Milverton, Somerset
Allotments in Spring

Allotment gardening

Allotment gardening has seen a growth in popularity across the UK in recent years. The Covid 19 pandemic has probably been a catalyst for many to pick up a spade and look for a plot in recent months.

Milverton is no exception and the allotments at Courtfield are very popular. Plots do become available from time-to- time: contact the Clerk to the Parish Council if you are interested in renting a plot for a small annual fee.

The plot holders at Milverton are a friendly bunch and welcome newcomers including those starting out with their first allotment.

So why has this become so popular? A common perception of non-allotment gardeners is that the incentive to take on a plot is about saving money with self grown fruit and vegetables. When the allotment movement started in the late 19 and early 20 centuries, this was probably the main driving force. It is still possible to save money on your food bill with an allotment but for many, this is just one of the benefits.

The 21st century benefits of having an allotment are much more than saving money:

  • A convenient source of fresh food
  • Proper food without chemicals, packaging or food miles
  • A chance to spend time in an open green space – a proven positive for mental health
  • Fresh air and physical exercise with a purpose
  • Anticipation of a rewarding outcome – also a proven positive for mental health
  • Social interaction (Covid 19 rule compliant)

Besides the gardeners themselves, there is one other beneficiary from allotments: the natural environment in which we live. Recent academic research has shown that allotments support a much wider diversity of pollinating insects and nectar rich plants that improve the wider food chains and ecosystems when compared to most modern farms. Allotments also have much more healthy soil structures compared to many modern farms. These environmental factors add up to a small but positive ecological benefit. It is just a shame that only a fraction of 1per cent of our food is grown on allotments. Maybe we need more?

Richard Earnshaw
May 2021
(Member of the Milverton Parish Council Sub Committee)