For many years, BILLA was looking for a sustainability project to identify with, which would correspond with its vision and goals that would have a positive environmental impact in locations where BILLA operates its stores. The idea of restoring fruit trees in an orchard that would be a place of relaxation for the local population, restore the original landscape nature, improve the microclimate, help with retaining water and prevent erosion therefore seemed an ideal option.
The BILLA Srnčí Fruit Orchard has been created between Říčany and Světice nearby Prague as a part of a local trail through the region of illustrator Josef Lada (famous former Czech artist), and from now on it is going to serve as a place of relaxation for the local citizens, who can stop there during their walks, hold a picnic with their friends and loved ones, relax while doing sports, or just pick a freshly ripened fruit from one of the many trees that we have planted there.
BILLA is indeed very proud of this project; therefore, the orchard was handed over in a very festive atmosphere. The actual event program was tailored primarily to the needs of families with children, and despite the unfavourable weather the orchard area was full of enthusiastic visitors.
The First and Definitely Not the Last!
The pilot project was for an approximately 700m long fruit orchard in Říčany near Prague, which connected Světice and the path to the Oasis at the Srnčí pond, for which we have donated over CZK 1.5 million. (approx. 60 thousand €). In this orchard, referred to as the ‘BILLA Srnčí Fruit Orchard’, over 54 different types of fruit trees. Apart from common species of apple, pear, cherry, sour cherry, plum, mulberry, rowan, service tree and chokeberry, we have also planted 22 species of rare and historical fruit species. Apart from unusual apple, pear and cherry trees, people will in some years have a chance to taste the fruits of medlar and quince.
The orchard is located in the cycling region of Josef Lada, which will form a part of the future cycling trail Mnichovice-Světice-Říčany-Kolovraty.
Why All That?
We Give Original Fruit Trees Back to the Czech Countryside
Since, at BILLA, we place a great emphasis on acting responsibly toward the nature and the needs of people in the locations where we operate, we have come up with a project that brings this philosophy to life. We look for suitable places in the vicinity of our stores where we subsequently plant fruit trees. Fruit trees have for ages accompanied the man through the history of mankind and have always been a part of our lives. Rows of fruit trees and orchards used to be a typical feature of the countryside in Central Europe in particular. However, over the years fruit trees began to disappear from the gardens and areas around villages. Therefore, we have decided to return this typical feature to the Czech countryside and show people the variety and beauty of fruit trees. Not only are we thus going to increase the number of trees and plant fruit trees in the open countryside, the local citizens and visitors will also have a chance to taste healthy fresh fruits right from the trees.
Fruit trees also play an important role in water retention and erosion prevention in the area and improve the microclimate, in particular in the recent years when warmer weather tends to be accompanied by seasonal dry spells and intensive rains ever more often.