A Community Orchard has been planted in the grounds of St Christopher’s High School.
The school’s Eco-Group were keen to plant the orchard to demonstrate that it is possible to grow your own fruit, even in Accrington, and the project will also highlight that fruit is seasonal. Although the trees are on school land the resulting fruit will be for the community who will benefit from free, locally-grown fruit without the CO2 contributions of transporting imported fruit.
The idea was initiated by the Eco group and helped by The PROSPECTS Foundation which is eager to help communities respond to climate change, and funding was granted by Lancashire County Council’s new Trees and Woodlands Grant Scheme. The County Council also assigned Steve Edwards (their expert fruit tree advisor) to help with the project.
Steve selected varieties of apple, damson, and plum trees suitable for the harsh East Lancashire weather and the first phase of 12 trees were planted on 12 June at the school’s Eco Fair.
“Trees are good for the environment and lock up carbon, so they help to counteract climate change”, said science teacher Wendy Litherland, “but planting fruit trees is a novel take on the idea and makes people think about the vast distances that shop-bought food has travelled. Our orchard might prompt people to buy more local produce and maybe even grow some food of their own”.
The school community enjoyed getting their hands dirty planting the trees which they dedicated to friends and family members.
The orchard will be expanded over the next few years with the addition of more trees and fruit bushes and it is hoped that St Christopher’s Orchard inspires others to do the same.