Certificate In Community Orcharding (CICO) - Online and In-Person

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Our Certificate in Community Orcharding (CICO) gives you the skills and knowledge to design, plant, and manage community orchards.

About this Event

This unique level 3 training course, accredited by Crossfields Institute, is now available as a mix of online learning and 5 face-to-face days. You will learn from orchard experts, with the flexibility to do most of your learning at home.

We've been running our level 3 CICO course since 2017 as a face-to-face course. It's been a huge success, with over 60 students becoming qualified orchardists. This year we have been working tirelessly to bring it partially online, so more people can become orchard experts, without having to trek to London each month.


Many of our CICO students have moved onto exciting careers in urban food-growing, like managing community gardens, working for organisations in the food sector (including The Orchard Project!), or as professional gardeners/designers.

"Taking the [CICO] course helped me out professionally...After finishing the course, I obtained a job as an Estate Worker in a Hertfordshire park...Being able to talk about the course helped me out in the interview." Gora, CICO3.

"There are many promises and pitfalls when maintaining orchards in cities, however the holistic approach T.O.P. uses is a comprehensive system which a community can use to bring this historical tradition into our modernised lives." Dish, CICO4 and founder of Square Mile Farms.

"Permaculture and forest-gardening enthusiasts are likely to benefit from attending the CICO course (even if one is not interested specifically in fruit trees)." CICO3 student.

Photos of past students here.

More about the course content here.


You will find a mix of educational videos, PowerPoint presentations, quizzes, and online reading material, in addition to five face-to-face training days, to give you a well-rounded learning experience. Online materials are available all year and are to be completed at your own pace.

This course will teach you everything you need to know about planting and maintaining a community orchard, including:

  • Site surveys and orchard design
  • Tree Planting
  • Pruning (winter and summer)
  • Grafting (spring and summer)
  • Biodiversity, pests, and diseases
  • Soil science & boosting soil biodiversity organically
  • Caring for old orchards (including veteran trees)
  • Identifying fruit trees and apple varieties
  • Managing orchards and the groups caring for them
  • ...And more!

You will be able to access the set group of learning materials a couple of weeks before the course starts, so you can be prepared for the first face-to-face session.

Online materials are unlocked as you make your way through the course. You will be assessed on your knowledge via online quizzes and homework - you can expect a couple of pieces of homework a month. Your practical skills will be assessed on the face-to-face training days.

You’ll also be able to contact tutors and other students so that you’re able to keep on top of things and should allow on average two hours a week to complete all the work.


You must attend all the face-to-face training days to be able to gain the Certificate. All days are Saturdays, 10:00-16:00 and held at various locations across London.

  • 24th October 2020 - Group Work
  • 13th February 2021 - Winter pruning, tree planting
  • 13th March 2021 - Spring grafting, soil biodiversity
  • 15th May 2021 - Land survey, tree ID, pests & disease, biodiversity
  • 12th June 2021 - Summer pruning, chip bud grafting


£820 / £610 (conc.) full course & accreditation

£670 / £460 (conc.) excludes accreditation, so no homework, quizzes or tutor feedback and you wouldn’t gain the Certificate

£0 Pay by volunteering (1 space only)

Paying by instalments available (please email jo@theorchardproject.org.uk to discuss this option)

Concessionary: students, retired on low income, receiving benefits or on low income.

Pay By Volunteering: Pay by volunteering for the Orchard Project for 12 days. Five people will be able to apply for the place by 15th September. Priority will be given to those who have the greatest chance of using the course for their career progression and who would otherwise be unable to afford the fee.

		Certificate In Community Orcharding (CICO) - Online and In-Person image

		Certificate In Community Orcharding (CICO) - Online and In-Person image
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