All posts tagged: environment

If there was a “most doused in pesticides contest,” apples would win, says Mark Kastel, former executive for agribusiness and codirector of the Cornucopia Institute, a farm-policy research group that supports organic foods.

Why? As apples are individually grafted (descended from a single tree) each variety maintains its distinctive flavor. As such, apples don’t develop resistance to pests and are sprayed frequently. The industry maintains that these residues are not harmful.

Kastel comments that it’s just common sense to minimize exposure by avoiding the most doused produce, like apples. “Farm workers have higher rates of many cancers,” he says. And increasing numbers of studies are starting to link a higher body burden of pesticides (from all sources) with Parkinson’s disease.

The solution: Buy organic apples. If you can’t afford organic, be sure to wash and peel them first.

To be organic, apples must come from orchards in which no pesticides have been used. One major producer has launched a scheme to have as much as 1,000 acres of old traditional orchards registered as organic with the Soil Association in the UK.

Read 7 foods experts won’t eat at Shine

Are you doing your bit?

Fruit is good for us, and not just for our health. We could all do something to help to conserve orchards, keeping and creating them as places for fruit, people and wildlife.

Eat your view!

Local fruit producers, particularly small, specialist growers – need our support. Buying local fruit and products:

  • Helps to safeguard local jobs
  • Saves energy by reducing the distance food has to travel
  • Assists local and British fruit species to survive
  • Sustains a local landscape feature
Apple Orchard

Apple Orchard at harvest time

Plant a new orchard

Many people are now looking to establish their own orchards, and area seeking traditional varieties of fruit to plant either on their own land, or in a community orchard.

Join a community orchard

In the past, orchards were the focus of village life, where families and people of all ages would come together for village meetings, festivals and fairs. Orchards are once more  becoming a local community focus, a way of bringing together busy people, young and old, newcomers and long-standing residents. The community orchard scheme helps to preserve old orchards and to create new ones for the benefit of wildlife and enjoyment of local people.

Common Ground has a ‘Community Orchards Handbook’ contains all sorts of useful guidance for groups considering starting an orchard project, including sections on writing a constitution, dealing with health and safety, insurance and tackling leases.

Care for an old orchard

An orchard may be large and productive or just a collection of a few trees in a pasture or garden. Sensitive management can balance the aims of fruit growing, amenity, landscape and wildlife. Even if the orchard is not currently producing fruit, careful pruning and remedial treatment can produce a good crop.