This week, we launched our Climate Crisis Response Strategy. Since our inception, we have consistently viewed community orchards as contributing to climate solutions, particularly in urban areas; The Orchard Project’s founding premise was in itself a response to climate change and issues of environmental sustainability. However, as the crisis worsens, – with half of the UK’s local authorities declaring a Climate Emergency, we are striving to apply our expertise more than ever to this end.
Complex problems lie ahead. As climatic uncertainty looks set to threaten to our food security, biodiversity and social cohesion, we will continue to champion community orchards as a means for people to take tangible, positive and practical action.
What role can community orchards play in addressing the Climate Crisis?
- An increased number of better-maintained orchards translates into more accessible fresh (and often organic) fruit and greater local control over food sovereignty, as well as reduced food waste.
- Orchards provide fantastic habitats for wildlife and generally encourage greater biodiversity than parks and gardens (- identified as one of the UK’s ‘Priority Habitats’ by DEFRA and Natural England).
- Planting orchards in urban areas increases tree coverage. The benefits of this are well-known: more shade coverage and cooling effects as summer temperatures increase, carbon sequestering and floodwater uptake… but with fruit or nut produce as a bonus!
- In an age of increasing social isolation, societal divisions and community breakdown, community orchards bring people together around a common respect for nature. Having spaces where we can strengthen our connection to nature are vital if we are to change our attitudes towards the planet and its finite resources
Read and download the full Climate Crisis Response Strategy here to find out how we are responding and supporting our orchard groups.