National Allotments Week inspires veg plot party

This week is being celebrated on allotments all over the UK as it is National Allotments Week.

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Run by the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Growers since 2005, this aims to promote the awareness and availablitity of allotments locally and nationally to demonstrate to local authorities the strength of support and interest for the heritage of allotment culture.http://www.nagtrust.org/page5.html

With waiting lists for certain plots now running at 8 years plus a 180% increase in phone calls from the public asking for grow your own advice over the last year, it appears that they are certainly succeeding.

Plot owners in The Village group of allotments in the Meads, Eastbourne showed their support today with a very English affair – a  lunchtime veg plot party using produce from the garden under the Union Jack which now waves  proudly from a newly erected flag pole right in the middle of the allotments.

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Over 50 local people turned out to enjoy a delectable barbecue sitting amongst the beautiful flowers, fruit trees, rows of parsnips, courgettes, sweet-corn and runner beans in the beautiful sea-side sunshine.

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I managed to grap a few minutes with Councillor Steve Wallis, the portfolio holder for the Environment at Eastbourne Borough Council, who shares a well cared for allotment with Richard. I wanted to find out how the summer growing season has been going. The news is all good, despite the mixed bag of wet and sunny weather in July.Steve  proudly showed me his finest acheivement so far this year – rows of beautiful parsnips. It appears that this crop proved to be a problem veg for Steve in recent years. He puts his 2009 success down to digging the soil over until it is very fine  – certainly appears to have worked well.

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National Allotment Week co-incides with an important speech tomorrow by Secretary of State Hilary Benn about the need for the UK to plan for a secure food supply in coming years to combat the mounting crisis of global food supplies as a result of climate change, rocketing oil proces and growing demand all placing a strain on traditional  supply chains. The UK is currently 62% self sufficient but ideally he would like to see this increase by up to 70 %  by 2050 to meet the United Nations target of raising food production and self sufficiency.

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/house-and-home/gardening/digging-for-victory-britains-food-revolution-1769697.html

If the nations’ passion for allotment growing continues at the current rate, Mr Benn’s wish may just come true. Young and old are donning their garden gloves and digging in their heels for a lifetime of allotment gardening. Why do they do it? Most say its for quality food at next to nothing costs, great exercise and a sense of community. Whatever the reasons, allotment owners should be congratulating themselves this week on their good sense whilst eating their own fresh produce.

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I am not an experienced gardener - more of an enthusiastic amateur who learns by trial and error and is keen to "manage" the effects of the weather on my garden. Writing this blog is my passion and I hope that it will continue to grow, allowing global gardeners to communicate about the effects of climate change on our plants and the future of our gardens.

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