This year the National Allotment Society (NAS) is Plotting for the Future and celebrating the contribution that allotments make to a sustainable future, by being economical with resources, caring for the land and supporting a balanced eco-system. We would like to take this opportunity to applaud all those gardeners and plot-holders who:
- Recycle and re-use throw away items
- Support bio-diversity and feed the soil
- Share their food growing knowledge with others
- Make compost and mulch the soil
- Harvest rainwater
- Have reduced pesticide and herbicide use
We would also like to mention the Plotters of the Future, young people who visit the plot with their parents or school group. These children will have planted seeds and watch a crop develop and are much more likely to do well at school, establish healthy eating habits and care for the environment in the future. The young growers who have got in touch with us here at the National Allotment Society have shown such dedication and enthusiasm – excited by the food growing skills they have acquired and their knowledge of the natural world.
Another round of applause goes to those councils creating or promoting new sites to cater for the present increase in demand for plots and the far-sighted housebuilding companies creating allotments along with new housing developments. Rose Sandell, Group Communities Director at housebuilder Redrow, has told us:
“Our research* shows that proximity to green space is the most sought-after community feature when searching for a new home, a bigger priority even than being close to local transport routes and supermarkets and shops. Green spaces come in all shapes and sizes and allotments provide a host of benefits for the communities they serve.
“They are an increasingly important deliverable alongside our new homes as they encourage users to enjoy the outdoors, get active in the fresh air and spend time in nature, as well as promoting a more nutritious diet through own-grown fruit and vegetables. We are committed to creating more opportunities for people to get closer to nature and enjoy the resulting benefits. Allotments have the advantage of encouraging pollinator species and are an ideal location for beehives and other wildlife friendly areas.
“Over the next two years we will be creating just over six hectares of allotment space, the equivalent of up to 1,000 quarter-sized allotment plots for the use of local people, within or close to our new developments. To help visualise this, that’s around 10 football pitches of new space dedicated to growing fruit and vegetables, providing a haven for people and wildlife.**
“We are finding allotments are increasingly in demand as people become more aware of the benefits of growing their own produce. As a result, the local authorities we work with at the planning stage to deliver new communities are flagging them more frequently than previous as a key feature people would like to see delivered alongside new homes. Our expectation is that they will continue to be a valuable neighbourhood amenity in the years ahead.”
It’s clear that Redrow and the other homebuilders providing allotments have seen the long term benefits to communities of having access to a space to grow your own. We sincerely hope that this will continue and allotments will be seen as a vital part of any new housing developments. In recent months there has also been an increase in the number of requests for help and support from councils wanting to expand their allotment portfolio and enable their residents to access allotment growing and Plot for the Future.
About the National Allotment Society
The National Allotment Society is the only national organisation which campaigns for the rights of allotment holders across the UK; protecting, promoting and preserving allotments for all. It is a not-for-profit organisation that provides free legal advice, a bespoke benefits package and the services of a regional representative to its members. To find out more visit www.nsalg.org.uk