This isn't the first time I've used my blog to say how great I think allotments are... Yesterday when I headed up to my plot in the afternoon I went into the greenhouse to discover that my neighbour, Brian, had left this beautiful bunch of gladioli for me in my watering can. Brian's a really nice man, but come to think of it so are most of the other plot holders at my allotments - they're always ready to give advice on growing, to swap seeds and seedlings and to share out their produce when they've got a glut that they can't keep up with. I'm a great believer that allotments are one of the few places in modern towns and cities where a real sense of community still prevails and this belief has, on the whole, been proved true in my years as a plot holder.
I live just around the corner from my allotment and having the plot means that I now know loads of like minded people in my local community who I would have never got to know without the allotment as a starting point. I also love the way that allotments are essentially public spaces and it's great to see how this kind of resource can really change the dynamic of a community. It's no surprise then to see that allotment waiting lists all over the country are now so long with people wanting to get their hands on plots that many groups are now lobbying local councils to set up more sites because current provision goes nowhere near meeting current demand. The Channel 4 Landshare website has been a perfect illustration of how great the desire is for people to get out into the fresh air and get growing. But the site also illustrates that there is a much greater demand for land to grow on than can currently be met.
So you've tried all avenues and still can't get your hands on a little plot of your own? Why not try getting together a group of like minded people and lobby your local council? If you can prove that there is local demand that isn't being met by current provision councils have a legal obligation to try and meet your needs, or at least come up with a very good excuse why they can't... There's no guarantee this route will lead to success but it's worth a try (my friend in Warwickshire got allotments set up in her community this way) and even if you aren't successful it's really important that people keep reminding the local powers that be that "We want more spaces to grow on and we want them now!"