We’ve just had National Allotments Week and chances are that, this year, this normally fairly subdued event found its way into your Insta feed. Like, a lot (sorry for the pun). From tastefully filtered photos of veg to cheers and beers by the sheds, Allotments Week has really gained traction with the social media generation. What’s going on?
Allotments have for a long time been regarded as the preserve of the elderly – but Millennials are now taking to them in droves. Some are driven by ecological ethics, some love the idea of growing their own food, some want to save money on groceries, and some find their allotments a precious break from crowded flat-shares and stressful jobs.
If you’re thinking of applying for an allotment, here are a few reasons why you should:
Good for the environment
If you keep your allotment gardening sustainable and chemical-low, you could be doing your local environment a ton of favours. Growing certain things will help to feed pollinators while feeding yourself with allotment fruit and veg reduces your need to buy from less sustainable agribusinesses.
Good for your mental health
There are truckloads of evidence out there proving that gardening, eating homegrown produce, and generally engaging with the natural world are fantastic for mental health. As well as being enjoyable, spending time in your allotment can lower your stress levels, alleviate the symptoms of depression, improve your self-esteem, help you to regulate your emotions, and much more. What’s more, some studies suggest that digging in the dirt exposes you to friendly bacteria which work in a similar way to antidepressants.
Good for your physical health
Gardening is one of those wonderful activities which can be as physically intensive or as gentle as you want. But, even if you do nothing but potter softly about the flowerbeds, the physical benefits will make themselves felt sooner or later. Gardening is not only good exercise, being outdoors will also flood your body with Vitamin D, help you to sleep better, improve your immune system, and lower your blood pressure. What’s more, if you’re using your allotment to grow your own food, your diet will benefit from the uptick in nutrients – particularly if you’re using chemical-free growing methods.
Good for your social life
Gardening has a reputation as a solitary activity. And, to be fair, if you prefer to garden solo that’s totally doable. However, if you’re the chatty sort then spending time down the allotments will provide you with a surprisingly effective social outlet. Plenty of friendships are struck up through chats over allotment fences. Allotment communities are friendly and supportive, with people sharing resources like water, spare seeds, spare compost, tips, tea, and anything else that a burgeoning gardener may need. Get stuck in, get to know your allotment neighbours, and you’ll be sharing a brew and a natter among the sheds in no time.