An exhibition to celebrate the 30th anniversary
Apple day was launched on 21st October 1990 by Common Ground, a charity based in Dorset, which has been at the forefront of community conservation and environmental education in England for the last thirty years. It was intended as both a celebration and demonstration of the variety we are in danger of losing, not simply in apples, but in the richness and diversity of landscape, ecology and culture too.
It has also played a part in raising awareness in the provenance and traceability of food, alongside the growth of Community Orchards across the UK – something Common Ground actively campaigned for alongside Apple Day and inspired with publications such as Orchards: A Guide to Local Conservation (1989), the Common Ground Book of Orchards (2000) and the Community Orchards Handbook (2008).
The first Apple Day celebrations, in the old Apple Market in London’s Covent Garden, brought fruit to the market after 16 years’ absence. Forty stalls were taken. Fruit growers and nurseries producing and selling a wide variety of apples and trees rubbed shoulders with juice-and cider-makers, as well as writers and illustrators with their apple books.
Over the next few years, the number of events being organised around the country grew from more than 60 in 1991 to 300 by 1997 and over 600 in 1999, some attracting thousands of people. Over the years, Apple Day has been celebrated in a wonderful variety of ways by a diverse range of people. Doctors’ surgeries, coronary support groups, and the Cancer Research Campaign have taken Apple Day as a novel way of encouraging healthy eating. Each year, alongside tasting, juicing, baking, pruning and grafting, an imaginative array of games and creative activities have flourished – ranging from simple apple printing to mummers’ apple plays, new songs and poetry evenings.
In this 30th anniversary exhibition we will be marking the anniversary and celebrating the success of Apple day. The exhibition will include photographs by James Ravilious and many Apple day related items from the Common Ground archive (with thanks to Dorset History Centre for their support) as well as a presence from the Bridport Community Orchard and a wonderful mural by our own resident artist and gallery technician, Bob Dron. Come and celebrate the 30th anniversary of Apple Day with us at Bridport Arts Centre!