Allotment demand on the up

GALLERY Increasing food prices, increased interest in where food comes from, and a desire to get out and grow your own have led to a boom in allotments across Suffolk.

INCREASING food prices, increased interest in where food comes from, and a desire to get out and grow your own have led to a boom in allotments across Suffolk.

An open day at an Ipswich field attracted a surprise crowd of 500 people, and the town's allotment holders' association today said only one area has any space up for grabs.

With the price of food continuing to rise and a focus on the importance of promoting local produce, becoming a plot-holder is now a very real option for many families.

Several allotments in the region have waiting lists for people wanting an area of land to grow their own fruit and vegetables.

The art of allotment gardening is something which has exploded over the last few years with the idea of being self-sufficient becoming ever more popular.

Those on the Castle Hill Ipswich Allotment management committee were “staggered” by the numbers that turned up to their open day at the weekend on Saturday.

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Many visitors took an interest in a spinning wool demonstration and a display of old garden tools, as well as the numerous stalls selling the allotments own produce and other refreshments.

Along with match funding from Barclays Bank of £750, the day raised a total of £2,000 for the south Suffolk branch of Multiple Sclerosis Society.

There is currently a waiting of 20 people at the allotments at Castle Hill, which is situated off Larchcroft Road.

David Savidge, chairman of the management committee, said: “We were staggered by the amount of people who came and amazed by the support of the local community.

“Although we have got a waiting list, we always say we need more people because you never know who is going to give up. People are so interested in growing their own food and knowing where it comes from. Most of the allotment owners are young families. We split our allotments in half so they are a more manageable size for people not used to it. It costs less than 50 pence a week to own one.”

Morland Road Allotments, which is also holding its open day next Sunday between 12pm and 2.30pm, have a waiting list of 13 people.

Derrick Holder, its chairman, said: “It is all to do with the price of food. So many young families have taken one up and they are growing a great load of stuff at the moment, like broad beans, courgettes and potatoes.”

Felixstowe Town Council officials said the resort - which has more than 360 allotments - had waiting lists at three of its five sites.

The waiting list at the sought-after Ferry Road site in Old Felixstowe hasn't moved for two years.

Do you own an allotment? If so, why? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

There are over 2,100 allotment plots at 16 sites across Ipswich, covering an area of 60 hectares.

The Ipswich Allotment Holders Association is responsible for the letting of plots on behalf of Ipswich Borough Council.

London Road is the only field in Ipswich with any vacant plots.

Working on an allotment is great exercise and recommended by many doctors as therapeutic recreation.

Allotments, as we know them now, came into being in the middle of the 19th century when parcels of land in rural areas were allocated to labourers to provide food for themselves and their families.

To register interest in owning an allotment, write to Streetcare - Greenspace, Ipswich Borough Council, Gipping House, 7 Whittle Road, Hadleigh Road Industrial Estate, Ipswich, IP2 0UH or call 01473 433512.

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