John Hancox and the Fruitful Schools team hosted a corker of an event at Holyrood recently to celebrate Apple Day.
Guests at the event feasted on applepie, applecake, applejuice and many varieties of heritage apples. John Hancox writes the following about the event:
‘Thanks to everyone – especially the sponsoring MSPs and their staff – and events team at the Parliament, Gill Orr, John Hay, Henry Paul and Nicky McIntyre for bringing part of the apple collection, the other half coming from me, Kelly McIntyre, Margaret Welch for the apple gifts, Rowena Statt for the awards certificates, Reuben Chester of Locavore and Helen Blackburn for Salvation Army for the fantastic apple pies and cake, and the many other people who helped out on the day, or who just came along. I’d urge people to join Scottish Orchards – which is a Scotland wide network of fruit growing enthusiasts – and help us to create a Fruitful Scotland.
We spoke yesterday about the work with school and community orchards, and with encouraging small holders and farmers to start to look at growing fruit commercially in Scotland again. In the years since we have started to awards these Holyrood Apple Days there has been great progress towards our dream of a Fruitful Scotland. Our Fruitful Schools project has been really successful launched with Government support in 2010. The Central Scotland Green Network have put some money into an Orchard grant scheme which is also good news for those in Central Scotland. It’s encouraging that businesses and private landowners such as Atholl Estate continue to help support community orchard planting.
I was personally delighted to be able to make our Fruitful Scotland Awards to Ferryhill Primary, to City of Glasgow College, Upward Mobility, Atholl Estates, Coffee Conscience, Hilary Fraser. I also am delighted that John Butterworth was able to come and receive his award – truly for inspiring this movement – and a Lifetime Award for Services to Fruit! I also was pleased that we could give our wee Awards to Sarah Boyak MSP, Alison Johnstone MSP, Alex Fergusson MSP, Jim Hume MSP, and Jean Urquhart MSP. ‘
Well done John for bringing us together for such a wonderful event!
An orchard was ‘planted’ in the Developing Global Citizens’ corner of the Exhibition Hall at the Scottish Learning Festival last week when John Hancox and friends from Fruitful Schools helped delegates to ‘pick’, peel and crush their own apples to make the most delicious apple juice. John also talked with delegates about planting fruit trees and bushes, looking after orchards, learning about Scotland’s fruit growing regions and traditions and fruit growing/cooking as a fabulous context for interdisciplinary outdoor learning:
‘Fruitful Schools makes it brilliantly easy and fun for pupils, teachers, parents and friends to plant fruit trees and get growing. We provide fruit trees, planting information, inspiration and support which makes this great idea come alive. Our aim is that all our children should get the chance to enjoy picking and eating fruit from the tree. Growing fruit is a real pleasure and its also a life skill. Children need to know where their food comes from. It comes from fruit trees in abundance!’
Many thanks to John and his team for providing a truly delicious experience at SLF for all the delegates!
Find out more about the work of Fruitful Schools by visiting their website: http://www.fruitfulschools.com. There is also a glow site from the collected work of the School Orchards Project facilitated by Grounds for Learning, which can be visited here (Glow login required). October 4th is Apple Day this year and there will be many local and regional events in celebration of our rich heritage and associations with this humble fruit! Both sites have lots of ideas and resources for celebrating and capturing the best of Autumn on this festival day in your school or community group.
John and his team are passionate about planting 2014 heritage fruit trees in Scotland in celebration of Glasgow’s 2014 Commonwealth Games. The Commonwealth Orchard helps people plant the finest Scottish fruit trees and to grow, pick and use delicious Scottish apples, pears and plums. Please get involved: we need schools, teachers, volunteers, businesses, funders, landowners, artists, planters, pruners, jam makers and fruit pickers and just about everyone else. The idea is creating a fruitful Scotland where everyone enjoys planting, picking and eating fruit.
There is a competition presently being run to ‘win an orchard for your community’ – more details here.