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Planting for the future

Love Middlesbrough website

Thirteen is working with partners and the local community on a project to grow food and create a better environment for the people of Middlesbrough.

Alongside Middlesbrough Environment City and Incredible Edible Middlesbrough, Thirteen is bringing some unused areas of land back into use for planting nut and fruit trees and the creation of community allotments.

In the Whinney Banks area of Acklam in Middlesbrough, members of staff from the partner organisations got together at the start of the project to plant the first trees that will provide food and an improved environment for the local community over the coming years.

The orchard and nuttery includes pear, apple, cherry, hazelnut and almond trees that should begin to bear fruit within the next two to three years.

John Woods, environmental specialist at Thirteen, said: "We were approached by Middlesbrough Environment City to get involved in this project and were keen to make better use of this currently unused space behind some homes we manage in Whinney Banks.

"The site is approximately 2,100 square metres and we're starting out by planting 24 nut and fruit trees that will hopefully form an attractive orchard that people in the area can enjoy.

"This will be a long-term project and any produce from the site will be shared among volunteers who have contributed to maintaining the site and with residents living around the orchard. Any surplus will be offered to nearby schools and community groups."

The orchard will help people to get involved in producing their own food and understand the food production process from seedling to plate. Once planted, fruit trees require only limited maintenance and the orchard will also be used for conservation, wildlife and the wider population of Middlesbrough. 

Incredible Edible Middlesbrough is a group that works with communities to create kind, confident and connected communities through the power of food. The group secured funding for the trees by working in partnership with @treesforcities and will be working with Middlesbrough Environment City to manage the orchard.

Joe Dunne, from Middlesbrough Environment City, said: "A lot of this project is about the process of planting, growing and eventually cooking and eating food that has been locally-sourced. As well as the benefits of the orchard itself, we will also be using the project to promote healthy and sustainable lifestyles and helping to further increase the number and diversity of woodland in our urban area.

"We've worked with Thirteen on various projects across Middlesbrough and this was an ideal piece of land that we can work on to plant trees, re-wild the area and engage with the local community."

Twins Merrin and Meadow, aged 10, were also on-hand to help plant some trees alongside their mother Catherine Howell, who is part of Incredible Edible Middlesbrough and works with Middlesbrough Environment City on a range of projects across the area.