National Allotments Week – 10 to 16 August 2015
A Plot for all Ages
Our NAW theme this year is designed to emphasise the benefits that allotments bring to everyone regardless of age or gender and to also highlight the fact that we need to value our remaining plots and preserve them for future generations to enjoy. The week will start with the opening of a pop-up allotment on Monday 10 August outside Plymouth Guild Hall during Plymouth Show week, be followed by local events at sites around the country Click here for details and conclude on the 16 August at the Summer Vegetable Weekend held by Barnsdale Gardens in the East Midlands. On this weekend Barnsdale Gardens open up the productive areas that are normally off-limits to visitors, and their expert growers will be available to advise you on your own veggie production and chat about their favourite subject!
Image:Isabelle Harris (3) busy on her plot in Chestergate Allotments, Bisley, Glos.
Earlier this year we also asked the allotment community to tell us about the wide range of people who garden on allotment sites and to let us know about the councils who have been working hard to develop their sites and provide a decent allotment service to their citizens. So far Chorley Council has received a special mention for the efforts that they have made to provide new sites, either on land they own themselves or in partnership with others but they are not alone, councils across the UK who appreciate the contribution allotments make to the health and well- being of their citizens are endeavouring to provide plots where they are needed.
We also asked about the oldest site - the majority of the local authority allotments we use today were created in the 20 century in response to food shortages in the two World Wars but allotments were originally a way of giving a means of growing food to the labouring rural poor, who were suffering as a result of the acceleration of enclosures of common land in the 18 century. However the oldest allotment site is still being debated; academic Jeremy Burchardt believes that it is at Long Newnton, Shipton Moyne (on the Gloucester/Wiltshire border) and dates circa 1795 but that is being challenged by another Gloucestershire site, the endangered Coombe allotments who claim to date back to 1763.
Many families wrote to us about taking their children down to the plot; Eva Coverley from Flitwick learnt to walk on her parents plot and may well be the youngest co-worker; 8 year old Emily Bradley from Chestergate Allotments in Bisley, Glos is pictured here with her delicious radishes and Wilfred (2) and Toby Phelby (5) below have just stopped for elevenses after a hard morning helping out their mum Kate on the same site.
The Graham family at Holgate Allotments in York have rented their plot since 1906 and John Graham is still gardening on it at the age of 93, the Stevens family took on plots in Bisley around the time of WW1 and Rob Stevens with his 8 year old son Archie still grows food there today. Frank from Lilford Allotments in Leigh has worked his plot for the last 60 years; there is more information about Frank and his plot in the next edition of the Allotment and Leisure Gardener magazine.
We are still looking for people to illustrate our theme and everyone who comes forward will be entered in to a prize draw with prizes donated by Kings Seeds, The Edible Garden Show and Home Farmer magazine.
· The oldest plot-holder
· The youngest plot-holder (16 and upwards)
· Youngest grower on parents plot
· The longest continuous family rental of a plot
· The oldest site
· The authority that has built the most new plots over the last 5 years
Email Marketing@nsalg.org.uk if you can help us with our search.
However there is a serious message behind the festivities of National Allotments Week and anyone who reads the press or watches social media will be aware that allotment sites are vulnerable to pressures from development and we do need to take steps now to prevent further erosion of our allotment supply. Click here for advice on how you can help to protect your site.