Some of us have our own allotment (our backyard) where we can grow much of the produce we require and others rent an allotment of land or join a community garden to get the same results. At the end of the day, is it better to own an allotment, rent one, or join a community garden? The short answer is it doesn't matter as long as we're growing good healthy chemical free produce.
With a resurgence of interest in organic healthy food where the consumer is preferring to know where their food comes from and what has been done or added to it along the way, allotment or community gardens and indeed backyard vegetable gardens are becoming more popular than ever before. People want to follow the journey of their food from paddock to plate and not just to ensure it’s safe or healthy but also to appreciate how good food comes into being.
My allotment vegetable garden (image above)
Allotment and community gardens are basically allotted parcels of land usually rented so people can grow food crops (mostly vegetables). People rent an allotment or join a community garden group usually because their own residences are too small to grow food plants. They then manage these plots just like they are their own backyards and grow fresh produce for themselves or to share and swap between other growers in the same area.
Allotment and community gardens are growing in popularity (pardon the pun) especially in and around the fringes of capital cities but it’s fair to say allotment gardening has been around for a long time in places such as the UK and parts of Europe.
I own my property but it hasn’t stopped me from organising it similar to an allotment garden someone would typically rent. My “allotment” is an allotted piece of land in the middle of my backyard with a border around it excluding this area from the rest of my property.
An allotted area in my view works best for growing vegetable crops because most food plants have special needs and with them all grouped together in one area it’s easier to manage these needs so that maximum growth can be had with minimum effort. Food crops are also easier to protect from pests and opportunistic animals (or people) if they are grouped together.
Even though I own my allotment I still feel part of the allotment and community garden family who are mostly renters because whether you own or rent your parcel of land is beside the point as the real game is growing food, sharing produce, swapping tips, and relating to others with similar healthy lifestyle interests.
The hobby or I like to call it “lifestyle” of allotment gardening is not just confined to the local scene anymore and one of the biggest revelations in home, allotment, or community food gardening has been the explosion of sharing this experience online. Blogs (like this one) and in particular video media are rapidly expanding across the world enabling likeminded food gardeners from all reaches of the Earth to share and exchange information (sometimes in real time) with each other.
There happens to be a thriving allotment community on YouTube just search for allotment or vegetable gardening and you’ll see what I mean. Personally, I have my own channel on YouTube and I really enjoy interacting with the other amateur food gardeners (many of whom are allotment gardeners in the true sense) and it’s surprising what diversity there is between age, demographic, and location. If you think YouTube is only for young people and funny parodies of the latest pop songs, then you best get on there and see just how many of us older folk are using this amazing platform to share gardening tips and even socialise online.
A snippet of my own YouTube Channel where I can show my content & also follow other people (image above)
The “in” thing is growing your own healthy produce and today it doesn’t matter if you own, rent an allotment, share a community garden, or even acquire some land for this purpose, we’re all connected and able to impart information, motivate each other, and inspire the next generation all through the tips of our fingers.
Physically, there are perceived advantages and disadvantages for owning or renting your allotted place to create your dream vegetable garden – I’m not going to get into them today; suffice to say, the choice to rent or own will ultimately come down to each person’s situation. The more important decision, in my opinion, is just doing it – growing your own produce… Also, sharing this experience with others and YouTube is a great platform for doing that.
What's your opinion? Join us on our forum Self Sufficient Culture or post a comment below (email is not required to post a comment).
Mark Valencia – Editor SSM
Look, and see the Earth through her eyes…