Community activist and leading proponent of gardening for eating is opening Aberdeen’s first community orchard at Countesswells.
Pamela Warhurst, the founder of voluntary enterprise, Incredible Edible, and renowned for her inspirational TED talks on growing for food, will plant the first fruit trees within the walled orchard at Aberdeen’s newest community. The orchard, which will boast plum, pear and apple trees, will be managed on behalf of the community in a first for the city.
Joining in the fruit tree planting to mark the launch of the orchard will be local councillor, Martin Greig.
The Countesswells orchard will provide a source of locally and organically grown fruit and herbs that will be grown, cared for and picked by the residents themselves.
Pam Warhurst has led a community-based movement with 80 groups across the UK which have transformed communities “by planting up the public realm” through creating edible gardens for and managed by the community. Pam’s TED Talk on “how we can eat our landscapes” has been viewed over a million times.
Ms Warhurst said: “Creating an edible landscape isn’t just about reinventing a sense of community in the modern world, it’s about learning new skills, giving people an outlet to be creative and get connected with our natural environment.
“When we started Incredible Edible, we didn’t ask anyone’s permission to create community gardens, we just did it. People, planners and local authorities are now seeing the multitude of benefits that these spaces can bring and it’s fantastic to see that initiatives like the Countesswells orchard are now being planned as part of new developments. By putting food sites at the heart of a town, everyone can see where their food comes from, be involved and have a sense of purpose.”
Allan McGregor, project director at Countesswells, added: “Countesswells is unlike any other project of its kind and scale in the country. We have a singular vision to create one of the greenest, most community-oriented and attractive places to live in North-east Scotland.
“The orchard has been constructed using existing stone recovered from the land, including reclaimed stone taken from the old stable buildings that previously occupied the site. By providing residents with a place where they can grow, pick and replant their own food, we’re promoting a sense of community spirit and sustainability from the very outset. As the orchard takes root and flourishes, so too will the community of Countesswells with new homes, schools, shops, community facilities, businesses, parks and civic spaces.”
Councillor Greig, added: “The community orchard at Countesswells is a worthy initiative and one that Aberdeen City Council is thrilled to support. It’s great to see a development come forward that has the community at its heart with careful consideration to community initiatives from the very beginning. As a result Countesswells residents will have a source of locally grown food available on their doorstep and play a part in literally growing their community.”
Through an innovative HM Treasury guarantee scheme, Countesswells is being brought forward in a unique way with much of the major infrastructure, including roads, drainage, gas, mains and ultrafast broadband, for Countesswells has been installed up-front along with the initial stages of landscaping, open spaces and a playpark. To date 46 private homes and 85 affordable homes have been built and other house-builders have started on site.