If you are considering starting your own community orchard there are a number of hurdles to overcome, but armed with the right information and a bit of chutzpah they won’t be insurmountable. The links below contain a wealth of useful information. There are also some excellent books listed in our bibliography.
Once the plot is procured and agreements agreed you will have to get planting. If an orchard is already present, you should fill up any gaps with new trees. Select a range of rootstocks – some on MM106 for apple or other similar vigour stocks to help get the orchard cropping quickly, but be sure to include some trees on a full sized rootstock like M25 for apples, Brompton for plum and Kirchensaler for pears. This builds in longevity which is good for wildlife but they are slower to crop.
A top-tips list
Clear and concise guidelines published by Defra to help you find land and set up a community orchard.
The Community Land Advisory Service has produced a new, free set of documents to help community orchards find land and to reach good agreements about using it.
The Urban Orchard Project shares plenty of information on their useful website, from where to find a local orchard, to ‘how to’ videos for practical demonstrations of key orchard skills.
Helping Britain Blossom is supporting local people to create and restore 100 community orchards by 2017. The project works directly with community groups so will help up to 4,000 people learn new skills and deliver transformational benefits to their local communities.
A website for the Kent Orchards for Everyone project that has lots of useful information about community orchard management.