Government backing for community orchards
25 October 2011
Gardeners setting out to create a new community orchard should find the process far easier following the issue of a new government booklet giving tips on how to cut red tape, find funding and identify suitable sites.
The guide answers questions about planning permission and grants, and also outlines how people can use new powers to take control of land in their area under the new Localism Bill, currently making its way through parliament.
It also recommends uses for orchards, including wildlife habitats, honey production and educational resources for local schools, as well as training volunteers in horticultural and other skills.
'Community orchards are a brilliant way for communities to get together and grow their own,' said Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles. 'This guide is about giving a major boost to what is already a quiet revolution in promoting and preserving the nation's orchards.'
It's thought there are more than 300 community orchards already up and running around the country. They include a community orchard in Hackney, London, created on what was once a no-go area in a local park, and an organic community orchard in Bristol set up on an overgrown allotment to preserve traditional local apple varieties.
The guide is part of a series of booklets giving communities advice on greening their local environment, whether they're getting together to maintain the local playground or setting up allotments or nature reserves.