News / News Archive

Mar 7, 2012

Seeds sown for Incredible Edible Sedgemoor

40 people packed into Bridgwater House on Wednesday night to learn more about how to access land to grow food on in Sedgemoor District.
The evening was organized by Somerset Community Food as part of our Land and Food Project.

Presenting the results of a detailed survey of allotment provision and demand for land in the district, Linda Hull, co-ordinator of the project, said: “Despite the fact that there are more than 50 acres of allotments in Sedgemoor, we now know that 130 people are on allotment waiting lists in the district. If we count those who might not know how to get on a list or those who think it’s pointless to do so because the list is too long, we could probably say latent demand is double and more like 260 would like a patch of ground to grow food on.”

Participants from across the district listed saving money, getting fit, eating healthy quality food, being outside in nature, showing children where food comes from and doing their bit for the environment as reasons for wanting land to grow food on.

Speakers from the National Society of Allotments, community gardens in Axbridge and Shipham and allotment associations in Westonzoyland and West Huntspill told their stories about how they took control of searches for land to create new growing spaces in their areas at no cost to the taxpayer. Some groups searched for 3 or 4 years, while others found land within months. All speakers commented on how bare fields had been transformed into beautiful sites where people had learned to work together to provide wonderful, fresh produce for themselves.

Questions were raised about access to water and rainwater harvesting was proposed as a simple and effective solution to supplying water to a site.

“It’s clear that people who really want to grow food can find ways to access land. What we need now is landowners to come forward particularly in the Highbridge, Burnham, Bridgwater and Cheddar areas where the waiting lists are longest,” said Linda Hull. “There’s a reasonable income to be derived from leasing land for community growing, certainly better than grass keep. Both public and private landowners can benefit – public landowners can turn maintenance costs into revenue streams and local farmers can make use of marginal land and even develop captive, loyal, local markets for other crops such as meat, milk, eggs and so forth. Not to mention the fantastic community spirit that is generated!”

Mapping demand in the Sedgemoor District