For the last 3 years we have been working intensively in the Leeds area and helped 12 communities plant new community orchards. Practically every month we’ve also discovered a community orchards we hadn’t heard over and so there are now 70 orchards in the Leeds district. Our project manager Alan Thornton has visited all of them and worked hard to get the appropriate training the groups involved. Almost everyone in the Leeds area is within half an hours walk of an orchard, apart from a few gaps. We can say that Leeds is England’s* first Orchard City.
We have been talking to Incredible Edible Wakefield where there aren’t so many community orchards yet. Going forward the emphasis of our orchard creation work will be in the Wakefield district, rather than Leeds. That’s not to say that we won’t provide encouragement and advice to communities in Leeds!
To support existing and potential orchard groups in the Wakefield and Leeds areas we are having big gathering on Sat 30 June at an excellent venue in central Wakefield. Up to £400 is available to community groups to maintain/improve their community orchard or to help with an event. And we’re also trying out a (friendly) “Dragon’s Den” challenge for Wakefield community groups to pitch for an orchard starter pack. There’s also lots of excellent workshops. It’s free and includes lunch.
This might be the last time local groups see our local project manager Alan for a while as he’s off to Italy with his family for a year. He started our work pretty much from scratch in Leeds and has met thousands of people over the last 3 years. He’s made a big impact and will be missed. Watch this space for the job advert for the West Yorkshire Project Manager vacancy.
* Dundee, in Scotland, already use the “Orchard City” title!