Earlier this week we saw many households across the country observe darkness in remembrance and reflection of World War I.
Britain declared war on Germany and the repercussions to those on the fields and those left at home were vast. One thing I didn’t know was that this and the food shortages that followed sparked the creation of the local authority allotments that we know today.
These havens provided not only food but respite and little has changed in that respect. They provide food – OK it may be a bit small compared to what we are used to seeing in the supermarket or perhaps mis-shapen or gnarly every now and then, but the abundance of produce I’ve had from my allotment takes my breath away.
Respite and care. Terms modern day social working uses that bring to mind care homes. They should rather portray modern day allotment projects as these are helping to combat challenges facing our 21st century ageing population – depression and obesity caused as a result of solitude and social isolation create a £15 billion spend for the NHS according to the National Allotment Society. Could the emotional resilience, exercise and community spirit allotments provide make a dent in this?
I believe they could. I see it every time I visit my allotment. A quick 15 minute watering trip takes me over an hour because I can’t resist having a chat with my neighbours, seeing what they are up to and taking on board a few tips. I see the elderly gents putting in 6-7 hours a day on allotments that would put some commercial growers to shame.
My girls too are learning so much about growing and sharing, working hard and trial and error. They’ve seen projects fail and bloom. Hard work resulting in limp gladioli, tiny strawberries or bug infested beans despite the scarecrows.
So some pleas whether you are an allotment holder or not…
These perfect little community spaces are few and far between but so many across the country are in danger of being sold off to property development. So a few pleas from me for what it’s worth…
- If you want an allotment, please persevere. It took us three years after we applied to get that call but it was worth the wait.
- If you have an allotment, join the National Allotment Society and get involved with their networks to promote the movement.
- If you work for a local council, please, please preserve the allotments in your patch.