Scottish Horticulture Action Plan impresses politicians
The Action Plan was presented at Holyrood in Edinburgh on 29 March and presents ways that Scottish horticulture can support education, health and well-being, the environment, the economy and tourism.
Neil Cummings, business manager for the HTA and chairman of the horticulture panel which represents 28 organisations and businesses across Scotland, said there was lots of support from MSPs including representatives from Scottish Government on the day, plus great speeches from sponsor Christine Grahame MSP, who is also deputy presiding officer at Holyrood, HTA horticulture head Raoul Curtis-Machin and Ben Reid Garden Centre's Simon Fraser.
The Scottish Horticultural Action Plan, highlighting the contribution of parks and gardens to the wider Scottish economy, sets out 10 asks of Scottish Government and pledges to support them in achieving these asks. The Plan focuses on 5 key areas where horticulture has a significant role to play. These are Education, Health/Well-Being, Environment, Economy and Tourism.
By 2022, the aim is to:
- Ensure all school children have the opportunity to grow plants and garden, in order to learn more about the environment and understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle;
- Develop an attractive web portal for careers promotion, nurturing our skills pipeline alongside other land-based career options;
- Increase our economic contribution by half a million pounds and create 300 new jobs;
- Develop proven low-cost horticulture-based solutions to treating mental health and other health challenges;
- Ensure more Scottish-grown trees and plants are used in public procurement projects by engaging sooner in the process;
- Support communities to create community gardens in areas where they do not currently exist;
- Hosting a National Gardening Week to promote garden tourism in Scotland.
Cummings added: ‘‘It has been such a long journey but finally today after years of discussions, debates and changes the Scottish Horticulture Action Plan has now been launched."
David Knott, Curator of Living Collections, at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, said: "This Horticultural Action Plan highlights the significant contribution parks and gardens make to the wider Scottish economy and also recognises the wider benefits of plants to the environment and our education, health and well-being in Scotland."
A copy of the action plan has been hand-delivered to each of the 129 MSPs at Holyrood.
Cummings said "It has been incredibly hard work to bring such diverse organisations together to deliver a document that promotes all areas of Horticulture, but it is one we are all very proud of. However, the real work starts here. The panel will now go forward to work in partnership with Scottish Government to deliver the many asks and pledges. Together we will help to move Horticulture to the forefront."
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