We deliver the following key activities:
· Engaging community groups and volunteers in running and making use of their own local urban orchard
· Building and strengthening urban communities through orchards, bringing people together across different ages, cultures and backgrounds
· Planting new urban community orchards for future generations
· Restoring and improving existing urban community orchards
· Encouraging orchard wildlife & biodiversity and climate-proofing orchards through practical orchard design and site management measures
· Providing specialist and ongoing skills training to orchard volunteers, and training urban communities in the traditional skills of orcharding. We get people to learn and practice key skills like planting, pruning, grafting, harvesting and apple pressing
· Training and supporting people and groups to turn their urban orchard into a valuable community resource. This approach fosters self-reliance and ensures ongoing orchard management and care is sustained by each group
· Delivering community orchard events and activities that bring people together, build local pride, widen the orchard’s appeal and community use, and cherish cultural traditions such as harvesting, apple bobbing, celebrating apple day, and wassailing
· Developing and delivering adult education training and mentoring programmes to deepen and broaden orchard skills
· Developing and promoting outdoor learning in schools, and using the school orchard as a curriculum teaching resource, to help pupils and also teachers to connect to nature
· Bringing fresh fruit growing into the heart of urban communities, helping people to grow and have ready access to free local fruit
· Producing our own cider and juice with the help of volunteers, using leftover and donated apples to reduce food waste. Proceeds are put back into the community orchards we support.
Our work is largely focused on delivering solutions and impacts on the ground. We are also looking to develop our policy influencing role to defend urban orchards at risk, and support urban food growing and community tree projects.
The Orchard Project has created, restored and supported over 400 community orchards to date, across various UK cities. As a result, approximately 8,000 fruit trees are cared for and harvested by urban community groups. When mature, these trees will produce the equivalent of 2 million locally-grown apples each year. 98% of people find being involved in orchards makes them feel more positive about where they live and 93% of our beneficiaries feel more connected to nature and green spaces through being involved in orchards.