New Application and Request Form Roll-out:
This fall we were presented with the opportunity to work with a program called Change the World Consulting, run out of the Smith Business School of The University of Maryland. We were immediately impressed by the program and the students that were matched with BOP.
Interested in better understanding the work of The Baltimore Orchard Project, the consultants proposed a series of in depth interviews and a survey to all of our partners. They wanted to better understand the needs of our partners and how we could assist them.
The consultants suggested that we develop a series of forms, to provide both new and existing partners with a way to request for assistance for the needs they identified as most important to their orchard.
If you have visited our website recently you would have seen an exciting new page labeled New Partner Applications and be wondering what exactly this is and how it can be beneficial to you as a new or existing partner.
One of the key things the UMD students found through the surveys was that the biggest challenge of managing a Community Orchard is sustaining it with enough committed volunteers. Because of this, we were sure to include a Community Engagement Form for partners to request help with recruiting volunteers.
The consultants also identified the importance of gathering information to ensure the success of new partners upfront. They drew inspiration from the Philadelphia Orchard Projects’ application and crafted an application that would help partners with the process of thinking through what considerations are important when starting a new Community or Youth Education Orchard. The application also helps BOP staff to identify the needs and strengths of partners in the beginning stages of creating a custom orchard for each group.
There are currently two applications up on our website and three identified services that partners can request through our Request for Services Forms.
The New Partner Application will allow BOP to get a sense of the ideas behind, and capacity for, a new community orchard. It also provides a transparent way for applicants to get a sense of the responsibilities that come along with caring for fruit trees. Our Youth Education Application provides similar benefits to BOP and future partners.
Existing partners will be able to request support through three new forms. The first, the Tree Planting Request Form, allows partners to ask for additional trees, replacements for dead trees, and help with transplanting. The Community Engagement Request form allows partners to ask for help recruiting volunteers for specific events and a presentation at their community association (presentations are, by no means, limited to existing partners!). The Stewardship Year Request Form allows partners to ask for more long term help with upkeep in their orchards. This could be anything from help with pruning to help with harvest.
These updates fit in with our broader plan to make the BOP website easier for partners to use and find pertinent information. Keep an eye out for updates about changes in the coming months!