Randolph Community Orchard Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was formed in December 2017 to create an educational public space within a landscape of tree-based perennial food production.
We are motivated by an understanding that Vermont, while enjoying a more robust and localized food system than most states, is still greatly dependent on distant production and the complex, delicate systems that keep our grocery stores filled. It is our belief that certain social, political, economic, and climatic trends all point to the necessity for localized groups to organize and work through mutual aid for the common good. As a community orchard, we are staffed entirely by volunteer residents of the Randolph area who are committed to food security and community resiliency in the face of climate change and other impending societal change.
In our first year of operation, we have taught four classes at a local public school and hosted two workshops for adults. We have planted 18 heirloom cider apple trees, 9 pear cider trees, 2 heirloom eating pears, 2 varieties of plum, a mulberry, 15 walnut and heartnut trees, and have an off-site nursery growing future transplants. Additionally, some 20-odd varieties of apples have been grafted onto the wild apple trees already growing on the land.
Future fruit plantings will emphasize disease resistant and heirloom apples and pears, hybrid plums, improved saskatoons, and include hardy and experimental strains of peach, apricot, pawpaw, quince, medlar, and mulberry, among others.
Future nut plantings will emphasize American and Chinese chestnuts and crosses, black walnut, butternut, heartnut, hickory, experimental Northern pecan, ginkgo, and hazelnuts.
We invite the public to enjoy the open space, walk the land, eat the ripened fruits, and to contemplate the communal value of our working lands.