Allotment Garden Revival in England
- Subject: [cg] Allotment Garden Revival in England
- From: Adam36055@aol.com
- Date: Fri, 23 Apr 2004 17:34:42 +0100
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Fruits of your labours
By John Ives
IN TODAY'S choked, grey towns and cities, a growing army of people is choosing to return to nature and get its hands dirty.
Allotments were once the sole preserve of the flat-capped old man with a well-worn spade and muddy wellies.
Now they're holding their own in the face of housing developers and their bulldozers - and attracting a trendy new breed of green-fingered fans.
More than a quarter of a million of us now grow our own vegetables on our own little plot of land, according to government figures - and young women are the fastest growing group of allotment gardeners. Deborah Burn is one of them.
As development officer at the Allotments Regeneration Initiative (ARI), she has noted a growing interest in allotment gardening in recent years.
"I've been a plot-holder for eight years and I can't think of a better way to spend my spare time," says Deborah, 36.
"The traditional image of the male allotment holder who might be older is starting to change.
"Younger women are getting involved - not necessarily professionals, but maybe women with families.
"Black and minority ethnic groups are also getting involved, as well as community groups and schools, and people with physical and mental health needs."
Geoff Stokes, national secretary of the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners (NSALG), agrees that there's an allotment renaissance going on.
"There seems to be a marked increase in the number of people wanting them," he explains.
"We're seeing a change in the type of people taking allotments. It was always thought of as land for the labouring poor, but that's changed." Stokes says there are many reasons why allotment gardening is so popular: "They include wanting to be out in the fresh air, exercise, being close to nature, growing fresh organic produce, and knowing what's gone into what you're eating."
Certainly organic food seems to be a big draw for many newcomers.
Sally Smith, from organic supporters the Henry Doubleday Research Association, says growing your own produce is a cheap and accessible way to eradicate chemicals from your diet.
"Nutritionally speaking, it has been shown that conventionally-grownfood may be lacking in certain trace elements.
"More people want to know where their food has been grown and what has gone into it."
The benefits of allotments haven't escaped the Government.
ARI's Deborah Burn says: "The message has gone out that allotments are a sustainable facet of urban life, and that's been picked up by the Government, the NHS and regional trusts as a way of promoting healthy living.
"So the future is very bright for allotments."
Check out the following link.
Make sure you visit http://icberkshire.icnetwork.co.uk
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