Apple Day at Roots and Shoots

It's Apple Day at Roots and Shoots--a double celebration. Firstly, Apple Days--every autumn there are a string of Apple Days held all over Britain which focus on the heritage of English apples. There are over 2,000 kinds of apples growing in small orchards across the country and in 1990 this special day was created to draw attention to the loss of the orchards and local varieties of apples. Apple bobbing, a hit with the younger set, creating the longest apple peel, making dolls out of straw, identifying the mystery apples and enjoying the brisk autumn air are the typical activities for the day.

And on Blog Action Day 2008, a tribute to the work of Roots and Shoots. It is a community garden which provides vocational training for young people from the inner city. Started as a charity 25 years ago, up to twenty 16 - 19 year olds, all with educational or social problems, spend a year at the school. Here they are offered courses, counselling, a work allowance and support to prepare themselves for a job in horticulture or retail sales.

Located in the rough east end of London, the site was formally a factory and it has been transformed into a wild garden and study centre. It is a tamed but natural garden with all kinds of plants, ponds, insects and flowers flourishing with the help of the students. The London Beekeepers’ Association runs beekeeping courses and taster days.

There is a shop selling ethical foods including the honey from the beekeepers. Apple juice is pressed on site and is also sold there and there are also plant sales. Students work there and gain retail experience as well as the social skills needed to work in that sector.

For the students, horticulture courses are offered, leading to a certificate. There are also computer courses and life skills courses. Counselling is available and a travel allowance. Apprenticeships with local employers are also arranged whenever possible.

The building, constructed in 2005, is very green. It is built with wood from sustainable sources, and has sheep’s wool insulation and a sedum roof. Photovoltaic panels, generate electricity with some left over to sell through the National Grid. Rainwater is collected for the bathrooms and used to water plants. Roots and Shoots
More on Bloggers Action Day and Apple Days
English Apple Days
Blog Action Day 2008
Apple Day 2008

Tags: Community Gardens | Green Building | Green Roofs | Local Food