The Far Orchard 

3rd Feb · Dawn Hawkins

Connecting living systems, food and community


“Connecting living systems, food and community”

The Far Orchard is an imaginative participatory arts project that develops over many years, building a community based around living systems in a deep and evolving way.

Tfo Socmed Sq 15

Visit The Far Orchard website here:

As artists we’re interested in exploring ecological and social systems and processes and in making work at the places where they connect and intersect. At a time when many of the key ecological systems that support us are under pressure from unsustainable human activity, we felt it was important to make a work that involved and reconnected people to living systems, growing food and that developed new community connections, bringing people together to share knowledge, harvests, creativity and fun.

The Far Orchard is a rethinking of the traditional apple orchard where all trees grow together on single area of land. The Far Orchard aims to create an apple orchard that is distributed across Banchory with individual trees being ‘hosted’ (offered a home) in private gardens, schools, care homes and other places such as allotments. Each tree will be cared for by an individual or family and this community of ‘hosts’ will form the backbone of the project. We are hoping that as the trees grow; knowledge, growing tips, harvests, celebrations and friendships will develop and will be shared between The Far Orchard community, the Barn and beyond to the wider community of Banchory. Networks extending into networks.

The Far Orchard subtly highlights and echoes the informal networks of care and kindness that have grown up around us and thrived during the last two years. It is a live project that continues to explore how important and life affirming these connections have been, creating a space to think more deeply about how they may be developed and extended, nurtured and made sustainable into the future.

It is a project that is the antithesis of the ‘attention’ economy with its offer of instant gratification and which requires patience and care. It asks us to imagine into the future and hold an idea in common that matures over years; a project that requires patience before ‘bearing fruit’.

Coleman And Hodges 1

Image: Jo Hodges and Robbie Coleman

All the partners in the project will develop a deeper understanding of and connection to other living systems that they live within. The flowering of the apple trees and the behaviour of pollinating insects are key to successful harvests as apple trees rely on insects for pollination and do not produce fruit well on their own. Each tree needs a pollination partner for optimum production and The Orchard will therefore be planned and planted to ensure that each tree is able to connect via pollinators and be within a pollination range.

People and organisations will apply to ‘host’ a tree and as part of the project we will map the location of the hosts but also the apple trees that are already growing in other gardens and public spaces so that these trees can become part of the orchard.

The Far Orchard will be created using the patterns of pollinating insects, prevailing winds and the locations of existing apple trees. The insect pollinators, and their journeys between the trees will be part of the conversation of the orchard from the very beginning – bringing these vital processes into a new and sharper focus and offering a vision of a town that is more connected to and aware of the importance of its more than human inhabitants. Offering to host a tree from The Far Orchard will bring people into a closer observation, engagement and understanding of the dynamic relationships, conditions and cycles between species and seasons, growth and harvest that need to exist for continuing thriving and sustainability. Nothing thrives in isolation – it is these networks of care and connection to living systems that create the right conditions.

The Far Orchard will become a tangible community asset and well as a metaphor for the importance of networks of connection; an orchard of single trees, cared for and connected by a human and more than human community.

Robbie Coleman and Jo Hodges


We invite you to join us in this creative project and apply to host one of the 100 apple trees that will form The Far Orchard.

We will choose locations for The Far Orchard trees within Banchory that are close enough to each other for the insect pollinators to be able to travel from tree to tree.

To apply to host an apple tree you will need to have a garden (or access to a garden or small area of ground with permission to plant a tree.)

If your application is successful, we encourage you to become part of The Far Orchard community and to take part in community harvest events and creative activities around the project, for example taking photos of your tree for exhibitions.

To apply please email us with the following information:

  • Name:
  • Address and postcode:


  • That you wish to host an apple tree, with some details of the type of land you have (including whether it is a garden, patio or field.)


  • That you have an existing tree that you wish to be included in The Far Orchard project. Do you know which variety of tree?

Send your email to by the 28 February 2022.

**Applications are now closed**

However, if you have an apple existing tree that you wish to be included in The Far Orchard project please email and let us know


For the last 25 years, the Barn has presented a rich and diverse cultural programme. Many artists have used our building, Wild Garden, Walled Garden and the connecting allotments as a site of experimentation and thinking for arts and ecology. Long, sustained relationships with renowned artists such as John Newling and Newton Harrison, Helen Smith and Maja Zeco, have helped our organisation to develop and lead the conversation around arts in rural environments in the 21st century. The Far Orchard project responds and connects to a rich history of art orchard projects. If you want to know and learn more about other projects of this kind, here are a few resources listed below:

Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison Knowle West project

Portable Orchard 1972-73

Dundee Urban Orchard project

Jonathan Baxter and Sarah Gittins

Art Walk Projects (Edinburgh)

Annie Lord Neighbouring Orchard

Common Ground’s Apple Day

Anne-Marie Culhane

Donald Urquhart, Alexander Hamilton and poet Gerry Loose

Midpark Psychiatric Hospital in Dumfries