Seen at The Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Allotment Good News Continues


Last week the National Trust announced it's going to make 1,000 allotments available on its properties. Demand for allotments is soaring (100,000 nationwide apparently) and it appears all sorts of initiatives are starting up in an effort to meet it. I've already reported on the new allotments in nearby Bradford on Avon and according to our local TV news a number of farmers here in the south-west are starting up similar schemes. I wonder if this is because after two poor summers, they're needing to find an additional income, but the current low demand for new properties means developers aren't sniffing around willing to buy up their land.

The Trust are the latest to sign up to Landshare, a great initiative set up by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. This aims to match landowners with spare land with people who want to grow their own, but don't have the land to do so. About 40 National Trust properties will be involved across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, in addition to those like my local Lacock Abbey which already has allotments in its walled garden. If it proves popular, they may well release more land into the scheme. National Trust visitors needn't worry, the Trust won't be spoiling those lovely garden views you've come to expect. On the whole, derelict land previously used for cultivation or tucked away will be used for the scheme.

Hopefully this good news will spread to Chippenham. The waiting list for an allotment here now stands at 100 (it was 70 last summer - both figures are from previous anonymous comments I've had on my blog) - it would be great if someone could make some land available to meet our town's continuing demands for grow your own.

Update 26/2: Jane Perrone's come up trumps in The Guardian today. I wanted to write about the Garden Share and canal barge growing schemes which I'd read about previously, but hadn't found anything to link to for this piece. Now I can, so there's even more allotment good news to share with you :)

9 comments:

  1. I heard about this at the weekend from a fellow plot holder and it sounds a fantastic idea. With the world the way it is at the moment this kind of thing should be pushed as high profile as possible in my opinion. :)

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  2. VP, your first paragraph made me think. I do you think that some landowners (not NT) are hoping that if they get change of land use to allotments, that will make it easier to get planing permission to build house at some time in the future! Cynical I know but...

    I do think increasing allotments is a good idea but so many have been sold of for building land.

    Best wishes Sylvia

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  3. That's good news indeed. Let's hope the trend continues and more people get a chance to get their own plots soon.

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  4. Paul & Melanie - crikey you're back! Good to see you :)

    Sylvia - I don't think so. Round here the farms have gone straight from being farms to being built on. And we bought one of the resultant houses!

    Susan - I do hope so. 100,000 is a lot about a third as many allotments as we have at the moment

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  5. Hi VP. I'd heard about Hugh Fearnley-Whatsits Landshare thing and think it's an excellent idea, but good on the National Trust too for making allotment space available - I reckon that's worth my membership fee for this year on its own!

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  6. All good news in the current economic clime. I don't know whether you have heard about this campaign VP but it may be of interest to you :
    http://www.wewillifyouwill.org/
    I have requested further information. Love the scarecrow - does it belong you ?

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  7. What an intriguing idea, the land allotments for growing gardens. Since adulthood, I have lived rather rural, no problem about land, except too much of it. :) Too far to town. We did more veg gardening when we lived in the suburbs. I have heard of similar reclaiming of empty plots springing up in cities across the US. People are so clever really.

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  8. Yay! Funding for community gardens is awesome. My mom, who grew up in Hamburg, Germany, was always reminiscing about the joyful times she spent with her grandparents in their Schrebergarten, but never explained what it was. From watching Corrie, I knew what allotments were (remember Jack & Vera used to have one?)... and it all kind of clicked. In the U.S. we call them community gardens, where each person rents their own little piece of paradise. Full circle, ohm!

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  9. Nutty Gnome - I agree!

    Anna - I must check that out as you always rootle out good stuff. No the scarecrow's from a few plots away. Jack (4) insisted his parent's plot should have a couple of people and got the whole street involved in making them!

    CurtissAnn. Sigh. We could all do with some of your land. I'm always envious of everyone's large gardens across the pond.

    Monica - yep, you've got it! And you used to watch Corrie...

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