Inclusivity

Funding level: Up to £1,000

Description

Our community has become disengaged from itself and from its food. The Farsley Community Orchard (part of the Farsley Community Initiative, a voluntary community organisation) was established in March 2016. It aims to bring to a village on the outskirts of Leeds an open green space to be enjoyed by all. Whether that be to come and get some locally grown fruit, relax and enjoy the views with friends or learn about nature and the environment.

The Orchard is being cared for by a team of community volunteers. At the moment, there are 30 two-year old fruit trees (apples, pears, plums, cherries and mulberry) and we have also planted flower bulbs and edible hedgerow on site. We also aim to grow more trees in the near future, and to create a setting to enable the natural environment around the Orchard to flourish.

The Community Orchard and the volunteers that look after it are at the start of a journey to bring all these things to ‘fruit’ion. The Orchard volunteers have held a number of events since inception which have been attended by the local community including two planting days, an apple day, weekly watering and learning about how to care for the Orchard. In addition to planting and Orchard-tending events, we have also run pruning/grafting/juicing sessions open to all.

The planting days have started to transform an uninspiring piece of land into an area with real potential to provide the community a great space to meet, pick fruit, relax and learn. There is plenty of room to yet further improve this community orchard. In the long-term, the Orchard is an opportunity to engage with the local community to strengthen community activities and involvement in local decision making; improve our local parks and open spaces; promote healthy lifestyles; and help us all to rediscover the pleasure of eating home-grown fruit.

One of our key aims is to make the Orchard accessible to all. When we were organising the planting of the Orchard we had a lot of interest, some of which was from wheelchair users but unfortunately the site isn't wheelchair friendly so they were unable to join us. This doesn't feel right for us as a group and we want to make the site as accessible as possible. There is an existing path but this needs upgrading to give greater accessibility to the orchard. We want as many people as possible in our community to experience the orchard and get involved in everything we have planned.

Now that the Orchard is starting to establish itself, we want to hold more inclusive community events at the Orchard such as fun days for families, planting more soft fruit trees, developing a wild flower meadow, along with making more benches and picnic tables. To do this, we need people to know where we are so improved directional and entrance signage will let people find the Orchard. Alongside all this we need to continue caring for the Orchard in terms of ensuring they get enough fertilizer, mulch and bark to promote their growth and keep them well-protected. We are also reliant on volunteers sourcing/bringing their own gardening implements for all this work. If successful, the funding will contribute to these activities and will help us improve the signage to the Orchard, buy some dedicated Orchard equipment such as a petrol strimmer to keep the pathway to the Orchard and the surrounding area clear and welcoming, and some gardening tools (forks, a wheelbarrow, shears and secateurs).

As with any volunteer-led projects, we are very dependent on seeking funding for our Orchard, be it for holding events to bring together our local community to meet and work together. The Orchard has amazing potential but is in need of some key infrastructure to truly have the impact we as a group want to have on the local area and people. Our events have attracted villagers, old and young, to an area that is hardly used to take part in outdoor activities, and we want to continue to encourage more people to get out and about.

Farsley Community Initiative - Farsley Community Orchard (constituted body not registered as a charity)

Location: Farsley

We are very proud to be able to boast of having a village fruit orchard, which was a result of a small community coming together to make it happen. And we continue to come together, rain or shine, to keep it going so that our community can enjoy the fruits of our labour for years to come.
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