gwilym Lawrence's lino cut illustrations of our classic Sheffield varieties

£35 or more

19 of 50 claimed

Donate a community fruit tree

This option lets you donate a tree through our Community Fruit Tree Fund, which allows you to chip in to help us give local community groups, schools and other initiatives the chance to plant fruit trees on their land - AND support our Moss Valley project at the same time. These trees will be grafted in 2023 and donated by the end of that year.

£50 or more

Soft Fruit Pack

A pack of 5 different potted soft fruits. This will be a selected mix of red-, white-, and blackcurrant, tayberry, gooseberry and loganberry

£125 or more

7 of 20 claimed

Mini orchard pack

Get a mix of 5 complimentary bareroot maiden fruit trees. We will graft these in March 2023 and you will be able to collect them in late autumn.

£150 or more

7 of 10 claimed

Donate a community orchard

Through our Community Fruit Tree Fund you will be covering the cost of providing FIVE trees to community gardens, schools and other groups in Sheffield. You will be directly contributing to bringing more fruit trees to shared spaces! We will graft these trees in spring 2023 and donate them in winter 2023/24.

£250 or more

0 of 10 claimed

Orchard pack

Get a mix of 10 complimentary bareroot maiden fruit trees. We will graft these in March 2023 and you will be able to collect them in late autumn.

£800 or more

0 of 2 claimed

Grafting workshop

Bring up to 8 people and learn about why we graft fruit trees and the various aspects of the whip & tongue technique. You all get to pot and take home a tree you've grafted, armed with detailed advice on how to plant and care for it. We will run the workshop at a location of your choice within 20 miles of Sheffield.

£800 or more

0 of 2 claimed

Pruning workshop

Bring up to 8 people and learn about why and how we prune fruit trees. We'll be looking at the basic theory behind why we prune and then you'll all have plenty of time to give it a go yourselves.

£12 or more

38 of 38 claimed

Limited edition print

A limited edition print of one of Gwilym Lawrence's beautiful lino cut illustrations of our classic Sheffield varieties.

£15 or more

16 of 16 claimed

Heartwood Charm

Featuring a design by reknowned artist Jackie Morris, and text by the author Robert MacFarlane, these charms were donated to our crowdfunder by members of the Sheffield Tree Action Group.

£20 or more

60 of 60 claimed


An organic cotton t-shirt with one of Gwilym Lawrence's lino cut illustrations of our classic Sheffield varieties

£25 or more

10 of 10 claimed

Orchard planting experience

Enjoy a day with the SFT team in Moss Valley, helping us plant our library orchard. We will provide tea and treats on the day!

£25 or more

5 of 5 claimed

The Heart of the Forest Signed Book

Learn about the importance of trees! Author John Miller has kindly donated a number of his recently published book: The Heart of the Forest: Why Woods Matter. Looking at threats to forest life across the globe, John Miller draws on literature, film and art to explore why woods matter to us, building on the ecological case for saving trees to raise the compelling question of their cultural value.

£30 or more

50 of 50 claimed

Potted Sheffield apple/plum tree

A potted fruit tree of one of our Sheffield apple or plum varieties. Choose between dwarfing (ideal for a small garden) or semi-vigorous (better for an open site with more space). We will be grafting these trees in March 2023 and they will be ready for collection from our Sheffield site in late summer.

£300 or more

4 of 4 claimed

Name your own fruit variety

With this pledge you get to name one of our four currently unnamed local fruit varieties! Great as a gift, in honour of someone special or perhaps you have a fun fruit pun in mind?

Got an idea like this?

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