{Food and Gardening} Allotment Gardens in London

East London Allotments, photo from LindaEve

My husband and I recently made our annual trip to the East End of London to visit family. On one of our daily walks we passed through St. James Park and came across the allotment gardens that have been an East End mainstay for many years and became very popular in war time.

Photo from City Farmer

An allotment garden is a plot of land made available for individual, non-commercial gardening. These plots are formed by subdividing a piece of land into a few or up to several hundreds of land parcels that are assigned to individuals or families. In allotment gardens, the parcels are cultivated individually, contrary to other community garden types where the entire area is tended collectively by a group of people.

Photo from St. Ann’s Allotments

From the late nineteenth century to the end of the First World War, the East End of London experienced a huge increase in allotment cultivation, as they were places where a family could grow their own food in order to supplement low wages and rationing.

The popularity of allotment gardening has not waned, which is evidenced by hundreds-long waiting lists. They have become popular with folks who share a passion for growing organic produce. For a city-dweller, it’s a fantastic way to spend your spare time and put healthy, wholesome food on your table.

Photo from Gabrielles Garden

For useful information about allotments in the UK, check out the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners Ltd.  If  you live in London, you can find out how to get started here.

Do you have allotment gardening in your city? Inspired to start planting? Have a look at what Team Eco Etsy members are offering to get you started.  Maybe you’d like to plant some organic hibiscus. How about some Italian herbs?

Do you and your family tend an allotment? Please share your stories in the comments!

LindaEve