ou're probably wondering "what's the different between us and any other allotments society/ association or similar organisation that's either run by a local authority or a private enterprise?" In a couple of words - an awful lot!
First and foremost, we're a registered charity. We don't just run allotment sites for a group of growers on allotment plots for their own benefit only. We DO provide land for allotment plots, and we DO rent them out to our members. However we also provide fresh, healthy produce from our allotment sites for the benefit of the community at large, using traditional organic methods; either directly to those in need or by topping up existing Food Banks. Simply put we have a social conscience, and a desire to share the produce of our passion with others who are less fortunate.
We are also keen to teach others how to cultivate the land, for the production of food, and we do that by imparting years of accumulated gardening knowledge and expertise to share with our fellow growers.
Let us briefly explain:
(1) Who we are:
The trustees of our charity are a group of very keen and dedicated allotment garden growers; some of us have over forty years of individual experience of growing organic fruit and vegetables, as part of a long tradition of producing fresh and healthy home-grown food at local level for our families and others in our community. We have been involved (as individuals) in this activity on various allotment sites at various locations since 1975. Not only have we been promoting the benefits of this healthy outdoor lifestyle for a long time, but we have been actively promoting and supporting the general allotment movement over this same period.
(2) What we are about:
Most allotment groups are formed through the provision of land for allotment use by Local Government Authorities (due mostly to their statutory obligations under the provisions of the Small Holding and Allotments Act 1908) and other landowners, such as churches, railway companies, farmers and/ or private landowners etc. (who often have a vested commercial interests). Historically, this provision has allowed for individuals within allotment groups to acquire a plot of land for their own personal use only, and some extended family members, friends or neighbours, but NOT for the overall benefit of the more needy in the wider community.
We, on the other hand, believe that this provision should be expanded, so that the benefits of local, home-grown produce should be enjoyed not only by the individuals who are fortunate enough to have access to growing plots, and have the expertise and health and strength to grow fruit and vegetables for themselves, but others within our communities (such as impoverished pensioners, those with a genuine need for welfare support, and those organisations who provide for those members in our communities through the administration of 'Food Banks' etc.). All the weak and needy in our communities should have the opportunity to receive help from the charitable works of our growers, who more often than not have big surpluses available from the crops they grow each year.
(3) What we do:
To this end we have established a Charitable Incorporated Organisation that is registered with the Charities Commission (Number 1166320), in order to fulfil our mission to acquire parcels of land for cultivation and to run a charity that manages allotment sites to a professional level, specifically to provide healthy, organic food - not only for it's plot holding members - but to distribute surplus food amongst the needy, who should have access to such produce, but because of their circumstances are not able to do so for themselves.
We also hope that our charitable works will instil in others the urge to get involved, and to grow fruit and vegetables not only for their own health and enjoyment, but also to generate a community spirit and the feel good factor that comes through providing for others, who are less fortunate in their communities.
Our work is NOT for any financial gain nor profit motivation, it is a wholly charitable venture. Costs of renting, leasing and where possible the purchase of land for allotment sites will be recovered from plot cultivating member's ground rents and other donations, gifts and grants that are available for this type of project.
(4) What our plans are for the future :
To accomplish our plans for the future we are very keen to work with other organisations and individuals alike. We also believe that under the right circumstances, we can be of great mutual benefit to one another. Please see at the foot of this page a copy of our Aims and Objects which is an excerpt from our Constitution.
It is our intention to set-up and develop future allotment food growing sites in local communities - initially in the Ceredigion area. Where our first site was established, it forms a showcase of what we are capable of achieving in the future.
Whilst many have a picture in their minds of allotment sites that are often quite disorganised (possibly rather an eyesore), sometimes poorly managed and unstructured. Our sites are properly managed, well cultivated and tended to high standards (similar to the kitchen gardens of Victorian times). Plot cultivators from within the local community, who are members of the Aeron Vale Allotments Trust, not only produce sufficient food for themselves and their families, but form part of a distribution arrangement, whereby surpluses are made freely available at our site "shop" to others in the community who have welfare needs or are aged or feeble and incapable of growing their own food (that limits them to what fresh food they can purchase in shops and supermarkets, which is anyway, invariably not up to the standards of food grown traditionally in an organic environment as local produce for local consumption). We currently have a considerable number of potential growers on our waiting list. Assuming each grower has access to a 250 sq. metre plot (the national average) on an allotments site, then their combined effort would turn approximately one or two acre of ground into food for a substantial number of needy families and aged individuals in their community. The only thing that limits us actively attracting more growers is the unavailability of land on suitable sites.
It pains and saddens us that in our time, we are finding increasing numbers on allotment waiting lists. Despite the statutory obligation on local authorities to provide allotments (where there is a demand). There are still very few sites being created each year. However the trend shows that people wanting to grow their own food is on the rise, and currently it is estimated that over 100,000 gardeners want an allotment plot and are on waiting lists in the UK - this figure does not include the numbers held by Parish or Town Council or private group lists and so could be much higher. There is also a reduction in land that is available for individual food production. At present it appears that land is being routinely acquired and removed from this use to accommodate planning applications by property developers. At this same time our communities are becoming more fragmented and their inhabitants are being deprived of access to healthy food, whilst still others are becoming increasingly dependent on provisions from food banks and similar sources. Added to this is the fact that the urban population is becoming increasingly isolated from the soil and the opportunity to provide food for themselves. They are being deprived of their basic freedom of enjoyment that comes from experiencing the peace of physical and mental well being and social interaction that comes from contact with the earth and the outdoor environment in general.
|Our (Charitable Incorporated Organisation's) OBJECTS (excerpt)|
|Our RULES & GOVERNANCE Document|