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Resilient Green Spaces – Productive Community Orchards

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Social Farms & Gardens have recently launched Resilient Green Spaces (RGS). RGS is a £1.27m partnership project being led by Social Farms & Gardens to pilot alternative re-localised food systems using communities and their green spaces as a driving force for change across Wales until June 2023.  

The project has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government. 

Resilient Green Spaces is made up of six collaborative strands of work delivered by partners. Resilient Green Spaces is testing what communities can achieve, given the right support, access to land and freedom to do what they do best.

The Productive Community Orchards strand of Resilient Green Spaces aims to bring about a step change in community managed fruit production, storage, processing and fruit-based products for Wales.  

It builds on the success of our Orchards for Wales Project, which was supported directly by Welsh Government to plant over 4000 fruit trees and bushes on 53 new Community Orchard sites across Wales.   

In Productive Community Orchards, Social Farms & Gardens will support 10 new Community Orchard sites to plant around a hundred new edible fruit and nut trees each. These sites will also receive training and support through peer networking opportunities to help build skills to manage and move into future processing.

In addition, we will also work with established community Orchard sites looking to move into processing to pilot, monitor and evaluate the economic benefits that community orchards could provide in addition to the well-recognised social and environmental benefits. 

We are now seeking expressions of interest from suitable sites and organisations that we can support through provision of edible fruit and nut trees for orchard creation and fruit storage, processing & production equipment. 

We are looking to establish new community orchards where access to quality Green Infrastructure is limited. We will select sites to have a good geographical spread across Wales with a priority to support urban and peri urban (on the edge of settlements) areas.  You can apply for support with trees or for processing and storage equipment, or both.

Productive Community Orchards 

What you’ll need to apply to us as a prospective site / organisation:

  1. You must be based in Wales
  2. Be an active, community focused organisation, with support and buy-in from members and volunteers
  3. Have access/permission in place for land suitable for tree planting, ideally having a minimum of 10 years access to the land*
  4. Hold adequate insurance cover
  5. Support to plant the trees 
  6. Have water and electricity available on site**
  7. Commit to joining an active Community Orchard Network
  8. Be willing to attend training workshops, events and networking
  9. Show us that your site will benefit the wider area (provide greener spaces, more trees)
  10. Ideally have a few staff or volunteers that hold a level two food hygiene certificate
  11. Have access to buildings that can be used for storage, processing and production (if applying for processing / storage equipment)

*SF&G host the Community Land Advisory Service in Wales and can help with land access agreements, please get in touch if you require assistance lucie@farmgarden.org.uk and visit www.farmgarden.org.uk/clas for more information.

** If you don’t have access to water and / or electricity right now and want to apply for processing and storage equipment, we might be able to help with advice which may enable you to apply again later in the year. Please contact wales@farmgarden.org.uk for more information.

What we can provide:

  1. Trees! (Apples, Plums, Pears, Nuts) And associated items such as mulch mats, labels, stakes, ties, guards etc. 
  2. Training and support on: Orchard management and maintenance, production, sales and distribution
  3. Storage equipment
  4. Processing equipment such as dehydrators, presses, jam making equipment and pasteuriser
  5. Start-up packages of consumables (jars, bottles, bags, labels etc.)

Notes:
i.    We are not offering cash grant funding  
ii.    A selection of trees, materials and processing equipment will be offered through internally approved suppliers 
iii.    We may not be able to provide all of the above to all sites

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Other strands within Resilient Green Spaces are: 

  • Building a National Allotment Development Team 
    Searching across Wales for privately or community owned/managed sites that could host allotments

  • Innovative Food Hubs 
    Open Food Network, DTAWales & Land Workers’ Alliance delivering a 2-year support package to establish five new thriving food hubs

  • Greener Corridors and Spaces 
    Working with Gwynedd Council to empower communities to take control of their public green spaces

  • Exploring Community Access to Farms and Land 
    Land Workers’ Alliance & Shared Assets teaming up to find new ways to realise the challenges and opportunities of access to land for new entrants & local communities

  • Building Horticultural Future Farming Skills 
    Lantra are developing a pilot horticultural farming business training package in partnership with Cae Tan CSA and Land Workers’ Alliance

If you would like to have an informal conversation with our Productive Community Orchards team, or for information on any of the other RGS strands of work, please email wales@farmgarden.org.uk

If you’d like to see our Orchard resources, try our Orchard Management Toolkit (click here for English and here for Welsh) and Orchard for Wales report in English or Welsh.

Applications for 2021 have now closed - applications for 2022 will resume in the new year.

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This project is funded through the Welsh Government Rural Communities - Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the Welsh Government and the European Union.

 

Events

Includes our own training events and workshops, and selected events and training run by organisations in the sector we think might be relevant. We aim to share the buzz and keep you informed.