Deptford residents dug their wellies out on Friday when Pepys estate encouraged people to plant 350 new trees in the local community.
The initiative was a part of “The Big Tree Plant”, a national campaign to plant one million trees in urban areas by 2015.
Using the enthusiasm of local communities, the project wants to make cities more “healthy, enjoyable and distinctive”. Pepys Community Forum is responsible for the project in Lewisham.
Christina Borgenstierna, Project Manager, said she decided to bring the project to Lewisham because she wanted to make the area “more sustainable”. She said the idea behind the campaign is to plant trees in places where local communities can appreciate them, and that Pepys Estate is a perfect location because of its community garden.
Deptford residents currently grow, and eat, fresh fruit in the Evelyn Community Garden. “But it is not enough food for everyone”. Christina added that she ”wants to teach more people how to grow their own food and improve the local environment”.
The project, which begun on Friday 2, will continue over the weekend as volunteers and community groups gather together to dig holes and plant hope. The trees had been carefully selected in a planning meeting last week, in which residents were invited to select their favourite fruit trees.
Resident Elizabeth Cooke said she chose an apple tree because ”it is the tree that gives the greatest chance to provide any fruit in my lifetime”.
Today with friends and neighbours, Ms. Cooke was determined to transform the available space into a community fruit orchard.
While digging and planting she said: “There is great reward in growing your own fruit tree, because not only will you get a big and tasty fruit, but you can save the environment and money too”.
Hyde South East have given the project permission to plant 350 trees in Lewisham over the next four years, starting with 20 fruit trees being planted this weekend. The trees will be planted in areas surrounding residencies, public parks and open spaces.
Pepys Community Forum invites any interested parties to come forward and choose and plant fruit trees this weekend. More information can be found here.