Community orchards across the UK have been given a £30,000 boost from The Queen’s Green Canopy.
The Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) is a unique tree planting initiative created to honour the late Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. As a nationwide initiative created to mark the Platinum Jubilee, the QGC was extended to 31 March 2023, the end of the official tree planting season in the UK, to give people the opportunity to plant trees in memoriam to honour Queen Elizabeth.
This extra funding enables us to complete current projects in London and Manchester already partially funded through our Big Give campaign in 2021. It will also allow us to expand our orchard planting in Wales.
Here’s more details about the community orchards we are establishing and improving over the next few months with this funding. If you’d like to be involved in an orchard near you, check out our events page to see if there’s a public planting day coming up.
Crowcroft Park, Longsight – a mainly pear orchard has been planted in partnership with Longsight Art Space, an art gallery and community hub near the park. Their ongoing Pear Project looks at the migration and history of the pear tree and links this to different cultures and human migration to the UK.
British Muslim Heritage Centre, Whalley Range – this welcoming community space works with numerous vulnerable groups, including homeless people. The Muslim women’s group is keen to work with other members to create and maintain the new orchard.
Carpenters Estate, Stratford – this council estate is currently being redeveloped. Local residents will be planting fruit trees and other edible plants to add to the existing community garden. The aim is for people to be able to learn to grow and cook together to support both their social and economic wellbeing.
Harts Lane, Barking – this estate is in the most deprived borough of London. We are working with a Forest Garden level one graduate and Every One Every Day charity to plant a number of fruit trees, with a long term vision to create an edible forest garden. This will increase local residents’ access to cheap, nutritious food, as well as inspiring conversation, skills exchange and learning around food growing. The group are especially keen to incorporate disapora crops of south Asian and African heritage.
Doddington and Rollo Estates, Battersea – residents on these estates have established a thriving community garden and hold regular volunteer sessions. This winter we will work with them to plant our first orchard within the community garden, along with training the residents in its aftercare. It will be followed by a further orchard planting next winter on a different part of the estate.
Wales – extra support for orchards in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot.
In addition to the five new orchards already being planted in the region over the winter, this extra funding will enable us to plant more trees in more sites in Wales. One of these, Cwmafan Community Orchard, was featured in a recent BBC film. The other orchards that will be expanded include 3 Cornered Field and Kilvey Hill Community Orchard.
What is a community orchard?
A community orchard is a green space with five or more fruit or nut trees. At the heart of a community orchard is the vibrant common space it creates for those living nearby.
Our community groups tell us their orchard is a great place to meet their neighbours, to bring people together, and a much-needed place to enjoy nature within urban settings.
These pockets of greenspace in our cities create new habitats for wildlife, provide all of the benefits of trees offer, such as increasing resilience to climate change, while also providing free fresh fruit for local people to pick and enjoy.
Our community orchard model revolves around supporting and training communities to look after the fruit trees and green spaces themselves.
New orchards take time to fully develop and thrive and due to the support we offer to groups (which includes a focus on tree aftercare) we have a 95% tree survival rate across 500+ orchards.
We believe it’s vital local volunteers and staff keen to maintain the orchard receive training and support so they have the relevant skills and confidence to look after these fruit trees long-term.
More information about The Queen’s Green Canopy is available here.