Recent News » Dozens of National Trust properties join scheme to bring life to disused land
In the boom times of the 1980s, councils sold off allotments in their tens of thousands as it seemed no one in the Britain of conspicuous consumption could be persuaded to grow a single leek of their own. But as recession bites, the growing enthusiasm for homegrown veg has seen more than 100,000 people join waiting lists for a patch of land as demand hits an all-time high.
Today, following the initiative of chef and "real food" campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, the National Trust is throwing its weight behind a campaign to share unused land, creating up to 1,000 new plots for use as allotments or community gardens.
The trust, the UK's biggest private landowner, also wants to help bridge the skills gap by recruiting an army of green-fingered volunteeers and matching growers with its own expert gardeners.
Each of the new growing spaces will be created within a range or rural and urban communities throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and will be registered through the landshare website set up by Fearnley-Whittingstall, an online "matchmaking" database which pairs prospective gardeners with available spaces.
The new National Trust spaces will be available at about 40 locations. They will vary in size, from smaller plots suited to new growers, to larger areas suitable for community growing schemes and even refurbishment of dilapidated walled gardens. The spaces have been found in places such as restored kitchen gardens, farmland and vacant land near to National Trust properties.
The plan has been drawn up to avoid conflicting with the trust's conservation objectives, meaning land which is protected or of special scientific interest would be deemed inappropriate. The trust said yesterday that the new spaces could produce up to 2.6m lettuces or 50,000 sacks of potatoes a year. The allotments will incur a rental cost, but it is likely to be minimal, the trust said.
Posted By Sajal Sthapit at 9:20am on 19 February 2009