Last month, the Scottish Government launched a consultation to discuss possible changes to laws governing allotments in Scotland.
The consultation is the latest step in the Government’s stated aim to support allotments and community growing spaces in Scotland.
With the horse meat scandal still fresh in the memory and with people being more aware than ever of where their food comes from, a discussion of allotments and so called ‘grow your own’ is timely.
Allotments are good for our health in a whole range of ways. The activity of keeping an allotment has been shown to provide benefits in terms of social interaction, reduced stress and positive mental health while there are more direct benefits from a healthy diet of locally grown fruit and veg. The benefits also come to our communities, providing natural spaces and to the environment and biodiversity more generally. However, whilst the benefits of allotments are well-known, across the country demand vastly outstrips supply.
The Scottish Government stated its commitment to allotments and community growing in the National Food and Drink policy published in 2009. This work was taken forward through the Grow Your Own Working Group which produced a very useful website offering information and advice on allotments.
One of the key recommendations of the working group was to look at legislation governing allotments which this consultation seeks to address. I have been in contact with the Scottish Allotments and Gardens Society (SAGS) who are keen to spread word of the consultation to encourage people to respond.
SAGS have pointed out that there has been relatively little research conducted on allotments with much of the work in this area relying on case studies of local groups. Individual experiences will therefore be important to shaping the outcome of the consultation to deliver the changes that are needed.
In support of the consultation, SAGS has produced a discussion document of key issues and draft responses to the questions posed to encourage people to take part. If you have any interest in allotments, I hope you will consider taking part in the consultation. The full document can be accessed here, responses will be accepted until Friday 24 May and you can respond to firstname.lastname@example.org.