Horfield Organic Community Orchard (HOCO) is celebrating 25 years as a community and fruit-growing project. Since 1998 hundreds of volunteer members have cared for nearly a hundred fruiting trees. HOCO is also raising an urban orchard for community education and horticultural experimentation. The Orchard Learning Programme, developed in 2018, is a hands-on and holistic adventure in community orcharding that guides participants over a growing season at HOCO.
The 9-month course (see dates summary below) is designed to deepen the knowledge and sharpen the skills of those involved in the close care of fruit trees. It is ideal for growers with previous fruit growing experience, and highly recommended for anyone starting up, or involved with, an orchard. Participants work with less-than-perfect trees and learn by doing.
Programme content and structure are always evolving – driven by climate chaos, and shaped by the experiences and needs of participants. The blend of group learning days and one-to-one sessions was a great success when introduced last year. All sessions take place outdoors in the example-rich Horfield Organic Community Orchard. They are led by Shannon Smith – an experienced community orchard grower and educator.
Successful applicants are partnered with a fruit tree – their Tree Buddy – for the year. They join with other HOCO members to help organise orchard working meetings and community events.
Places are limited. Deadline for applications is Sunday 29 January 2023.
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