New 6,500-tree edible forest to be planted in Hackney Marshes

Hackney Council is joining forces with charity Trees for Cities to plant a new edible woodland in Hackney Marshes.

The woodland will see a mix of around 6,500 fruit and nut trees, broadleaf specimens, and shrubs planted on East Marsh, capturing planet-warming carbon dioxide, promoting biodiversity, and encouraging the local community to learn more about foraging. 

The trees and shrubs are being funded by Honest Drinks through the charity Trees for Cities, which works with volunteers, schools and local communities to enhance green spaces in urban neighbourhoods, with land provided by Hackney Council. 

Local people are being invited to come along and help plant the woodland with local voluntary group Tree Musketeers as more volunteers than ever are needed to help plant the trees. 

The Council, Trees for Cities, and Tree Musketeers are then set to continue working together in the new year and beyond, by planting over 20,000 additional trees on the Marshes and other green spaces, aimed at improving tree canopy coverage and tackling the climate emergency by capturing carbon. 

Cllr Jon Burke, Cabinet Member for Energy, Waste, Transport and Public Realm
Since declaring a Climate Emergency, the Council has been doing everything it can do to reach our ambitious commitment to net zero emissions by 2040. Our plans to deliver around 30,000 trees in our parks and green spaces, and 5,000 new street trees, represent one of the most ambitious programmes in the country and the single largest investment in trees in the history of our borough. Not only will this help us tackle global warming by locking-in thousands of tonnes of carbon, but it will also contribute to cooling, and support insect and animal life.

If every local authority in the UK was matching Hackney’s level of ambition for tree planting and green infrastructure, we would plant close to 15 million trees by 2022, and as Hackney is one of the smallest council areas in England, there’s scope to go even further. Tree planting is by no means the complete answer to the climate emergency, and that’s why Hackney is decarbonising everything from the waste system to emissions from motor vehicles, but nature-based solutions to global warming can make a huge difference. We have the trees, we have the land, now we just need the leadership.
Cllr Jon Burke, Cabinet Member for Energy, Waste, Transport and Public Realm

David Elliott, Chief Executive of Trees for Cities, said: "We are extremely excited to be working with Hackney Council and the Tree Musketeers to create this edible woodland, which will enhance local biodiversity, help in the fight against climate change and air pollution, and will provide local communities with a range of healthy produce to forage for years to come. The leadership that the local authority is demonstrating around trees and green infrastructure is setting a new benchmark that hopefully other authorities will aim to match."

Christine Kings, Chair, Tree Musketeers, said: "We love the idea of planting a new edible woodland which is the next step on from our community orchards. We're really happy to bring our scores of enthusiastic and skilled volunteers to take part in this."

The new edible forest in Hackney Marshes is set to be planted in East Marsh, and will not impact on any of the spaces used for sport and recreation. 

People are being urged to look out for an announcement about volunteering to plant the trees in the new year.