The Urban Farmer decided to investigate whether supply has met demand less than 10 years later.
Several of the chosen allotment sites in North London’s boroughs cover Greater London.
We chose to evaluate Enfield, Haringey, Barnet, Islington, Hackney and Camden as Camden Council has insisted that people look elsewhere to other boroughs when finding an allotment plot as there is no space in Camden.
The figures speak for themselves.
There are virtually no allotment spaces available across North London and the ones which are open are extremely scarce, with availability numbers fluctuating daily.
Across 5 council sites and 194 plots in Camden – all of them have been let. Out of four plots in Islington there are only two accessible plots available on Pollard Close Allotments.
There are two ways of evaluating this data:
1. Londoners are excited and want to continue to urban farm so are holding onto the allotments they have.
2. Yet supply is not meeting demand in London as the public authorities do not have the finances to open up sufficient allotment space for more people.
A 2006 report stated that there was a high demand for allotments in London. Six years later, it has been recorded that 30,000 Londoners use allotments to grow fresh food. However there are only 737 sites in London, a loss of 95% from 10 years ago.
In comparison to the demand stated in 2006, figures from 2012-2014 on Council websites identify that most plots have a closed waiting list and that there are only 20,786 plots in 20 councils.
A report by the WHO called ‘Urban Agriculture In London’ by James Petts in January 2001 described the amount of commercial farm land in Greater London which happens mostly around Lee Valley.
Petts stated that the contribution that Greater London makes to the capital’s economy is £3 million.
He describes that ‘[…] productivity has more than trebled’ in Lee Valley’s Sea of Glass, despite the area being smaller than it was in the past.
The waiting time:
Six years later the problem remains in Camden and other North London boroughs.
In May 2015 it was reported that it would be a 15 year wait for an allotment plot at the Alexandra Park & Nursey & Grove Lodge Meadow site.
London Councils need to try and do more to open new spaces for allotments. This will enable more residents to grow fresh produce on a regular basis underling the importance of fresh produce for their community.
Urban farming helps with community spaces and offers fun for all!