During their first full growing season, the 18 allotment planters at Quintain Living’s Canada Gardens in London’s Wembley Park have become a hub for residents of all ages to get together, connect with nature, socialise over shared growing tips, and enjoy producing fresh, seasonal food for their families. Residents grow a wide range of fruit and vegetables – such as beans, tomatoes, carrots, cabbages, strawberries and blackberries – and herbs.
Demand for allotments has grown rapidly since the pandemic. According to the State of the Market Report (Allotments) 2021 from the Association of Public Service Excellence (APSE), nearly 90% of local authorities experienced increased demand for allotments as a result of Covid-19.
With National Allotments Week 2022 taking place this week, Quintain Living highlights how important it is to raise awareness of the role of allotments in nurturing communities and supporting people to grow their own food, live healthier and more active lifestyles, and connect with one another.
“Gardening and growing your own food can do so much to boost health and wellbeing, both physical and mental. This is why Quintain Living provides allotment beds at Canada Gardens. Our residents can get outside, connect with nature and enjoy the benefits of gardening; it’s particularly rewarding for those growing their own produce to eat. It’s a great way for residents to enjoy home-grown fruit and vegetables whilst reducing their carbon footprint and teaching children where their food comes from.”Danielle Bayless, Chief Operating Officer, Quintain Living
Currently, the availability of allotments does not meet demand. According to APSE’s data, 51% of local authorities have between 100 and 400 people on their waiting list; 38% have waiting lists of over 1,000 people – up from 20% in 2020. Over 34% of local authorities report that people are waiting an average of over 18 months for an allotment plot to become available.
“There are more than 20 sites run by us but due to high demand they currently all have a one to two year waiting list. Applications for new people to join a waiting list for an allotment site are currently closed.”Brent London Borough Council
In addition to the 18 planters, Canada Gardens, which is managed by Quintain Living, a management company that oversees the rental of over 3,250 apartments in Wembley Park, has a storage shed for residents’ tools, pots and seeds, as well as a greenhouse for their use. The shed also contains planting and growing information, and residents have set up a WhatsApp group to share their own knowledge. The community members also come together in person at events organised by Quintain Living. At the most recent event, residents shared growing tips and heard from professionals on how to care for their crops.
“We are delighted that the allotments at Canada Gardens have proven to be such a valuable community feature. The entire development, with its acre of gardens, large roof terrace and on-site clubhouse is all about family and nature. The allotments are a core part of that.”Danielle Bayless, Chief Operating Officer, Quintain Living