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August7–September 13

National Allotments Week – August 7-September 13, 2023

National Allotments Week is an annual celebration in the United Kingdom, and this year, it takes place from August 7 to 13. Allotments are small plots of land rented to individuals, usually to grow food crops. There is no standard plot size, but the most common is 830 square feet. This year, the theme for National Allotments Week is a recognition of the importance of gardening with nature in mind. In addition to supporting processes in the ecosystem such as pollination, an allotment plot provides a haven for wildlife in urban areas.

History of National Allotments Week

National Allotments Week was established in 2002 to raise awareness of allotments and the role they play in assisting people in leading healthier lifestyles, growing their own food, developing friendships, and strengthening communities. Allotments have been around for centuries, with evidence dating back to the Anglo-Saxon period. However, the system we know today dates back to the nineteenth century, when the land was given to the working class to produce their own food. Due to the country’s rapid industrialization and lack of a welfare state, allotments were desperately needed. In 1908, the Small Holdings and Allotments Act went into effect, requiring local governments to provide enough allotments to meet demand.

However, land was not made available to all until the end of World War I, primarily to assist returning servicemen rather than just the working class under the Land Settlement (Facilities) Act 1919. The Allotments Acts of 1922 strengthened the rights of allotment holders in England and Wales, but the most significant change was the Allotments Act of 1925, which established statutory allotments that local authorities could not sell or convert without Ministerial consent, known as Section 8 orders.

The Community Empowerment Act, which updated and simplified allotment legislation in Scotland, went into effect in 2015 requiring local governments to keep waiting lists and provide allotments if waiting lists reached certain thresholds. It strengthened allotment protection and clarified the rights of local governments and plot owners. Following its inception in 2002, National Allotments Week is almost two decades old and is thriving.

National Allotments Week timeline

1600s
Enclosures

Enclosures are the forerunners of modern allotments.

1649
The Diggers Movement

A group known as the Diggers Movement protest for the right to dig for everyone.

1887
The Allotments Act

The Allotment and Cottage Gardens Compensation for Crops Act ensures that local authorities provide allotments if there is a demand.

1930
The National Allotment Society

The National Allotment Society and Leisure Gardeners Ltd. is formed.

2002
National Allotments Week

National Allotments Week is established.

National Allotments Week FAQs

What is the size of an English allotment?

An allotment is about the size of a doubles tennis court.

What is the significance of allotments?

An allotment can produce enough food to supplement a family’s weekly shop with fresh fruit and vegetables throughout the year if it is properly managed.

Is electricity available on allotments?

Although most allotment sites do not have access to mains power, this does not rule out the possibility of having some energy on-site.

National Allotments Week Activities

  1. Start gardening

    Join in the week-long celebration by signing up for a local gardening class. Invite your neighbors and friends to a seed and plant swap. It's also a great way for you to get some exercise and connect with your neighbors.

  2. Participate in a community event

    You can grab a friend or a family member and participate in community events for National Allotments Week. Competitions for appraising fruits and vegetables, flowers, and organized tastings are a few of the fun events you can look forward to.

  3. Share on social media

    While gardening, use the hashtag #NationalAllotmentsWeek and share your experience with others on social media. A visit to the National Allotment Society’s website is another way to observe the day.

5 Facts You Should Know About Allotments

  1. Allotments are not limited to plants

    You are also allowed to keep hens on your allotment under the 1950 Allotment Act.

  2. Allotments acquirement duration

    The typical period it takes to get an allotment is six to eighteen months.

  3. Hundreds of thousands of allotments

    In the United Kingdom, there are roughly 330,000 allotments.

  4. Allotments have waiting lists

    The popularity of “grow-your-own” has caused a boom in demand, and around 90,000 people are on the waiting list for an allotment.

  5. An Anglo-Saxon farming tradition

    In the United Kingdom, allotments are measured in 'rods' or 'poles,' an ancient measurement derived from Anglo-Saxon farming tradition.

Why We Love National Allotments Week

  1. It encourages social interaction

    National Allotments Week encourages social interaction. It is a fantastic way to meet new people and get involved with the gardening community.

  2. It’s good for our mental health

    Gardening can help people cope with stress and mental health issues. One of the best ways to have a calmer, more optimistic mindset is to immerse yourself in nature and nurture plants.

  3. It aids our physical well-being

    Gardening is a form of physical exercise too. Also, getting outside every day, even for a short time, increases your vitamin D levels.

National Allotments Week dates

YearDateDay
2022August 8Monday
2023August 7Monday
2024August 5Monday
2025August 4Monday
2022August 10Wednesday

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