Mrs Everybody has just signed up for an allotment in her area. Due to the severe shortage of allotments she won’t be rushing out to buy her wheelbarrow just yet – it might rust before a plot becomes available!

By law, families have the right to grow sufficient food for their needs. It is legally incumbent on the local council to provide this opportunity. There is unfortunately a national under-provision of allotments, pressure to build on allotment sites and worst of all, new housing provision without allotments.

Dig for Victory Allotment Plan

Dig for Victory Allotment Plan

If all the people who genuinely want a plot do sign up, the council would need to prioritize allotment provision. The ability to grow our own food is extremely important. Don’t be deterred by the long waiting lists, but show your council that you would like a plot. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if all of our towns and cities were garden cities and everyone was a gardener!

Why Are Allotments Brilliant?

Gardening and growing your own is a pleasure for the whole family!
Gardening is a very health giving and educational leisure activity.
You can grow the plants and herbs you love to eat and bring fresh and organic food to your kitchen
Save money growing top quality food.
Keep life skills alive and pass them on to friends and family.
Keeping your allotment is very social with lots of sharing and caring.
Allotments are great habitats and corridors for wildlife offering far more biodiversity than parks.
On many allotments, you can keep chickens, rabbits and bees.
Any adult can rent an allotment and there are even allotments designed for wheelchair users.

A standard allotment plot is about 250 sq.m, although many smaller plots are available. “Originally, plots were measured in square rods. 1 rod = 5.5 yards (reputedly the distance from the back of the plough to the nose of the oxen!). Therefore a square rod (in which allotments are measured is 30.25 sq yards) thus a standard 10 rod plot is 302.5 sq yards = 2722.5 sq ft.” Source Many councils have started offering smaller plots.

Claim your Allotment!

“Allotments have been in existence for hundreds of years, with evidence pointing back to Anglo-Saxon times. But the system we recognize today has its roots in the Nineteenth Century, when land was given over to the labouring poor for the provision of food growing. This measure was desperately needed thanks to the rapid industrialization of the country and the lack of a welfare state. In 1908 the Small Holdings and Allotments Act came into force, placing a duty on local authorities to provide sufficient allotments, according to demand.

If there appears to be no allotments in your area, then we recommend you find five like minded people who would like an allotment and are registered council tax payers. Then individually and collectively, submit a formal letter to the local council. Send one (you can put all six letters in one envelope) by recorded delivery and one hand delivered, with at least two witnesses present. All local authorities have a mandatory obligation to provide allotment provision under Section 23 of the 1908 Small Holdings and Allotments Act. (But be warned there is no time scale attached to this process and unfortunately this process cannot be used in London, as the rule only applies outside of the capital thanks to the London Government Act 1963.)

If you have no luck with the local authority and established private landlords, then your next step might have to be a sideways one… look around your neighbourhood and see if you can spot any vacant land which would make a good allotment. Find out who owns the land and ask away, it might just be possible that you can use it for growing.” source http://www.nsalg.org.uk/allotment-info/how-to-get-an-allotment/

Also it is worth checking gardening societies in your area, as other private or charity owned plots might be available too. Equally if you have a few acres of land that you don’t know what to do with, you could consider starting up a local community allotment?