A new community orchard will produce 20 tonnes of free fruit for green fingered volunteers.

The first trees will be planted at the site at the top of Brighton’s Race Hill on Saturday to provide fresh local food for city residents.

Volunteers will start by planting 30 fruit trees this year with more trees to follow in the future.

The three-acre site between Swanborough Drive and Wilson Avenue is expected to be able to generate up to 20 tonnes of fruit over the next 20 years.

The first crops are expected to be ready to harvest within two to three years. 

The project has been set up by the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership and Brighton Permaculture Trust , who have s t u d i e d the site and c o n s u l t e d local residents and gardeners on their plans.

Helen Starr-Keddle, a development officer for Brighton and Hove Food Partnership, said: “It’s great that residents will be able to eat more local produce that is both healthy to eat and sustainably grown.

“The idea is that the orchard will be managed by a group of local people for the benefit of the community.”

Bryn Thomas from Brighton Permaculture Trust said “We will mostly plant apples as these are the most reliable croppers, but some plums, pears and more unusual fruit may be included.

“Fruit will be selected that grows well under organic conditions, with fruit ripening from July through November. Some eaters, some cookers and a variety of flavours will also be selected.”

Neil Smith, a local resident and supporter of the project, said: “I think it will give this piece of land a new lease of life. It will combine fruit growing, still be open for dog walkers and anyone who enjoys being in the green and hopefully add a bit more care to these already lovely surroundings.”

Anyone interested in getting involved or helping with the planting should go to the site between 10.30am and 2.30pm on Saturday, call Helen Starr-Keddle on 07850 002596 or email Helen@bhfood.org.uk.