We decided to plant an orchard to enrich the park, and allow local communities to enjoy it for even more reasons. To do this, we embarked on a partnership with Newham Council, and started planning last year.
From the start, we were keen to engage with the local community to make sure we delivered something that worked for them. Residents were asked to vote for their favourite fruits and nuts, which made up the planting list for the orchard. They opted for apple, pear, plum, mulberry, gage, crab apple, hazel, medlar and quince. The turnout was really good: 139 local people joined us to plant the 20 fruit and nut trees including two local primary schools and one nursery.
Trees For Cities has a lot of experience in organising urban tree planting projects and we are interested in hearing from other community groups or local councils who may need support in getting their project off the ground.
What have you learnt that others will find most useful?
- Involving kids from local schools is a good opportunity to get them and their parents on board. Works for kids from nursery school age and up!
- A well-organised tree planting event helps create a stronger sense of togetherness within the community which can lead to greater ownership and pride in the community orchard by local residents.
- Council funding (part or full) is important so they have a stake in the project.
- The strong community element can appeal to local businesses who may also be willing to part fund the project. It is worthwhile to approach them if you need more funding and can promote the project.