Seven years ago, we founded a little project in London that we called The London Orchard Project. Our ambition was to work with communities across the city, inspiring them to create, harvest from and celebrate community orchards.
We did it because community orchards offer an inspiring and powerful way to bring communities together in a project that lasts for decades. And we did it because community orchards enhance local green spaces, help wildlife thrive, enhance our own skills and knowledge and offer us all a source of fresh, healthy, local food.
Spurred on by our success, in 2014 we spread our wings and launched ‘Helping Britain Blossom’ in Herefordshire, Birmingham, Central Scotland, Leeds and Greater Manchester, working with communities to plant new orchards, develop their skills to nurture them, and bringing old orchards back to life. Reflecting our reach in cities and towns across the UK, we became The Orchard Project.
Today, launching the next stage of our work, we’re becoming The Orchard Project.
It’s a shorter name, which is handy. And given that lots of people called us that anyway, it feels natural. But much more importantly, it means we can focus our work wherever we feel we can bring the best benefits to people, and planet, whether or not those people identify as being in an ‘urban’ area. As the only national charity focused solely on community orchards, we want to work with diverse communities, be they in suburbia, in villages or right bang in the centre of a city. But wherever these orchards are, they will be a place for community celebration, right on people’s doorsteps.
In London, where it all started, we are now launching one of our most ambitious programmes yet. Our ‘Celebration of Orchards’ project will see us work with communities to restore 30 of London’s lost orchards, create an accredited orchard training programme and work with community partners across the city to create a community cider and juicing enterprise. We may just be coming to a pub near you!
So it’s all go at The Orchard Project, as it has been from day one. If you have an idea for how we can work together, please do get in touch.
Thanks for your support. Here’s to many years of bumper harvests.
Carina and Rowena
Co-founders and Trustees, The Orchard Project