|SAGS is part of the Scottish Natural Heritage’s Garden for Life Forum. This June we were represented at the GardeningScotland Show at Ingliston, Edinburgh on “The Living Garden” stand. One of its key aim was to encourage people to make more sustainable choices in relation to gardening techniques and products used and that peoples’ perception of gardening in terms of the wider benefits increases.
The show garden, complete with mini allotment, recycled plastic decking, a wind turbine and a wildlife pond was awarded a bronze medal. SAGS representatives answered a stream of questions from where to find an allotment to what to grow on it. We even had some enquiries about allotments from overseas visitors!
Archive for June, 2007
A GROUND ATTACK
Jun 19 2007 Jenny Wood
A GROUNDSWELL of pressure is being forced on Perth and Kinross Council to meet the growing demands for local allotments.
The popularity of own-grown fruit and vegetables is soaring but residents hoping to dip their green fingers into the trend are falling at the first hurdle.
With demand for allotments outstripping the tiny supply in Perth and Kinross, anyone hoping to take on a plot faces a wait of several years for one to become free.
But while the local authority denied there is demand for allotments in the area — it also admitted it had not carried out any work to back the statement up.
Despite a pledge to the Scottish Executive four years ago to determine demand, the council has yet to honour its undertaking.
One allotment campaigner has issued a rallying call to put pressure on Perth and Kinross Council to make space for horticulture.
Sarah Tiller of Kinross told the PA: “We don’t have space to grow our own food so it would be great to have an allotment.
“There are a lot of new houses being built here and they have tiny gardens.”
Matthew Young, secretary of the Perth Working Men’s Garden Association allotment site on Moncrieffe Island, confirmed there is a shortage of local allotments and a huge demand for them.
Mr Young has the been the owner of a local allotment for 15 years and sympathised with Sarah’s campaign.
He said: “I think she has a case, but I don’t think she will get anywhere with the council. I don’t think they have the land.
“We have 71 allotments here and there are 24 people waiting for allotments. With a very slow turnover it could be two, even four, years before they get one.”
According to Mr Young, allotments have experienced a resurgence in the last few years.
“More women, particularly young women, have been in touch hoping for an allotment,” he said.
“And this has only happened in the last year or so with people getting more green and wanting fresh vegetables.”
Sarah’s plight has also attracted support from the Scottish Allotments and Gardens Society (SAGS).
Jenny Mollison of SAGS told the PA: “Allotments contribute to lots of different national agendas such as health, it keeps people fit and active, good for biodiversity and they are sociable places.
“We say that for every one person who has an allotment 20 people will benefit. It’s not a selfish activity.”
She explained some councils are better than others at finding ground for allotments, and added: “Most councils manage to plug away and find that little bit of land needed for allotments, for example there are new allotments in Edinburgh where the pressure on land is immense.”
But Perth and Kinross Council is not prepared to look into the possibility of helping residents get a foot on the allotment rung.
A spokesman told the PA: “The council is not aware of any groundswell of demand for allotments and has no plans to increase the numbers of allotments available.
“It was indicated some investigation into allotment demand was required, however the pressures on the council’s limited resources meant it has not been given high priority.”
He explained: “The council leases approximately 1.5 hectares of the Moncrieffe Island to the Perth Working Men’s Garden Association for use as allotments.
“Anyone looking to acquire an allotment should ask to become members of the PWGMA.
To add weight to the growing campaign in Kinross, call Sarah Tiller 01577 863579.
The gardeners on Moncriefffe Island are holding an open day on July 29, between 10am and 3.30pm.