To celebrate 10 years of the Cairngorms National Park and the Year of Natural Scotland, the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) in partnership with the Soil Association – through the Cairngorms Food for Life Programme – has 10 Heritage Orchards to give away to community groups and organisations to plant in their villages within the Park.
This new project encourages communities within the Cairngorms National Park to utilise their green spaces and become more sustainable by growing their own food, helping to make the connection between where our food comes from and our part in its production.
There are 10 orchards for 10 years of the National Park, with each orchard containing eight trees – a mixture of apple, plum and pear.
The CNPA is looking for nominations from groups and/or communities within Park such as schools, community groups, allotments, churches, youth groups and so on. Any group that would benefit in some way by having a small orchard – and have permission from the landowner – could nominate themselves to receive one of the 10 Heritage Orchards.
Glynis Ross, the Cairngorms Food for Life Development Officer explained: “This project is about food production. We want to bring back to the communities of the Cairngorms National Park their ability to produce their own food as this gets lost in modern times as we distance ourselves from this important aspect of our lives.
“The rich cultural heritage of the Park is deeply rooted in food production, from soft fruits, to crops, to livestock; and we want to educate our local communities that by producing our own food in the traditional methods of our local area we in fact create the habitats, the bio-diversity, landscaping benefits and so on. Everything else represented within the Park ties in directly to our land management through producing food. And you don’t need to be a tree or gardening expert to get involved as we will be able to provide help and advice with regards to planting and maintenance.”
Funding for the £5,000 project is coming from the Park Authority and the European funded LEADER programme.
As part of the project there will also be an Orchard Day at the Highland Folk Museum at Newtonmore on Monday 7th October. This special event will see the first fruit trees planted at the Lochanuhully House site and the day will also be a celebration of all things apple including a hog roast and cooking demonstrations.
The Cairngorms National Park was established in 2003 to ensure that the unique aspects of the area – both the natural environment and the local communities – are cared for and enhanced for current and future generations to enjoy.