The younger generation of gardeners and the health benefits of allotments celebrated as part of National Allotment Week

The younger generation of ‘grow your own’ gardeners were celebrated this week as part of National Allotment Week.

It is not just about produce but the process of growing

The National Allotment Society shone the spotlight on youngers who are growing everything on their plots from mange tout to apples and even rescuing battery hens.

Mike Farrell who is the Yorkshire representative for the society said there had been a growth in young people becoming involved in allotments with more parents wanting their children to be aware of what food is and where it comes from.

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He said it was also a great way of introducing children to new fruit and vegetables.

“Growing something gives children a sense of pride and they love watering plants and seeing them grow. One of my grandsons was given some sets of onions which we planted and he watered religiously. He was so proud of them.”

And it is not just beneficial for the younger generation, Mr Farrell, who lives in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, said there are number of adults who find spending time on their allotment has real benefits for their mental health.

“It can help people switch off from the stresses they have every day.

“I was talking to one allotment holder who was a social worker dealing with really difficult things during her working day. She said how much she loved coming to her plot as she was able to let her mind float away.

“A lot of people enjoy weeding and digging for that reason as well. It is therapeutic.”

The National Allotment Society has reported a rise in the number of people joining local authority waiting lists for a plot and Mr Farrell said the Covid-19 lockdown had also boosted demand.

“We have found groups which had empty plots now have a waiting list and with people being furloughed or working from home they have more time and would like to try growing their own produce.”

The society has used National Allotment Week to issue a rallying cry to the Government for more green space to allow people to “grow their own”.

“With one in eight of the UK population having no access to a garden and a rise in awareness of the fragility of our food systems perhaps now is the time for central government to reassess the potential of allotments to support public health and make a significant contribution to food security,” the society said.

Mr Farrell who grows organic produce on his allotment said the difference in home-produced food was noticeable and this, along with an increased interest in knowing where our food comes from, was making growing your own more popular.