Sunday, 21 June 2009

V for Victory?

Perusing the morning's newspaper on my daily commute is usually an automated exercise that makes the train journey from Hackney to Richmond less laborious. However, this week I was struck by a news piece that was so relevant to the London Vegetable Garden that I jumped up in surprise, much to the shock of the dozing commuter opposite me!

As you all know, one of the main things I've been campaigning for as part of the London Vegetable Garden project, is the opening up of disused spaces for allotment and gardening purposes. With London allotment lists currently more oversubscribed than the Susan Boyle fan club, being a keen gardener within the confines of the M25 can be a 'fruitless' occupation – yet this is simply not fair.

So as you can imagine, it was with real relish that I read of the City of London's plans to open up some of the many vacant building sites that have sprung up around the city in recent months. The recession we're currently wading through has put a stop to much building work, leaving large open spaces that are currently unoccupied and unused.

Sue Ireland, head of Open Spaces in the City states that: “There are plenty of temporary sites awaiting development and there is no reason why, if carefully done, they could not be turned to other uses. We are trying to identify a site on the edge of the Square Mile that would be vacant for between 18 months and two years. Grow bags are one possibility. They could be butted up together and moved as and when the developers need to start work."

This may seem like another social gardening story that will pique press attention for a couple of weeks, but I honestly believe this is the start of a much larger movement. Since the very beginning of the London Vegetable Garden project, I've been adamant that if enough of us get behind a movement, we can bring about change in London's councils and reclaim disused public space for new allotments and gardening purposes.

This current news story represents a dynamic shift in local government thinking and is a huge victory for all urban gardeners – let's build on this progress and keep pushing for more allotments and open space – the power to do this is in all of our hands. What are your thoughts? Please feel free to leave your opinion in the comments section.

(To read the article on the Guardian website, simply click here.)


  1. We have the same problem in Bath with allotments having 3 year waiting lists. I have spotted a massive unused walled garden just outside the city and am currently waiting to hear if the owners would be interesting in developing it for allotments (it's massive... like over an acre!) I would love to see veg growing in the city of London! Make a change from the ones working there!... (and I speak as a Londoner...)

  2. Hi Emma,

    This really is an issue that councils and local governments are having to address. Demand for allotments and land space has reached an unprecedented high, as well as making sound environmental sense. Hopefully if keen gardeners such as ourselves continue to press this issue amongst those in power, some positive, and lasting, changes will be made to the allocation of allotments and the availability of green spaces in cities.



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