Slow Food UK (SFUK) launched their Orchard Project at the BBC Good Food Show in London on Friday, with the intention of connecting local convivia and communities through the rediscovery of Great Britain’s heritage orchards.
Aiming to increase awareness of heirloom fruits across the UK – including apples, perry pears and pears – promote sustainability and produce from the local terroir, SFUK is encouraging communities nationwide to help the project grow by recording the location and details of existing orchards in their local area.
This information, being collected via a survey on the SFUK website (www.slowfood.org.uk), will help identify where there is a need to re-establish forgotten varieties of fruit – either through new community orchards or school gardens – which have been lost through the increasing importation of fruits from abroad over recent years.
The data will also provide a base for the SFUK website ‘knowledge bank’, which will offer information on orchard maintenance, educational worksheets, traditional customs and recipes.
Slow Food UK Director, Sue Miller, commented: ‘It is important to create awareness through education. Engaging the community, especially children, is the key to bringing the importance of our food heritage into homes. Through young people and working with schools we can reach families and connect them with our convivia and their local food heritage’.
The project received great interest from schools and national organizations at the BBC fair. In addition the Slow Food Pavilion featured a series of Taste Workshops and showcased the good, clean and fair foods from award-winning producers like: Farmer Sharp – naturally-reared Herdwick lamb and mutton from the Lake District (Slow Food Ark of Taste product); Pedigree Pork Producers – bacon & faggots from native pig breeds; Holker Farm Dairy – raw ewe’s milk cheese from Cumbria; England Preserves – artisan heritage fruit preserves and chutneys from London & Kent; and Richard Haward Oysters – native oysters from Colchester (Slow Food Ark of Taste product).
Photo:Slow Food Bedford