People love their allotments. Mine is a space to relax, reconnect with nature, grow food, eat healthily, meet people, swap ideas and feel part of a community. The whole package.

However, like Norman (see Autumn THRIVE magazine), our present allotment committee destroyed that. Self-managing systems are easily corrupted and misused. It’s made me think. 

Is it morally right to have limited plots, dominated by a small group of financially secure people, during a food poverty crisis?

Tough question I know! But should allotments be repurposed?

We have an allotment shop that sells vegetables and garden plants, mainly to the financially secure residents. Unfortunately, some allotments have become a “middle-class” hobby. Flowers are grown simply for home gardens (not for bees), and multiple sheds full of firewood are kept for log burners in affluent homes. Minimal food is grown. 

Committee members have multiple plots on one allotment or across different associations, even when plots are not used fully/ are full of weeds. Should anyone have multiple allotment plots?

Claver Hill was created privately, by individuals passionate about community. Equipment, work and produce is shared by everyone. It’s fantastic and perhaps offers another model rather than being unable to acquire an allotment due to long waiting lists. Should people have to wait 5-10 years on waiting lists? Waiting lists are sometimes managed by unscrupulous committee members! (I’ve seen it happen).

It’s been tough trying to prevent committee members from taking my allotment off me. Which made me wonder about other ways to use allotment spaces. Would the idea be welcomed for our allotments to be used by our community? Where everyone can grow and share food, with a clear emphasis on helping those in food poverty.

The present system is too elite/restrictive and sites are often guarded by fences to keep out communities.

So, my answer: Yes, I would happily see my allotments turned into a community space like Claver Hill. The council have a great opportunity to correct a failing system, and create a system that actively reduces food poverty in our area.

I would lose my allotment, but I would gain a wonderful caring community right on my doorstep run by a completely new set of people, with a completely new vision.

I would do it in a heartbeat. Would you?

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