Action on Acton Allotments

Allotments in demand

Allotments for vegetable and fruit growing are facing unprecedented demand in Ealing, with women making up over 75 per cent of the waiting list for new plots.

"Everyone wants to work on the land," said Steve Cole, allotments officer at Ealing Council.

"Having an allotment is a great cure for the ills of modern life. Healthy food, relaxing, outdoor exercise - some doctors are even prescribing work on allotments to their patients as therapy.

"We're finding that when our allotments are cleared of scrub and rubbish, and ready for growing vegetables, we've got long waiting lists with people wanting to get involved. Recently we held a community action day, which was a fantastic success, the best we've had in years.

"Around 40 volunteers gave their spare time to demolish derelict sheds, prune hedges and cut back the vegetation. Nine new plots were marked out and paths were cut, with seven of the plots let immediately, and a new hedge was planted around a neighbouring sheltered housing block.

"The volunteers were from all walks of life - residents, allotment holders from across Ealing, countryside rangers, the allotments manager and staff from both Groundworks and Ben and Jerry's ice cream. Many stayed for the whole day.

"It was a great day. Many thanks to those who gave up their time for the cause."

The most surprising aspect is who wants an allotment - the majority of people are women, and many migrant groups are involved as well. The old stereotype of the allotment gardener as an aged male just doesn't hold today.

The community action day was held at St Andrew's Allotment in East Acton. Two more community action days are planned for later this year. The day was supported by Groundwork West London, the council and Ben and Jerry's ice cream.

To find out more about allotments, or to get on a waiting list, please contact Steve Cole at the council on 020 8825 5625

May 16th 2004