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Michael Phillips. Courtesy photo.




Holistic Orchard Workshop
When: Saturday, May 21, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Canterbury Shaker Village, 288 Shaker Road, Canterbury
Tickets: $75 ($60 for Canterbury Shaker Village, NOFA-NH and Concord Food Coop members)
Visit: shakers.org to register




Holistic and healthy
Learn about apples from flower to fruit

05/12/16
By Allie Ginwala aginwala@hippopress.com



 For many, spring is the time to revive the backyard garden and cook with early-season leafy greens from a local farm. But for Michael Phillips, when May rolls around, his mind is already on apples.

“These trees, come May 21, are likely to be in bloom or just in bloom and there are so many things going on in the orchard,” he said in a phone interview.
On Saturday, May 21, the gardener, orchardist and author of The Apple Grower and The Holistic Orchard will lead a daylong workshop, hosted by NOFA-NH and Canterbury Shaker Village, showing folks the process of growing apples from flower to fruit and how a holistic approach to growing can be applied to more than just one favorite fall fruit.
This particular orchard and multifaceted property lends itself well to a holistic-minded workshop. Phillips recalled visiting Canterbury Shaker Village with his wife Nancy, an herbalist, years ago for different events, and the setting and trees “seemed to beckon” to him. The combination of teaching inside historical buildings and then getting to be out among the trees was ideal.
“There are so many things to see, and my talking is useful, but when you see it and understand how this impacts that and the timing … when you understand those things and get the basics right, it all becomes a more doable thing,” he said. 
“We have a lot of acres and gardens … and an apple orchard planted by the last Shakers [in] 1917,” Becky Soules, daily visitor and youth programs manager at the village, said in a phone interview. “We have all those resources here, and NOFA-NH has a great membership of people interested in organic apple care, so they have been a wonderful resource.”
The workshop begins indoors, starting with a slide presentation to introduce people to key concepts of holistic orchard care.
“[It’s] really fascinating when you can zero in on what the fungi are doing and tell some stories and make it lively for people,” Phillips said.
Next is a break for lunch (which is not included, so people can bring their own or visit the Shaker Box Lunch & Farm Stand) before the group heads out to the trees.
“I’ll also create little mini learning scenarios where we’ll run through potential insect issues and point out how diversity, having lots of different plants in the ecosystem, creates different beneficial insects which in turn take care of the majority of the insect challenges,” he said. 
A main focus of Phillip’s workshop is on holistic practices, which is building a solid base to maintain health instead of simply dealing with issues when they arise. 
“When we go about health, whether it’s ourselves or our trees or whatever plants we grow in our gardens, we want to set up an ecosystem that works the way nature works,” he said. “With the basis in health, it’s our systems that keep us healthy, and rather than focus on the problems and challenges and illness … a lot of that is taken care of by the fact that we’ve created a healthy system.”
While it may be held in an apple orchard, the workshop aims to give people the knowledge and confidence to grow different foods on an individual scale, taking the backyard garden to the next level. You could have a field of trees or just one next to your house — they all need the same time and attention.
“For many people the idea of growing food is daunting, because it is complex. The journey from flower to plucking fruit is substantial,” Phillips said. “I find it fascinating, and it’s fun to share with people and get them to light up with that fire of ‘yeah, I can do this.’”
He stressed that every planting site is different (“My challenge won’t be your challenge,” he said), but that overall holistic concepts and frameworks will give folks practical details, like what mulch to look for, how to deal with pests and when to thin the crop.
Soules said the daylong outing will be beneficial to people of all gardening abilities.
“Some come who are greatly invested in their orchards and care but [it’s] also designed for the novice enthusiast,” she said.





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