Open Orchard comes to Brixton

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by Wayne Trevor, IEL Director

The Open Orchard project came to central Brixton at the end of February, joining forces with the local residents of the Canterbury Gardens estate to plant 9 gorgeous fruit trees. The Open Orchard project started in West Norwood in 2014- an initiative supported by Lambeth Council through their visionary Open Works programme. They were successful in planting 67 trees in 9 mini-orchards, all of which had existing community groups who look after the trees.

So excited by the community’s enthusiasm for connection through planting, a group of the volunteers decided to make it official. Co-founder and chair Wayne Trevor picks up the story

“I was amazed at how people from all backgrounds would come together over the simple act of planting a fruit tree- and then return to water it, watch it flower, leaf and fruit. They are so easy to plant, and grow well in urban areas- and you get free food after just a few years! It’s a no-brainer!”

Canterbury Gardens estate was the first of 6 orchards planted this year- by the end of March the project will have planted 72 trees. Volunteers from the estate’s gardening group joined with residents who had never gardened before, with Lambeth estate management staff, maintenance contractors Pinnacle, Impact Hub Brixton and Open Orchard volunteers. Heritage varieties of quince and gage were planted with stalwarts of Bramley’s apple and William’s pear.

Open Orchard is funded by Incredible Edible Lambeth, Participatory City, Hawkes Cider and the awesome people of Lambeth who gifted over £750 through the Gift a Tree scheme.

Get involved

Do you know of a public place e.g. a housing estate or park that could be a home to 5 or more fruit trees? If so we’d love to hear from you. We’re looking for locations for our mini-orchards for planting from November to March 2017- email us: openorchard.westnorwood@gmail.com

Know the location of a fruit tree in Lambeth- either public or in your own garden? Often see the fruit go to waste? Later this year we’re launching a project to map all the fruit trees in the borough, so no fruit need go to waste. Get in touch and let’s start a conversation.

Like us on Facebook: facebook.com/openorchardproject Tweet us: @OpenOrchardProj . Gift a Tree: www.openorchard.weebly.com