LOST THE PLOT: Why are people waiting over a decade for allotments?

The demand for allotments has reached a record high, with some people waiting up to 17 years for a plot – and waiting lists longer than ever before. 

The small parcels of land, which are rented to people for the purpose of growing crops, have been around since at least the 1600s and played a key role in feeding Brits during major wars.

In World War Two, the government launched the ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign to encourage Brits to pick up a shovel and grow their own fruit and vegetables at a time when rations were scarce. 

While interest has been steadily growing in recent years, the pandemic has fuelled an even greater desire. 

“The demand for allotments even before the pandemic was rocketing. During the pandemic it has skyrocketed,” said Regional Representative for London of The National Allotment Society, Terry Dickinson.

Dickinson, who is also a member of Chadwell Heath Small Holdings Society Ltd allotment in East London’s Redbridge added: 

“In certain parts of the country, demand for allotments has gone up by 500%. In Inner London, there is great concentration, great demand. Sometimes when you reach the outer edges, there might be an easing off. 

“The waiting list on my allotment has quadrupled in the last year. There is vast pent up demand.”

North Londoner Ziggi Ward waited for a staggering 17 years before she was offered to rent a plot at her local council-owned Evershot Road Allotments in Crouch End in April this year.

“It’s the gift that keeps on giving, it’s rewarding on so many levels. Mentally it’s wonderful because it’s so peaceful, you get totally lost in the plants and the weeding and everything you need to do,” she said.

In light of National Awareness Week which took place between August 8 and August 15, South West London spoke to those part of the booming allotment movement to find out why demand is so high. 

You can read the full story here.

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