Clearing Up and Looking to the Future

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At the official start of Autumn there have been a few  extra clear up jobs to do as a result of storm Ali.  Hopefully this is not going to be a common feature of the weather this winter!   Remember, when you’re planning for next year you can get your seeds, onion and shallot sets and garlic at our October Celebration (see poster A4.)

Looking to The Future

At our workshop on September 15th  the GAF members’ group were looking to see how allotments could use the opportunities provided by the Community Empowerment Act to promote the values of plotholding and the contributions that allotments can make to the development of our City as the “Dear Green Place”.

Having carried out two major visits this year to look at what’s happening on our allotments and talk to plotholders about why they value their sites  we came up with the following draft manifesto ( access the pdf here Draft Manifesto 2018):

A Manifesto for Glasgow’s Allotments

Wellbeing: A Healthier City

Glasgow Allotment Forum’s primary aim is to promote the value of allotments together with the purposes and needs that plot-holding serves for our members and their local communities. Although growing food is an important element of their activity many plotholders also value the contribution that plotholding makes to their psychological and physical well-being. Plots provide access to a quiet, green space in which people can be creative, productive and active. Many plotholders value the autonomy and freedom from stress they experience in designing and maintaining their own gardens.

Inclusion: Resilient and Empowered Neighbourhoods

Well run allotment sites foster inclusion. They create communities of a type, and on a scale, that encourages interaction – one Iraqi plotholder remarked ,” It reminds me of my village.” For those suffering from social isolation allotments provide a shared practical focus that engenders conversations and exchanges. Most sites have communal plots with schools, NGOs and self-help groups being plotholders in their own right. Sites currently provide outdoor learning opportunities for young people, enjoyable experiences for people with dementia and a safe, therapeutic space for those struggling with a range of health and social issues.

Green Practices: A Sustainable and Low Carbon City

There is a strong commitment to sustainable practices in the allotment community. Improving local bio-diversity, expanding organic food production and recycling/upcycling are all key activities. Wildlife areas with ponds and native plants are evident on many sites. Bee keeping has become increasingly popular. Allotments have a long history of conserving urban greenspace.

Co-working: A Well Governed City

GAF looks to the future of urban gardening and the ongoing use, preservation and expansion of greenspace in our City, where allotments are an essential element in local networks for food-growing and place-making. We want to see a strategy for allotments that builds on the momentum generated by recent legislation through participation and inclusion where Council officers and plot-holders work together to ensure that allotments associations are run effectively to serve all their members and provide support for developing and maintaining the value of greenspace for their local communitiies.

Let us know what you think of it  – we welcome your comments.

What is clear from the visits is that relatively little is known about our allotment sites. There tends to be a rather stereotypical view about what we do and who we are based on a past that is long gone. We are planning to  visit all the Glasgow sites to talk about what you want for the future and how GAF can support you. We also want to know about your site – to find out some basic facts and figures. Whilst we know that allotments already make the kinds of contributions that we’ve cited in the  draft manifesto we need to collect the evidence to back up our claims.

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