Author Topic: Any ideas  (Read 5418 times)

Sarah-b

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Any ideas
« on: July 20, 2004, 09:24:20 »
I have fairly recently taken on a plot on a council allotment. Now in my town, there is huge pressure for land for development. In fact, houses are being built on every spare bit.

Apparently there is some pressure on our site and we would be in a much better position to fight (if we had to) if there was a fuller occupancy of the site. It is quite a big site and I would estimate that there are 20-30 empty plots.

So the question is, how do you persuade people to take on plots? I have some ideas, but wondered if anyone here had ever launched a similar campaign or had any new ideas?

Allotments 4 All

Any ideas
« on: July 20, 2004, 09:24:20 »

rdak

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Re:Any ideas
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2004, 10:00:45 »
I'm sure www.nsalg.demon.co.uk could advise.

some thoughts: putting leaflets through doors (try and get council to at least share the cost) ; approach local schools to see if they would want a plot; mental health groups likewise. could existing plot holders be persuaded to take an an extra plot each? Even if it's just used for growing green manure- that must count as being cultivated and therefore used?

look at reasons why people might be put off e.g vandalism, lack of a shared shed etc.



Sarah-b

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Re:Any ideas
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2004, 10:13:38 »
Brilliant - that's a couple of new ones already. Had thought of schools and leaflets. Like the mental health idea (apparently allotments have worked well in this respect according to a govt paper).
Also, shared shed is very good idea.

Not sure whether council would be happy with green manure plan (the woman at the council looked a bit sniffy when I suggested I might have a little patch of green under an apple tree). But having said that, it would be a great way of bringing the really dilapidated plots back into an attractive state.
I think one of the probs is that the empty plots are covered in grass.

busy_lizzie

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Re:Any ideas
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2004, 11:33:01 »
Hi Sarah,  I believe National Allotment Week is coming up around the 14th August (near that date anyway),  Could you not get the local paper to do a feature on Allotments.  

 If you could  arrange some sort of Open Day at your Site to publicise it, and as Ross says leaflet people and put Notices up to encourage  people to come and have a look around.  If you had some of the plot holders on hand to answer questions and show off their  Plots and produce you might spark off some interest.

How about local organisations, like the Guides or Scouts having a Plot or  as you suggest Schools even.  Mental health organisations might also be keen as part of a rehabilitation scheme.  Have you got an Allotments Officer who could advise?  Good luck with what ever you do, we are all behind you.  :) busy_lizzie
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kenkew

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Re:Any ideas
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2004, 22:52:33 »
Sarah: Good on you. Try any and everything you can to hang on to those plots. Maybe people don't want them just now, but once they're gone; Well, they're gone. Try getting your local paper involved, local radio and TV love to get their teeth into something like this. Fight for the lotty!

Yarwooda

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Re:Any ideas
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2004, 08:44:17 »
As an allotment officer my self i would sugest setting up an association. That would show that you are all commited to the site . I then would aproch your Allotment officer and ask for help in hireing equipment to clear plots. It would be cheaper for them to do this than get a landscape contractor in to do the work.
It would also show your commitment to the site and display partnership working.
I then would form work parties and slowly strim down and clear the vacant plots.
By doing this together over the next 6 /12.
By being pro active you then can advertise the newly strimed plots for letting. Any new tenants should be made aware of the work the association have done for them and in return ask for their assistsance to clear the next phase of plots. This will soon have a great feeling of comarardary as the site menbers will be having more pride in the site as they have been doing the work.
Keep a record of how many people help out and what jobs were done and hours worked as these can act as volentary hours for match funding it you apply for grant aid.
Also contact your local Healthy living project if you have one as they may be able to help along with local GP's sugesting a GP referal scheam allotments on perscription. Stress the theraputic, excersise and healthy benifits of growing chemical free food on allotments along with the social interactive benifits sutch as learning new skills & team building.

It may seem an lot to do but it would be worth it in the end.

Good luck
Let me know how you get on.

Alan  

loopylizzie

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Re:Any ideas
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2004, 08:45:49 »
Hi  :) some time ago Kitchen Garden magazine had an article that said women were the biggest group currently taking on plots . If this is the case why not target these women at mother and toddler groups, playgroups, WI church groups there must be all sorts when you start digging around (small pun there). Local library may be a good source of info on local groups. A new plot can be quite daunting especially to busy Mums, perhaps you could suggest sharing of plots or see if half plots are available. Our plots in Rugby are also the subject of rumour about housing from time to time also more than half a dozen new plot holders that I know of this year so Very best of luck with your campaign  Liz    :)

gavin

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Re:Any ideas
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2004, 09:03:29 »
Couple more ideas - is there a local Surestart scheme?  Suggest to them they take on a demonstration plot - there's a couple like that around us in Leeds.  One I've seen was split into very small "starter" plots for mums and tots.

And any local organisations working with adults with learning disabilities?  Would they take on a plot for a bit of horticultural therapy?

They're good things to have in themselves - but (hard-nosed cynic, here) strengthens considerably the "community benefit" of the allotment site?

All best - Gavin

Sarah-b

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Re:Any ideas
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2004, 09:49:28 »
This is really good - lots of ideas and some moral support. I'm going to go along to the allotment committee meeting on Aug 5th and see how receptive they are to some new ideas.
Also, we do have an Open Day on the 14th, so I'll be interested to see how that goes down - and the chairman is talking to the local press.
Another idea of mine, was to approach the Asian community. I haven't noticed any Asian plot holders and I was thinking of putting together a leaflet that listed they types of things you can grow that might specifically interest them. Does anyone here have any ideas in that direction?
Gavin - I used to have a plot in Leeds quite a few years ago - the mares tail used to really get me down.
I was on our plot last night and it was a really lovely evening. I took a walk around and counted about 20 empty plots, just in my part of the site. Just opposite the site there is a new development of houses (they tore up a beautiful orchard). Outside the building site - and right opposite our plots - is a huge notice "LAND WANTED FOR DEVELOPMENT".  >:( >:(

Thanks,
Sarah,

Tenuse

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Re:Any ideas
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2004, 16:59:47 »
Put up notices in the supermarket - most of them have noticeboards.

Or sneak in tiny adverts amongst the organic fruit and veg section - "don't buy it here - grow your own at xxx allotments"!!!

Ten x
Young, dumb and full of come hither looks.

gavin

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Re:Any ideas
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2004, 11:12:57 »
Do a google on "green gym"?  Some of these are based on allotments - some ideas there?

All best - Gavin

Sarah-b

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Re:Any ideas
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2004, 11:46:59 »
Thanks Gavin - yes there are some great ideas there.
Maybe BTVC would be able to help - and also noticed Friends of the Earth are doing things on allotments in one area.
Sarah.

Linda

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Re:Any ideas
« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2004, 13:28:42 »
Hi Sarah b

The major thing that worked for us was to design and distribute posters advertising vacant plots. We just made them A4 size and printed them on home computers, and one of us also photocopied some onto coloured paper. This kept the costs down to a minimum.

Then we put them up wherever we could think of. The library, healthfood shops, Doctors surgeries, but mostly just in people's living room windows!

We made them eye-catching, and stressed the benefits - Fresh air, exercise, fruit, vegetables, flowers, with bird song as an added bonus.

We don't need them any more, because our site is now FULL!! and we have a waiting list of 10. When we started the campaign, we had only 50% occupancy, ie we had about 28 plots vacant.

It certainly can be done, and it needn't be awkward, time consuming or expensive!

Love and compost
Linda

Sarah-b

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Re:Any ideas
« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2004, 14:20:38 »
Thanks Linda!
Actually things are really looking up on our site. Apparently there are only 14 plots left vacant (although that was a figure quoted before the rents were due - so I imagine some tenants won't show up to pay for next year).
But what seems to be happening is that there is more of an "allotment-taking-trend". I think it is partly to do with local advertising, but also to do with media coverage of allotments in general and food scares. Whatever it is, I'm really pleased that people are taking on the plots. Retention of newcomers is definitely the next challenge.

sb

Andy H

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Re:Any ideas
« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2004, 23:13:37 »
Amazing,well done.I have lived in my home town for 39 years and never knew about the existence of the plots! I think the same is the case in many places, I may not have been interested in the past and this is a new trend for me but thoroughly enjoyng it, If I told people what I had grown and the benefits and the VALUE compared to the shops, then many people would be amazed, although the work put in/hours workedXvalue it is not so good but you get food without additives and excersice and fresh air etc.
I think the awareness of allotments is a good point but also chatting to perspective plot holders about the work involved and benefits would help.

saying that... there are many plot holders I have never met cos they are early birds and I am weekend plotter! ;)