Friday, 12 December 2014

Crazy Idea 25 - Plant oaks for England...

...and apple trees for Scotland, pear trees for Wales and cherry trees for Northern Ireland.

My thirteenth goal is to own an orchard. Orchards fascinate me, the idea of owning trees that produce edible fruit. (CI025A)

Most of you will have heard the story of Johnny Appleseed. A man who roamed America planting appleseeds wherever he went so that no-one would ever have to go hungry. It is an inspiring story even if it's not entirely accurate. (CI025B)

Allegedly Johnny (Real name John Chapman) was a shrewd business man who knew that planting an orchard was a way to demonstrate ownership of land. He planted apple seeds, not so people could eat the fruit but apparently so the apples could be made into cider and applejack. However, he did roam widely and planted in select locations which he guarded through simple fences. Then he returned to the planting sites to tend the growing trees and even to sell the trees and land on. (CI025C)

By the time of his death he is said to have owned over 1,200 acres of valuable land. Not bad for someone who traded in appleseeds.

John Chapman had a long term vision that enabled him to prosper. Another hero of mine is Admiral Lord Collingwood, a man who is said to have encouraged everyone to plant acorns for England. (CI025D)

Collingwood, a man whose story was usurped by Nelson yet without whom, it is likely England would have lost the battle of Trafalgar. (CI025E)

The Guardian had this to say about Collingwood back in 1910 on the anniversary of his death: "It was Collingwood, as everyone knows, who advised country gentlemen never to walk through their fields without a pocketful of acorns to drop in the hedge sides; if they did not, the time was not far distant when to keep our navy we should have to depend entirely upon captures from the enemy."

To have had such vision, to encourage the current generation to plant a seed that would take a century to mature so that ones grandchildren could benefit...

We need that sort of vision again. The vision to plant now so our children and grand children and great grand children will benefit.

I've lived in Scotland for most of my life and have never understood why we allow so many acres to remain barren of trees. I've been told that Scotland was once covered in forest. That hundreds of thousands of hectares of oak was torn down. If trees once grew on our land, why can't we plant them again?

There are many thousands of small plots of land in the UK where one or more fruit trees could be planted. Many areas where a wider variety of trees could be nurtured. Oak is just one of many hard wood trees that could benefit our descendants. Scottish Ash, Beech, Birch, Elm, Hornbeam, Larch, Lime, Sycamore, and Yew could also be grown more widely, each with their own unique properties. (CI025F)

At the beginning of the month I proposed we could create full employment as a crazy idea to fix the economy. We could employ thousands of people to plant orchards throughout the country. John Chapman may not have planted fruit trees for the poor but we could! (CI025G)

Do post your own crazy ideas or feedback on mine in the comments below and sign up to my mailing list below to be notified of future posts.

Why should my crazy ideas have any relevance to the economy? I'm the author of The Great Scottish Land Grab, a novel that imagines a fairer future for Scotland where the poor are empowered to change their destiny. I'm director of my own limited company: Goal 31 Ltd and I've over seven years experience working for government and financial organisations. Also, just like you, I'm a taxpayer and for some crazy reason I think that entitles us to have an opinion and for that opinion to be acted on by the government.

As I wrote at the start, I am making my 100 crazy ideas freely available. It seems unjust to propose ideas to fix the economy and then prevent people from freely reading those ideas. 100 Crazy Ideas to Fix the Economy will be published once the craziness is complete.

I can be found on Twitter: @my100goals or on Facebook: There's a short bio here.

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(CI025A; My 100 Goals;

(CI025B; Best Apples;

(CI025C; Jonathan Chapman. [Internet]. 2014. The website. Available from: [Accessed 10 Dec 2014].)


(CI025E; The Guardian;

(CI025F; Scottish Wood;

(CI025G; My 100 Goals;

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