I was recently contacted by a nursery in Norfolk (http://www.chrisbowers.co.uk/) offering me some fruit trees in exchange for a link on my food blog (www.self-sufficientinsuburbia.blogspot.com). I persuaded the company to donate the trees instead to a community orchard project we have on Kingsway in Sunniside, my home village. For the past week or so, the trees have been sitting in my garage but tomorrow we plant them on the orchard.
I emailed 1200 people on my list to ask for help to plant them. I have no idea how many will turn up but I do know that the local police and police cadets are coming along to give a hand.
The site itself is huge and it could take years to get it fully planted. We are totally reliant on donations if we are ever to complete the project but up to now we have 40 fruit trees on the orchard. I am also hoping that we can plant some traditional hedgerows there as well, though that is a job for the future.
The site belongs to Gateshead Council but was never used by them. Before the years of austerity, the grass was cut there in the summer once every 3 weeks though what purpose that served I'm not sure as no one used the area, not even kids to play football. Turning it into an orchard - and using donations and voluntary effort to do so - means in coming years we will have a great local asset at no cost to the local taxpayer.