Fergus Walker said: “It’s about starting a cultural conversation about apples – and wider biodiversity and food sovereignty issues. Why do our apples come from Chile? What’s the story behind our own apple varieties and how can we resurrect them?”
The project, led by the Fife Diet’s Fergus Walker, celebrates diversity in the face of contemporary monoculture, and reconnects communities with their apple-history.
Launching this Wednesday in Galloway, the Seed Truck will weave its way across Scotland planting each of the seven orchards in the next few weeks. Each orchard has a particular tree chosen for the tale that it tells. In Sutherland it is the Coul Blush, Scotland’s most northerly apple; in Moray the Beauty of Moray, and in Angus the Chivers Delight tells of the history of the Chivers jam factory that was a pioneer of industrial food production. In the Carse of Gowrie we’ll be planting the Bloody Ploughman, the red-fleshed apple named after the unfortunate ploughman caught scrumping at Wemyss castle and shot by the gamekeeper; in Lothian, at Hawthornden Primary school we will plant the Hawthornden apple, in the Borders we will plant the White Melrose at Melrose Abbey, where the variety was originally raised. The apple tour kicks off this Wednesday with the Galloway Pippin.
The project, which aims to connect community groups and schools up and down the land, reconnects rare heritage apple varieties with the people and places of their origin, it retells stories that have laid hidden and it speaks to the need for diversity in food against the modern trends of monocrop and uniform taste owned and sold by a handful of giant companies.
Food and food growing belongs to us all. By meeting old friends like Thorle Pippin, Arbroath Oslin, Tam Jeffrey, Cutler Grieve and the Lemon Queen we’re reconnecting with a food heritage and, in practical terms, planting diversity back into the ground.
Each orchard will be looked after by a local team who will be trained and supported to do so.
1. The Seed Truck is a joint project between WWF Scotland and the Fife Diet, supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
2. The Silver Bough by F Marian McNeill is a classic of Scottish folklore. The Silver Bough of the sacred apple tree, laden with crystal blossoms or golden fruit, is the equivalent in Celtic mythology of the Golden Bough of classic mythology. Story-telling will be an intrinsic part of the project.
Wednesday 26th February: Auchencairn Link Allotments and Auchencairn Primary, Galloway
Tuesday 4th March: Hawthornden Primary (with Mondo Loco Foundation), Bonnyrigg, West Lothian
Melrose Abbey (Historic Scotland with Greener Melrose), Borders
Wednesday 5th of March: Errol Primary School, Carse of Gowrie
Montrose Academy, Angus
Tuesday 11th March: Culag Community Woodlands, Lochinver, Sutherland
Wednesday 12th March: Transition Town Forres, Moray
4. Full list of apple varieties:
Beauty of Moray
Eve Apple (a.k.aManks Codlin)
Tower Of Glamis
Tam Montgomery (a.k.a. Early Julyan)
Lass O Gowrie
Lady of the Wemyss
Port Allen Russet
East Lothian Pippin