The Common Orchard Project works to install and maintain hundreds of small orchard plantings across Greater Cincinnati and grows “commonly held” resources by educating communities on fresh food and urban land management. These common orchards provide increased food access, tree canopy, walkable greenspace and community building in neighborhoods that have experienced disinvestment. Founded in 2017 by Chris Smyth, the effort has planted 12 orchards across Cincinnati and two in Cleveland, with plans to install 50 more by 2024.
In 2021, The Common Orchard Project was been adopted by Green Umbrella as an "accelerator project." Chris Smyth continues to serve as the director of the project as it incubates within Green Umbrella and will plant more orchards each year thanks to Giving Grove’s support. Learn more about the project at www.commonorchard.com.
The project is an affiliate of Giving Grove, a non-profit that supports the development of little orchards across the country. Launched in 2013, The Giving Grove has 273 orchards across the U.S. that provide free, holistically-grown fruits, nuts and berries for neighborhoods with high rates of food insecurity. After finding success with its model in Kansas City, The Giving Grove began expanding to other cities with high food insecurity rates, launching affiliate programs in St. Louis and Omaha in 2017, and Memphis, Louisville, and rural Kansas in 2020. Giving Grove’s expansion plans include launching affiliates in 14 more U.S. cities by 2025.
Learn more about the project in this video by Together As One JB Podcast: