Page 5 - ALG Issue 4 2019
P. 5

I am still reeling from the hugely successful event at Gardeners’ World Live in Birmingham, and I think the event did an awful lot of good for our image. Well done to all the volunteers who participated.
I am also still heavily involved at grass roots level as Secretary on our site
in Leeds and as such did some plot judging with our Chairman, in readiness for our site BBQ. The BBQ went off great and a good time was had by all.
It is our site’s centenary year this year and we are opening up the site to the general public as part of the National Trust ‘Heritage Open Days’. Once entered in the scheme, the organisation will do all the publicity for you both locally and nationally. We shall have display boards comparing the past to the present, and a few funny stories from our older gardeners.
On similar lines I took an NAS information stand to Hempland Lane Allotment Open Day, York.
Wow! that was some event; I’ve not seen so many folk at an allotment open day before (story in the magazine). I visited Glen Road Allotments in York to look at a school plot and a plot for people with special needs; it is always encouraging to see these sections of society being catered for on allotments. I took the NAS stand to Calderdale Agricultural Show and I was surprised it was still
on as many shows were cancelled due to the high winds and rain, but the marquee managed to stay up.
Then came National Allotments Week (NAW), and what a week it was. I don’t think I have ever seen as many participating sites. A huge success and very good publicity-wise – my site’s waiting list rose dramatically. My advertising of NAW started on Radio Leeds two weeks before, as all my weekends were booked with events.
I also did two national newspaper interviews on the campaign week and two more for magazines. On the first day of allotment week, I took Rebecca, a new plotholder from my site, to the BBC Studio in Leeds to broadcast to 16 local radio stations from Glasgow to Devon on the benefits of allotment gardening.
The following day I travelled to Rochford in Essex to team up with Regional Representative Ray How, and
the following morning to meet Lord Gardiner of Kimble, Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity, and another representative from DEFRA, to look at some allotment projects and to make our visitors
aware of how good allotments are for communities up and down the country (story in the magazine). Whilst down in Essex I gave a radio interview with Radio Lancashire on the phone, for those
who had missed out on the Monday broadcast. The following Sunday I did the same with Radio Kent.
I had couple of days on my allotment catching up with the weeding, then off to the International Allotment Federation Conference in Graz, Austria. This
was an interesting event in which the workshops and networking brought up some points which I shall be relaying to the Management Committee at their next meeting. It is good to know there are a good number of areas where
we are the forerunners within the movement. The organisation is getting involved with professional researchers from all over Europe, to which we have already submitted papers on soil from Sheffield University and are pursuing the acquisition of research papers
on Pollination. Germany is to host a conference in Berlin in 2021, which will include reports and conclusions from many universities for the benefit of all members.
I know we still have cases to be fought regarding disposal of sites, but in
I know we still have cases to be fought regarding disposal of sites, but in general I get a good feeling
general I get a good feeling about the allotment movement and its steady rise in popularity, and also the public’s better understanding of the benefits of allotment gardening and what it has to offer. This doesn’t happen without the positive attitude and dedication of many of our members. Thanks to all those who are active in this field at shows, open days and the like.
Keep up the good work.
Happy gardening Phil
            Allotment and Leisure Gardener 5

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