Villagers share their solution to shortage of allotment plots

Published on: 07 Apr 2014

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A Saltford scheme is aiming to match garden owners with would-be gardeners to address the lack of available allotment space in the village.

With long waiting lists for allotment plots in the area, the initiative tackles the problem by teaming up people with space to share with those who want to get digging and growing.

Paul Pearce runs the Gardenshare scheme, organised by Saltford Environment Group, and says he currently has around six gardens on his list just waiting for someone to get started.

After more than two years on the allotment waiting list, Paul now tends a garden owned by Saltford resident Murielle Shipper, the village’s first Gardensharer,  splitting the work and the crops with her and her family.

He said: “It works really well to share the workload – for example, I will perhaps do the weeding and longer stints at the weekends while Murielle keeps it watered every day. It’s more than just sharing a garden as I’ve made a really good friend in the village.

“It’s open to everybody as we’ve got a range of gardens, some of which are owned by people with gardening experience but who perhaps haven’t got the best of health or the time to do it, so it can suit anybody from complete beginners to expert Monty Don types.”

Would-be gardeners are matched with garden owners based on details such as the size of the garden, location and what they want to grow and then are introduced via the scheme. If both are happy, they sign a simple tenancy agreement and the gardener is asked to get some public liability insurance before getting to work.

Paul added: “One of the biggest benefits of gardening is that it’s free exercise – you don’t have to pay to go to the gym, you get fresh air and good quality food, and you never stop learning. There is also nothing quite like the experience of growing a plant from seed and then eating the produce from it – it’s like alchemy.”

To find out more about Saltford’s Gardenshare scheme, contact Paul on 07872 028947, email razting@hotmail.com or visit www.saltfordenvironment group.org.uk.

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