Last Thursday we celebrated our fifth birthday party at City Hall. The evening was filled with talks, stories, singing and folklore. Founders, trustees, staff, orchard leaders, funders, partners, volunteers and orchard enthusiasts gathered to raise a glass of cider to London’s community orchards.
The celebrations marked not only how far the project has come in its first five years but also our exciting news! At the grand old age of five, we really are, all grown up.
Over the next few years we will be branching out of London to develop community orchards in cities across Britain. On the night we officially unveiled our new name to match our expanding ambitions, The Orchard Project.
In our first five years, well over 10,000 Londoners have been involved in the project and around 2,000 people have received direct training and support in fruit growing. This winter we will plant our 100th community orchard in London as well as a one at the Olympic Park. “Communities in boroughs around London have embraced the opportunities for social growth that tending an orchard can provide. Now, city dwellers around Britain can share the joy of growing fruit together too.” Kath Rosen, CEO. The trees we have planted so far, when mature, will produce more than 100 tonnes of fresh fruit, including apples, pears, plums, cherries, apricots, quince, and even medlars, every year. The fruits are chemical-free, with zero food miles and completely free-to-pick. Currently, a staggering 95 per cent of the fruit eaten in the UK comes from abroad. By training communities in the skills needed to look after fruit trees, people all over the country can have access to long-term, secure, healthy foods and help address challenges, to biodiversity, environmental quality and of climate change.
We are delighted that our expansion means we can now help more people, in more cities, rediscover the pleasure of eating home-grown fruit! The Orchard Project team.
Read a lovely blog about the event from Obsessed by Nature