Heirloom apple trees planted on campus

2 min read

Over the weekend, Harvard students, guided by Eric Chivian ’64, M.D. ’68, moved three heirloom apple saplings from the Harvard Community Garden to a permanent spot on campus, just behind Lowell House. The three heirloom varieties– a Baldwin, an Esopus Spitzenburg and a Roxbury Russet– were planted by the Center for Health and the Global Environment in honor of their 2011 Global Environmental Citizen Awardee, Gisele Bündchen.

Eric Chivian, director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment, who runs his own heirloom apple orchard in Petersham, Mass., was on-hand to oversee the transfer of the trees and give brief remarks, as was Garden Director Kathleen Frith.

“The amazing thing about apple trees is that the genetics are carried in the branch, not the seeds,” said Chivian. “These trees are actually genetic clones of the original tree dating back hundreds of years.”

“We all look forward to seeing these trees grow and bear fruit for the next hundred years here on campus,” said Frith, who is also managing director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment.

The trees are part of a larger food-growing project on campus, headed by the Harvard Community Garden. Implemented in the spring of 2010, the garden is a collaborative, University-wide project led by the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School and an undergraduate student group, working closely with Harvard University Hospitality and Dining Services, Landscape Services, the Graduate School of Design, the Office for Sustainability, the Harvard College Environmental Action Committee, and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. The garden is maintained by students year round, and aims to bring together members of the community to raise awareness about the critical role that food plays in our environment and our health.