What is Ochils Orchards?
Ochils Orchards is an exciting new venture by launched by the Ochils Landscape Partnership funded by the Forth Valley Orchards Initiative. The aim of Ochils Orchards is, starting in 2015, to establish three new community orchards across Clackmannanshire.
Why are orchards important?
Orchards have been an important part of British culture for centuries but the number of orchards being maintained has long been in decline. Scottish Natrual Heritage claim that more than 90% of orchards in the UK have disappeared in the last 30 years; this is through a combination of neglect and a lack of economic viability. This has led to a push in recent years to establish new orchards as well as conservng remaining historic ones and championing the less popular 'heritage' varieties of British apples that are being lost.
In addition to being a source of food and ingredients for juice, cider and chutneys, orchards also represent an important habitat type. This means that they contribute to boosting local biodiversity, in particular the number of pollinating insects such as bees, which are also in decline.
For more infomation on the work of the Forth Valley Orchards Initiative please see their website: http://www.forthenvironmentlink.org/projects/forth-valleys-orchards
What is a 'community' orchard?
The idea behind a community orchard is that local people have the opportunity to get involved in planting the trees, helping to maintain them and finally to enjoy the harvest! On top of learning how to grow your own fruit there will be plenty of opportunity to learn other new skills whilst creating new connections within your community and contributing to the creation a green space that everyone can enjoy!