At Plug Me In our vision for a cleaner, greener future is important to us outside of our working hours. We believe in creating a more sustainable for ourselves and the next generation. To celebrate Allotment week, our Commercial Director Andrew gives us some insight into the joy and satisfaction getting your hands dirty can bring…
I am sure you can imagine, growing up in the 70’s was quite a bit different and, in many ways, much simpler than life today. With no mobile phones, computers or even the internet, socials involved getting on your Chopper and going around to your mates’ houses. We even played and talked for hours instead of looking at phones!
For me, it also meant that my extended family all lived close by, supporting and learning life experiences from each other. Life skills were passed from generation to generation through hands-on experience. We were all very self-sufficient.
In my 1970’s ‘About a Boy’ esq world, that meant my grandad turning our council house front garden into an allotment and me spending all my daylight hours helping my best mates’ family run their small holding.
Watching the seasons pass by in a beautiful rhythm of certainty saw the seeds we planted and nurtured every day turning into our own food, farm animals we cared for bring new life into the world, of which again meant food or an opportunity to make some money at the Farmer’s market.
As time has passed and as life has inevitably taken over, I have always been left with a hankering to get back to growing my own veg. Lockdown was the perfect catalyst for me to start trying again.
Starting small in our back garden we followed the instructions in the book ‘Veg in one bed’, by Huw Richards, which tells you how to use a 3×1.2 meter space by planting and harvesting and then replanting in that space. I found this super easy; like building a Lego set, it told you what to do when and gave us lots of support. Within no time at all we had pea shoots to eat, and it literally grew from there. As a family we bonded around nature and enjoyed our success and failures. This even progressed to my daughter wanting to help make the food we all grow, into family meals.
As you can imagine we all soon got hooked and agreed the next step was to get an allotment. We put our name down on the parish council waiting list and just over a year later we moved onto a very overgrown plot.
My biggest fear when taking on a space 30x as big as my own little plot was not being able to maintain it. I imagined the parish council writing me letters of complaint, and other allotment holders getting frustrated.
The reality is an allotment is a lot of work and there are times when the weeds have definitely beaten us for a while. However, my experience has been more aligned with my hankering for a community coming together to support each other and pass on knowledge. I have found a new community of people that relish in the change of seasons, growing and sharing both food, friendship and experience. As a family we are more connected to each other, nature and the food we eat.