I often wonder why I have an allotment. The digging, the mud, the brambles, not to mention the slugs – there are a lot of negatives. Most of the year I tend to forget the benefits until the summer when suddenly as you are eating a strawberry or an apple you have grown yourself you remember the reason why having an allotment is so good. Everything you grow tastes so amazing!
But there is a bigger reason why having an allotment is such a great thing to do. The environment! With climate change in the news on an almost daily basis it is worth considering the real benefits of allotment ownership and not just for you, but for the benefit to climate and natural world. If more of us had allotments the state of the planet might not be in such a precarious state that we find it today.
Growing food for yourself means that you can be self sufficient for most of the year. The food you eat can be chemical free. This means transporting food across countries becomes less necessary and the effect of chemicals less of a burden on nature. Allotment food has no additives and of course is not processed. There is increasing awareness of the damage to health of fast-foods and over processed foods. Growing your own food is a great way to cut these from your diet.
At our allotment in Brook Street my wife has developed a wild-grass area. This encourages wild insects of all types with pollinators amongst them. The bee was recently identified as the most important living being on earth. I think this demonstrates their importance and therefore we should make every effort to encourage them.
Of course, as every gardener knows the feast and famine nature of allotmenteering. At harvest time there is an abundance of produce and the resident wildlife get their share too. Allotments create brilliant spaces where birds and insects can thrive. Having a pond can help the reptiles as well. UK wildlife is in decline at rather alarming rates and allotments can make a big difference in their fight to survive.
For me though owning an allotment means I can enjoy some quiet time in a small garden space; contemplate life, make some new friends and learn some new and valuable skills. A brilliant way to live that generations have enjoyed before me. You never know owning an allotment could about to be more mainstream again, just like in our grandparents time.