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Schools pip others to be the first to plant orchards

21st February 2014

Two primary schools are the first in the Cairngorms National Park to plant their very own orchards to mark the 10th Anniversary of the Park.

Following a hugely successful campaign last year to find orchard sites, Strathdon and Crathie primary schools were two of 18 sites selected and planted their orchards today.

The idea behind the orchards is to encourage communities to use their green spaces and become more sustainable by growing their own food. Each orchard will contain eight trees, a mixture of apple, plum and pear, all will be heritage varieties that are native to Scotland.

Andrew and Margaret Lear provided the trees from their Perthshire nursery and specially selected them for their hardiness and suitability in the Scottish climate. Margaret was on hand to help the schools plant their trees and give her expert advice on caring for them as they grow.

Lilian Field, Head Teacher of both the schools said; “We are delighted to be planting these orchards, it is important for the children to learn about food production and what better way is there than actually growing your own food? We are already planning to make an apple pie with the first crop”

The project is the result of a partnership between the Cairngorms National Park Authority and the Soil Association’s Cairngorms Food for Life programme. The Food for Life programme aims to increase knowledge, consumption and production of local food.

Glynis Ross, the Cairngorms Food for Life Officer said; “It is so exciting to see the orchards finally reach the planting stage. This project is about learning where food comes from so it is very fitting that the first plantings are in schools.”