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

National Allotments Week 2020 10 August till 16 August.

Every Week is National Allotments Week!

Our theme for 2020 will be Growing Food for Health and Well-being, a reflection of the many benefits of growing, cooking and eating your own fruit and vegetables.

Our annual campaign week due to take place from 10 to 16 August 2020 has been disrupted by the present Coronavirus Emergency. It is very possible that even in August we will still be being asked to socially distance to some extent and it would be irresponsible of us at the moment to ask associations to plan Open Days and events that encourage people to congregate. However, we can still promote the many benefits of allotment life in other ways and stay safe. Here is a great example from the East Midlands.

Royal Oak Allotment Court Association and Outside the Cave, a health and well-being project in Edwinstowe have set a gardening challenge for kids. They will be providing children with a pack of runner bean seeds, sunflowers and some salad crops - all easy to grow in small spaces and pots. They will also have easy to follow instructions on how to plant and grow and some fun and educational activity sheets for the children to fill in including journalling, recording measurements and drawing challenges. They are offering a delivery service for those people isolating. We can share pictures and videos showing how we are all getting on and, in the process, grow some delicious food, hopefully inspiring a new generation of gardeners.

Allotments have a vital role to play for every plot-holder to help them stay mentally and physically healthy; especially in these anxiety inducing times. We recently received an email from NAS Member Robin who told us just how much his plot helps him deal with life.

“I rent an allotment in the West Midlands and I suffer from depression and anxiety but working my plot really helps to relieve the anxiety and lift my moods. I love the feeling it gives me being down there in the open- air, nice exercise and the sense of joy and achievement when I harvest something I have grown from seed. My counsellor recommends me going there as it occupies my mind and stops me festering on dark thoughts and other issues and gives me a sense of purpose and an aim in a day.”

Robin will also benefit from eating fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables and the easy social contact (if at a 2-meter distance) on the site, not to mention the beneficial microbes in the soil!

So, this growing season let’s make every week National Allotments Week – email with news of projects and schemes, from growing at home with your children to looking after your neighbour's plot while they self- isolate ; tell us about it and we will let the world know just how wonderful allotments and allotmenteers are!

Photographer Rob Stewart from the East Midlands has very kindly allowed us to share his photo essay about Allotments and Mental Health.

A Shared Harvest - in 2019 we celebrated the Shared Harvest from our precious plots. Washbrook Allotments in Leicester make donations to the nearby South Wigston food bank. The practice began in 2016, following a chance meeting between a committee member and the food bank manager through the National Gardens Scheme. The bank provides bread loaf trays for surplus produce, and these are collected every Sunday from the Society’s trading hut, where donating has become an integral part of allotment life. Click here for more case studies

Click here for some good practice tips when growing crops to share.

National Allotments Week started in 2002 as a way of raising awareness of allotments and the role they play in helping people to live healthier lifestyles, grow their own food, develop friendships and bolster communities. The campaign week is still thriving 18 years later and interest in growing your own fruit and vegetables has never been stronger since the WW2 Grow for Victory campaign.

The NAS aims to protect, promote and preserve allotments and we call on all those who value allotments to support us in this endeavour, we can all do our part-

  • Allotment associations - protect your site, register as a community asset. Allotment Federations -keep allotments in the public eye, make sure they are mentioned in the Local Plan and lobby your councillors and MPs. Click here to read more about Community Rights
  • Councils preserve and value your allotment service – it has the potential to deliver some of your public health targets.
  • Plot-holders -join the National Allotment Society and support your regional allotment network to promote the allotment movement.
  • Aspiring plot-holders - do not be put off by the thought of a long wait – sign up for a plot now; without waiting lists allotment authorities cannot assess demand.

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