Our vision is to bring thriving orchards into the heart of every urban community. We focus on working with marginalised communities in areas of urban deprivation where we can make the most difference to people’s lives.
The Orchard Project is committed to creating resilient, biodiverse orchards teaming with wildlife as much as we are to creating a diverse organisation. We need everyone’s voices, strengths and solutions to help create an equitable, resilient and sustainable society.
Within our work we use the term Black people and People of Colour (BPOC) to refer to people who are ethnically and culturally diverse, and experience racism in our society. We recognise that this term is complex and generalising, through which individual identities are minimised and homogenised.
In an ideal world, we would not have a need for any terminology that attempts to group individuals with hugely varying experiences under one umbrella; any terminology is ultimately flawed.
Our EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) programme includes:
⚉ Delivering funded training programmes to help people get jobs in the environment sector. E.g. our CICO (Certificate in Community Orcharding) course offers bursaries to Black people and People of Colour. We have had a huge success rate with these courses, with a third of participants progressing into work or further training.
⚉ Feasibility and project development work with new partners who are led by people of colour, minority ethnic backgrounds or ethnically diverse people, to develop orchard programmes that better reflect need in these communities.
⚉ Introducing blind recruitment to overcome our unconscious biases. We track diversity data through each recruitment round to identify where we can improve our processes and actively look for solutions to help our workforce become more diverse.
⚉ Removing economic structural barriers for people accessing our work, especially around volunteering and affordability. We have sought to address this in part through the creation of paid for intern roles when we can source funding.
⚉ Improving the language and where we advertise for staff and trustees to make our recruitment process more accessible. Our recruitment criteria is based on experience, rather than academic qualifications, and we recruit using sites specialising in helping organisations become more diverse.
⚉ We have proactively sought to increase the diversity of our board and 2023 we have 6 new trustees who will be joining the board. The new trustees offer hugely fresh perspectives in terms of lived experience. We hope that our more diverse board will continue to amplify EDI work within the charity.