The Syston allotments are over 100 years old. Vegetable plots have been tended on the same 7 acre site on Upper Church Street, in the very centre of the town since before 1900. They’ve quietly existed without fanfare, within the sound of St Peter & St Paul’s church bells, which help signal when it’s time to down tools.
Allotments originated hundreds of years ago, as small divisions of land in Anglo Saxon times. In the 20th Century they became essential in times of war and food shortage. In the 21st Century allotments are valued for traditional use and leisure, as well as now perhaps providing an alternative for modern austerity-related hardships and decreasing garden sizes, as they provide space for those who do not have gardens, or don’t have space for a vegetable patch. They can help reduce food costs by providing enough food for storage. Throughout all the centuries, allotments have also been enjoyable places for the gardener and their families.
Trends come and go with food, but working the land and vegetable growing is always popular, whatever your skill level, or whatever your reason may be for wanting to grow your own sustainable food.
Whether it’s to be ‘on trend’ with all the food programmes on TV, inspiring us with fresh produce and delicious recipes, or because we love the garden programmes, full of the merits of tasty organic produce and telling us how to do it – there is a place for all our inspirations.
Believe it or not, television programmes can have a fluctuating impact on the ‘take up’ of allotments ie there are generally shorter waiting lists at the moment, because of the popularity of ‘The Great British Bake Off’ (sorry, you cannot currantly grow cupcakes on an allotment) - as opposed to when Hugh Fearnley Wittingstall’s ‘River Cottage’ was on, encouraging everyone to ‘grow their own’. The waiting lists then could be years rather than months.
Luckily, allotments remain in demand despite the trends of television influence. Research has shown that in times of modern recession their popularity increases and we all probably know of the ‘Dig for Victory’ history, when working the land was strongly encouraged during wartime and rationing.
Perhaps you want to grow your own healthy food and know where it comes from? Or want to know you are helping bees, other pollinators and wildlife? Or consciously contribute to saving food miles? Maybe you might want to join others in sharing information and experience while enjoying all the satisfaction of having your own allotment and enjoying some peace and quiet, as well as getting some exercise.
With 122 plots at Syston Allotments, many people think the waiting list will be too long, but this is not always the case. There is a steady supply of plots becoming available each season. It is always worth checking by keeping in touch.
Basically, ‘Beat the trend’ - Now is a good time for getting yourself, or an interested group of people on the waiting list if you live in Syston.How do I get an allotment?
Content provided by Kate Hubbard © 2017