There are major government plans to build more housing within cities, including Brighton. However the recent allotment survey, probably the largest in the country, attracted over 900 responses and shows that if this happens this must be done while protecting the environment. Many allotmenteers emphasized how important this outdoor space is when commenting on the benefits of allotments in the city:
“ I can enjoy a country space inside the city”
“Fresh air, somewhere to go that feels like the countryside with a view of the sky and the sea in the distance. It’s back to nature.”
New results from the survey show how so many people want to grow and eat food that is organic or at least with a minimum of chemicals. It been said that organic food is a fad of a wealthy few that will fade as it brings little benefit. An amazing 636 (83%) of allotmenteers disagreed. They voted with their spades, growing food with a minimum of chemicals, while a large majority of families 570 (74%) grow food organically. The survey shows that allotmenteers come almost equally from all income brackets and most are in the 40-60 age group.
96% of those who responded to the survey thought that one of the greatest benefits for them of having an allotment was healthy food and similar number enjoyed growing food to have a lower environmental impact.
“I know exactly what has gone into my fruit and veg( i.e. no chemicals) and its fresher”
“I could not afford chemical free food or fruit without an allotment”
“I can grow things that are difficult to find and expensive in shops”
The survey showed that most allotmenteers are women, while the majority were cultivated by two or more people, many involving their families.
“It’s a great family activity”
“It’s good for educating children about nature and where food comes from”
“I enjoy the seeing important things grow with grand-children”
“It’s important to me that my children grow up knowing what our food looks like in the raw and how it is grown. I felt very sad the other day when I was picking blackberries and little boy asked me what they were.”
These findings of why people value allotments will be significant as the City develops its plans for a new allotment strategy, while green land is under pressure for more buildings.
“Organic allotments are very important to many families, we need to create more environmentally friendly spaces for growing and living in the city not less”
Alan Phillips, Chairman of the Brighton and Hove Allotment Federation.
The Brighton and Hove allotment Federation is drawing up an Allotment strategy with the Council early in 2013 and together will be seeking to promote more organic food growing and a healthy city environment.