The Friendship Orchard: Update

The Friendship Orchard: Update

“Imagine walking down any street in Belper and picking an apple, cherries, or hazelnuts grown to be shared.”

Belper’s Friendship Orchard project was initiated in summer 2020 by a group of friends. The aim of the project is to plant a network of trees in Belper that will provide food for all to share, connect people, improve personal health, increase biodiversity, reduce fossil fuel consumption, and save money. Anyone in the Belper area with a publicly accessible piece of land can become a food tree steward and passers by are encouraged to pick a few fruit to eat.

In the first winter, the Friendship Orchard has helped 16 people (Food Tree Stewards) to select and plant 50 fruit trees and 20m of edible hedgerow to be planted in the local area. Locations include private gardens, Belper Memorial Gardens, Belper Community Hall and planters outside 2 shops. In addition 8 trees were funded by Belper Town Council for people to plant in their gardens, with a priority to people on lower incomes.

‘I really like giving back to the community and giving for all. Really good initiative!’- Chilly

‘Connecting better to growing of fruit and also community connection; allowing people to take. You two giving us the confidence that I can do it – a really good boost!’- Ian

The group of experienced gardeners and permaculture designers helped to select and plant fruit trees and edible hedgerow, offered at discounted prices. Each tree planted is accompanied by a handmade sign and a certificate for the Steward, and the trees and hedgerow are plotted on an online map showing the location of trees in the Friendship Orchard.

The idea came out of Belper Permaculture Network, where one of the group proposed that publicly accessible fruit trees and new hedgerow be planted this winter. Volunteers came forward to help plan how to make that happen, creating a self-financing project fit for the uncertainties of 2020. Through regular online zoom meetings and emailing, the team brought together a plan, ordered trees in bulk, and created lively new artwork and signage.

We hope that this coming winter The Friendship Orchard will continue to grow and be even more fruitful!

Permaculture is a design approach based on understandings of how nature works. At its heart permaculture has three ethics:

  1. Earth Care
  2. People Care
  3. Fair Shares

It is a unique toolkit that is used to design regenerative systems at all scales, helping people tread lightly on the planet. Culture change not climate change!

More information can be found via orchard@belperpermaculture.co.uk or the website: https://www.belperpermaculture.co.uk/friendship-orchard

By Jennie Lindop

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