DOWN TO EARTH PROJECT STATRS UP

Kitchen Garden|June 2020

DOWN TO EARTH PROJECT STATRS UP
Elaine Crick, one of Radio Derby’s Potty Plotters, meets an enthusiastic newbie to the Ashbourne Road Allotments
Elaine Crick

In times past we used to hear the hue and cry from older plot holders: “We need younger people to join the site.” It’s fair to say that it’s a long time since we heard that phrase at the Ashbourne Road Allotments in Derby as the demographics of the site have vastly changed in the past few years. It used to be mainly men tending allotments and often they were retirees, but no longer. Instead, as you enter the site you can guarantee hearing the noise and laughter of younger plot holders working alongside those who have been on-site for many years, teaching and learning side by side and all working in harmony. Unusual maybe but true!

We’d like to put it down to the Potty Plotters demonstrating to people that allotments are a fun place to be as well as a space for hard work and a fun community but, in the main, it’s about connecting with the younger generation rather than moaning about them. In our books, it’s about helping and teaching, which goes both ways: the younger plotters working to improve the social media side of the site and the older plot holders teaching the new plotters the practical side of allotments.

EDUCATION IS KEY

Of course, it takes time, but put simply, who teaches the new plot holder how to dig? Who helps when it can be seen that a new plot holder is struggling to get going? If the answer is “no one” then stand back and hang your head in shame! If it was a school, the pupil would receive support with learning. If it was a swimming pool – would we let the learner swimmer drown? So why attract new plot holders to let them fail?

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June 2020