MSPs joined experts, professionals, and academics from Scotland’s horticulture sector at the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday, May 10, at a reception to discuss the future of the industry in relation to the well-being economy, the environment, planning, and health.
Hosted by the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) and sponsored by Christine Graham MSP, the event celebrated the HTA’s recently published Scottish Environmental Horticulture Growth Strategy, which sets out ambitions to develop green economic growth, high-quality jobs and investment in education and skills in Scotland.
The HTA believes that this is a challenging time for the industry with the cost of doing business and mounting regulation, but it is also a crucial time for utilizing environmental horticulture as a solution to policy initiatives in Holyrood. For example, as a way to reduce air pollution and mitigate flooding in towns and cities.
Christine Graham, MSP, who sponsored the event, gave an engaging talk on her personal connection to horticulture, highlighting just how important gardens and local green spaces had been for her and her constituent's mental and physical well-being throughout the pandemic.
Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands, Mairi Gougeon MSP, delivered a keynote address at the event and expressed her commitment to working with the HTA and the wider industry. She spoke at length of her support for the strategy, noting Environmental Horticulture as crucial to achieving Scotland’s Biosecurity Strategy and the Environment Strategy for Scotland.
Speaking on the evening, the Cabinet Secretary said: “Scotland’s environmental horticulture sector makes a significant contribution to our national economy, including creating green jobs, and that is rightly being acknowledged at today’s reception.
“Delivering a well-being economy is a key focus of the Scottish Government under our new First Minister, and the horticultural industry certainly has its place in helping us achieve that.”
MSPs attending the reception were invited to pledge to plant a tree in their local communities, which will be sponsored by the MSP’s local HTA member.
James Barnes, HTA chairman, said: “Horticulture and landscaping supported contributions of £2.8bn towards GDP and over 64,000 jobs in Scotland in 2019. This has the potential to rise significantly by 2030 if the industry and key stakeholders work together now.
“There is huge potential for the environmental horticulture sector in Scotland, which can benefit the economy, increase biodiversity, mitigate climate change and support people’s well-being, both physically and mentally.”
The Scottish Environmental Horticulture Growth Strategy was written in conjunction with HTA colleagues, members, and the Scottish Government and invites stakeholders to engage with seven ambitions that showcase the benefits of environmental horticulture.
Stan Green, Director of the HTA’s Scotland Policy Board and Managing Director of Growforth Nursery, said: “Scotland has the heritage and the further educational establishments to develop the skills needed to unlock green growth from environmental horticulture. I’m really pleased to have been able to discuss our vision for Scottish horticulture at Wednesday’s reception and look forward to working with the Scottish Government to deliver our ambitions.”
For more information
Horticultural Trades Association