Our Pieminister Forest Update
Back in the summer of 2015, we teamed up with our Stokes Croft neighbour Temwa, a community-led charity operating in Malawi. Our plan was to sell enough pies to fund a forest in Malawi, so we made two special summer recipes using the best Somerset cider, kindly donated to us by Orchard Pig.
Temwa have been working in Nkhata Bay North, one of the poorest and most remote districts of Malawi since 2003. Northern Malawi – like much of the country – suffers from deforestation as people cut down trees to meet their everyday needs (firewood for cooking and heating, or charcoal production). Through Temwa’s projects, the planting of new trees in the region is literally helping people grow their way out of poverty and into a more sustainable and independent future.
We sold our two scrumptious cider pies on a ‘Buy One Get One Tree’ basis throughout the summer in order to raise enough money for Temwa to plant 50,000 trees as part of their Community Forest Project. We also took part in Temwa’s intrepid annual cycle ride across the West to boost the fundraising.
The pies sold like hotcakes, and we managed to smash our original target, raising enough money to plant a whopping 57,176 trees, forming our first Pieminister forest. Since the fundraising in 2015, the number of tree nurseries has almost doubled in size and Temwa were able to plant the first 18,000 trees during last year’s growing season. This year looks even more promising as they have already filled over 115,000 pots which will now be cared for by community volunteers until they’re big enough to be planted out into gardens and communal woodlots. The way Temwa works is by supporting community members to take ownership of both established trees and saplings. They train voluntary committees to act as local conservation champions, who then pass on their skills and knowledge to other villagers.
So a huge thank you to everyone who bought a Tipsy Chick or Scrumpea pie that summer and to those who took part in the fundraising in any way. Thanks to your dedicated pie munching and all of Temwa’s hard work, we have been able to develop and encourage self-sufficiency within rural communities in one of the poorest countries in the world.