We work closely with communities and support them to make orchards as sustainable as possible. This means equipping orchard volunteers with the necessary skills to create the best conditions for tree growth and longevity.
Caring for an orchard is a continuous learning process, guided very much by each season’s requirements. For first time orchardists, the tasks of pruning, thinning and staking can seem a bit bewildering, but The Orchard Project’s expert team gives people the confidence to care for their trees and enjoy it.
What training do we offer?
- Workshops for all:
Our general workshops are open to everyone and often free! You can learn specific skills, such as pruning, grafting, pests and disease awareness and even cider-making. Training workshops and volunteer sessions are usually one day, with some weekend-long courses for more in-depth learning. See our Events page for listings (but, remember, – these are seasonal, so keep checking this page throughout the year!).
- Certificate in Community Orcharding:
We deliver the UK’s only accredited course in managing community orchards: the Certificate in Community Orcharding (CICO). This hugely popular course is taught partly online and partly in-person (currently only in London). It’s a rigorous, Level-3 course, which produces competent and confident community orchardists. CICO is gradually creating a community of passionate, qualified orchardists to join us in our national revival of the orchard tradition! Many graduates have gained employment in horticultural roles. See the CICO page for more information.
- Orchard Leader Training:
We provide training to five ‘Orchard Leaders’ per orchard. These are volunteers, who take on responsibility for the care and harvest of the trees and orchard space. They have all attended our dedicated training day on technical orchard maintenance skills and on how to lead and engage others in a community orchard project. We keep in touch with our orchard leaders regularly to make sure the trees are healthy, and provide a follow-up visit six months after planting.
- Orchard Mentor Training:
To spread our knowledge and expertise even further we have a team of Orchard Mentors in London, Leeds and Edinburgh. These are community volunteers who are willing to share their knowledge and experience of orchard maintenance with community orchard groups. Further information here.
- Forest Gardening Level 2 accredited course:
Forest gardening is a food production and land management system based on replicating woodland ecosystems. Trees and plants are replaced by fruit and nut trees, bushes, shrubs, herbs and vegetables. Integrating Forest Gardens (also known as ‘Food Forests’) into our model, helps community orchards become more climate-resilient. We will be launching this course in spring 2021, in partnership with The Agroforestry Research Trust. Information coming soon.
Our courses receive fantastic feedback. Here are just some of the comments from previous participants:
Thanks for a great pruning class! I was impressed with your knowledge of the subject and the way you organised the class. It was much more hands on than previous pruning classes I’ve taken, and the hands on part is essential for learning.”
“It was the most instructive and useful day, as well as being a lot of fun. Really well run and informative.”
“Jo’s knowledge always astounds me every week. Her teaching style weaves in different ways of teaching: facilitation is amazing.”