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An Urban Orchard for Kingstanding

prepare appleTwo inner city areas are to be transformed on Saturday 5th December when Erdington Artist in Residence Eleanor Hoad creates two unusual urban orchards. The orchards are unusual because winners of an Urban Orchard Competition have individually named each tree. Eleanor invited local people to enter the competition to dedicate a fruit tree to someone important to them. Nearly 100 people entered and these were narrowed down to 10 winning entries which range from the personal: Molly Wrights entry ‘my grandmother Violet Wright: I would like a part of her to be with me here in Erdington even though she is in Jamaica’ to the inspirational: Donna Gray’s entry ‘Charles Darwin: for the discovery of Evolution’.

The orchards will include cherry, apple and pear trees. The first trees will be planted at Kingstanding Leisure Centre between 11am and 12pm on Saturday 5th December as part of the BBC’s Breathing Places, Tree O’clock attempt to break the world record for the most trees planted in one hour.  Five more trees will then be planted in containers in the Central Square in Erdington from 1pm. The fruit trees will each have a plaque installed with the winning names. Some of the ten winners will be helping to plant their trees and all will receive a certificate.

The Urban Orchard is part of the ‘Prepare’ project run by Artist in Residence Eleanor Hoad and her volunteers. Eleanor has set up the scheme to make use of fruit growing in the city that would otherwise go to waste. Traveling by bike, spotting fruit trees overhanging walls and fences Eleanor has harvested hundreds of apples, pears and damsons from the Erdington and Kingstanding area. The second stage of the project is to plant more fruit trees and celebrate them.

Eleanor Hoad Artist in Residence said “The competition entries were so moving, they really showed how much value people place on trees as a way of remembering a loved one; through a tree a persons memory can live on. Planting fruit trees in the city is just one way we can rethink how unused patches of land can be utilised and used to produce food. Even the smallest patch can become an abundant source of fresh organic fruit and vegetables with a little thought”

For more information, contact Eleanor  at eleanorhoad@hotmail.com

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