The first steps to a community orchard in Inverness were taken today when Ian Ross Chair of High Life Highland and Helen Carmichael planted the first apple tree at Inverness Botanic Gardens.
The Community orchard will be planted around the perimeter and within Inverness Botanic Gardens including a mixture of Scottish heritage apple pear and plum trees.
The orchard will be maintained and developed by the team at the botanic gardens working with The Grow Project and volunteers, the project will actively encourage local community groups and schools to get involved as well.
Ian Ross Chair of High Life Highland said, “The ‘Apples for All – Ubhlan dha na h-uile’ project is one which will stand the test of time providing an area to be enjoyed by visitors to the gardens for generations to come. Once the trees are established, people will be encouraged to pick apples for their own use, or be part of workshops learning to make juice, pies, vinegar etc.”
The team at Inverness Botanic Gardens are looking to include seated areas within the orchard providing benches to allow people to enjoy a community space that may provide chance conversations with others and somewhere to relax and feel part of.
Provost of Inverness Cllr Helen Carmichael said: “In February this year, Members of the City of Inverness Area Committee were delighted to support High Life Highland’s Inverness Botanic Gardens by awarding them £16,127 Inverness Common Good Funding towards their innovative “Apples for All – Ubhlan dha na h-uile” project at the Bught Apple Park. Through this tree planting celebration, I am very pleased to help mark the progress of this local project which will aid community well-being and the economic recovery of Inverness.”
The project is being supported by the Inverness Common Good fund and aims to promote local, sustainable and healthy eating, access to the gardens for people who don’t have any and to provide healthy living opportunities and skills for the Grow Project members, local young people and community volunteers.
Mr Ross concluded, “This is an exciting project for Inverness Botanic Gardens and will help embed the gardens further into the local community as a place to visit and enjoy and ultimately have a chance to taste some freshly pressed juice from fruit grown locally.”