Growing in a greenspace near you
Dundee Urban Orchard – otherwise known as DUO – is a city-wide art and horticulture project supporting individuals, community groups and cultural organisations to plant and care for small-scale orchards across Dundee.
In addition to the practical benefits of enhancing biodiversity, accessing greenspace for community use and raising awareness of where food comes from, DUO celebrate the biodiversity and cultural diversity of Dundee through art workshops, exhibitions and peer-learning events.
With a particular focus on food sustainability, DUO is committed to community empowerment coupled with longterm planning for a sustainable and equitable future.
In an urban environment like Dundee it’s easy to lose connection to the food we eat. A large proportion of the food available in Dundee has travelled long distances and is purchased in packaged or processed form from supermarket shelves. Without a direct, connection to the food we eat we risk losing the knowledge of what sustains us.
As Carolyn Steel, an architect and food activist, said at a public lecture organised by DUO in 2017:
Food has shaped our bodies, homes, societies, cities, and landscapes in the past; now we need to harness that power for good. We already live in what one might call sitopia (meaning ‘food place’). By recognising that fact, we can think and act through food to create a better, more sustainable world.
Having spent four years working with commmunity groups to plant orchards in Dundee (2013 – 2017), DUO continue to support the ongoing maintenance and care of the Orchard City network. Where possible we assist in the planting of additional community orchards and growing spaces and we actively encourage other orchards to be planted.
In October 2016 we celebrated Dundee’s first Community Harvest. This was the culmination of our work in the city; a collective celebration and a chance to share the fruits of our labour.
Between October 2017 – October 2019 DUO will be taking time-out to develop a second phase for the project. We encourage feedback from anyone who has worked with us over the past four years and look forward to further adventures. In the meantime, do take a look at our Facebook page for (very) occasional posts and ways to get involved.
DUO is performed by Jonathan Baxter and Sarah Gittins – artists, peer-educators and apple eaters. We’ve worked with over twenty-five orchard groups and hundreds of active citizens who together perform the Orchard City network. We think of this network as the roots and fruits of the city and we encourage others to join us in our Orchard City grafting!