The CERES Urban Orchard Project is a collection of folk from over 200 households across the inner northern suburbs of Melbourne who swap and share excess produce from their backyard gardens.
A pilot project started in 2004 by CERES Farm, with a small grant from the Garden of Eden Foundation, the Urban Orchard employed one staff member to conduct a community survey and begin a pilot project.
With an initial focus on unused fruit from the abundant plantings across Moreland and Darebin, the project has spread to vegetables, herbs and beyond.
Those with produce to swap, gather every Saturday at the CERES Organic Market. Members of the project leave their excess fruit, vegetables, herbs etc on the swap table and take produce others have dropped off.
The Urban Orchard is a complete community food cycle. Participants bring in seeds and seedlings to swap, and the CERES propagation team donate their excess seedlings. Urban Orchard members take them home, plant and grow them, and then bring them back as produce to swap. The cycle of local food is complete.
Why an Urban Orchard?
- To provide an opportunity for people to utilise otherwise-wasted fruit, veg, herbs, etc.
- To create friendships within the neighbourhood and build stronger local communities
- To reduce green waste and pressure on landfill
- To build local food security and provide healthy in-season food for the community
- To reduce the need to transport produce from outside the city / state / country! – less transport means less fuel burned, hence reduced pollution and greenhouse gas emissions
Urban Orchard would like to branch out with a Pickers Project. The Pickers Project would offer a picking service to people who struggle to pick their own fruit and then redistribute surplus to groups in the community. This project is still in the planning and development stages and we are looking for people and partner organisations who can help us grow this idea.
If you live in the inner northern suburbs and would like the opportunity to swap your excess backyard produce with others from the area, please come down one Saturday morning and visit our stall. We have a leaflet for anyone who would like to do a letterbox drop in their area and an A4 poster for community notice boards (you can pick these up at the stall or print your own)
Sep – May: 9am – 2pm
Jun – Aug: 10am – 3pm