Ipswich allotment demand triples during Covid pandemic
- Credit: Archant
Demand for allotments in Ipswich has more than tripled as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, with scores of homes now on the waiting list.
Figures obtained under Freedom of Information laws revealed the waiting list for one of the 2,481 plots Ipswich Borough Council owns was at 82 at the start of March 2020.
That figure had ballooned to 295 by the start of November 2020.
Bosses at the council believe the lockdown restrictions meant more families have craved green space of their own and want to enjoy the benefits of growing their own produce.
"With an increased awareness of the natural world, organic foods and healthy living, there has been a recent resurgence in allotment gardening," a council spokesman said.
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"The Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 further increased this interest in allotments, with the period March – August 2020 having the highest occupancy for well over a decade.
"Allotment gardening has a real community feel, connecting people of all ages through the process of food production, enabling them to grow fresh and cheap sustenance, reducing their carbon footprint and getting back in touch with the natural world.
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"Ipswich Borough Council believes that allotments not only promote good mental and physical wellbeing through exercise, hard work and healthy eating, but it is also a fantastic resource for bringing the community together to share experiences and a passion for home grown produce.
"Ipswich’s allotment fields are well used, and demand continues to rise. We are committed to working ever closer with our partners, the Ipswich Allotment Holders Association, to support and plan for allotments, ensuring they will be a resource for future generations to enjoy."
The council runs 18 different allotment fields totalling 2,481 plots. According to the data, seven of those had no waiting list at all prior to Covid while every single field had a waiting list as of November.
Demand is highest at the Holywells allotments with 37 on the waiting list followed by Sidegate Lane with 33 and 30 apiece for one of the Spring Road sites and Colchester Road.
The smallest waiting lists were for Aster Road and Maidenhall with five each on the waiting list.