A national survey carried out last year showed that even though the numbers on waiting lists has dropped slightly, there is still a high demand for allotments.
There seems to have been little increase in supply of local allotments with only 939 new plots brought into use by local authorities, providing only about 1% of the number of people on waiting lists with a growing space.
The benefits of growing your own are well established and range from providing a sustainable food supply to giving a healthy activity for people of all ages, providing access to nature and wildlife, acting as a resource for biodiversity and not to mention reducing carbon emissions through avoiding the long-distance transport of food.
If you are one of the hundreds of people in the China Clay area who have been patiently
waiting for an allotment space to become available then you will be pleased to learn about an alternative. Local garden owners and keen fruit and veg growers are being asked to come forward and register their interest in participating in Growing Together. Growing Together is the new China Clay garden share project that matches people who live in the area who have spare garden space or unused greenhouses with other local people who would like to grow their own but don’t have enough space.
Andrea, the project co-ordinator, and a keen gardener herself, explained how it works:
“We are building a list of people with spare space and also a list of potential growers and we try to match them up. Growers & landowners have a variety of ideas as to how and what they are willing to share and the matching service ensures the needs of both parties are met”.
“Growing Together carries out various checks to make sure that people are introduced safely; and once people have been ‘introduced’ and are happy with the match they are able to agree their own rules at which point Growing Together will provide templates to help draw up an agreement so that everyone is clear about expectations”.
Andrea went on to explain: ”We also help the new growers get started by providing starter packs which include seeds and tools and then support them by offering access to a toolbank, book reference library, training sessions and events. By providing all this Growing Together aims to get people of all ages and abilities involved in growing their own.”
Funding for the project means that membership for garden sharers will be enjoyed free of charge for the first year. Members will get access to the matching service, CRB checks, garden share templates, insurance, starter packs, seeds, tools, books, training courses and events. After the initial free membership sharers will be asked to pay just £10 annually which the project organisers feel is excellent value, considering a small food bed could save afamily a considerable amount of money as what would cost as little as £50 to grow could cost over £1000 to buy in a supermarket.