The National Allotment Society - National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners Ltd

Benefits of allotment gardening

In a recent survey of our members nearly every person said their love of allotment gardening comes from the fresh air, home grown produce, healthy lifestyle and like-minded people this activity offers.

Did you know that just 30 minutes of gardening on your allotment can burn around 150 calories, the same as doing low impact aerobics?

If managed properly, an allotment can produce enough food to supplement a family's weekly shop, with fresh fruit and vegetables over the year. This does require hard work and dedication but even the smallest crop grown, is money saved from the supermarket.

Spending as little as 15 minutes a day out in the summer sunshine can build up your levels of vitamin D, if you are fair skinned. And for those whose skin is naturally darker, anywhere up to 90 minutes of sun exposures will help your vitamin levels. So working your allotment can in effect help your body to ward of some illnesses and raise your serotonin levels, making you happier and healthier! But please be sensible and don’t forget about the risks of skin cancer, especially on very hot, sunny days.

In a survey we conducted in 1993, sadly most respondents said they have an allotment to cultivate their plots, garden for the satisfaction of growing but not to meet and socialise. Thankfully the past 20 odd years have seen a bit of a revolution, as now a quarter of people said they go to their allotment to socialise and for the camaraderie, and they grow because the food is fresh and tastes better.

Often being located near housing developments, allotments are essential habitats for wildlife. By cultivating an allotment you are helping to keep biodiversity levels buoyant. Without these ‘green corridors’ wildlife would become stranded by impassable concrete, meaning our ecosystem would suffer, crops yields would fall and the world would be a poorer place. Just 1 square metre of land can support hundreds of different species.

Even though supermarkets are making more of an effort to source local produce, you can’t beat growing your own; no longer will you be talking about food miles, but instead food metres.