Thursday 29th September marked Holyrood Apple Day, an event organised by the Commonwealth Orchard campaign which encourages people to plant apple trees across Scotland.
As part of the day, I co-sponsored an event in the Parliament bringing together a collection of around 250 varieties of apples grown in Scotland.
The event welcomed orchard growers and enthusiasts from across Scotland who are helping to support the campaign’s push for a Fruitful Scotland.
The campaign aims to encourage people to plant fruit trees in schools, gardens, and other community spaces. Through its Fruitful Schools initiative, the Commonwealth Orchard campaign has helped schools up and down the country to plant, maintain and enjoy school orchards.
The campaign taps into the fact that people are increasingly aware of where their food comes from and highlights that we can grow food even in the most urban communities.
The environment also stands to benefit. The greenhouse gas emissions associated with transporting fresh food half way round the world from producer to the supermarket is staggering. By making the most of local seasonal produce and growing what we can ourselves we could dramatically reduce these emissions.
Then there is education and health benefits. Encouraging schools to plant apple trees and vegetable patches provides children with an engaging and hands on environment in which to learn about where our food comes from. This engagement could then spark a greater interest in diet and its role in a healthy lifestyle.
However it is not just schools that are getting on board and the campaign is also supporting community action through allotment sites and backgreen associations which can bring people together and improve the appearance of local areas.
To find out more about the campaign click here.