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  1. 1. Protecting UK Allotments Farida Vis Research Fellow, Information School University of Sheffield @flygirltwo Turning Vacant Acres into Community Resources The New School, New York, NY, April 22-23, 2014
  2. 2. What is an allotment? Small piece of land rented from the council for the cultivation of fruit and vegetables for home consumption. Sign a tenancy agreement every year. Since the Allotments Act of 1908 a standard allotment is ‘10 rods’. Rods are also called poles or perches. 10 rod = 250 sqm I’ve had an allotment for 13 years On our site’s committee for 10 years. Waiting list & new tenants Voluntary. Dealing with the council’s allotment officer Founding member of Open Data Manchester – data driven
  3. 3. Individual plots (must be fully cultivated, time commitment)
  4. 4. Community plot (education, different commitment, access)
  5. 5. Site is from 1906 Rule 6 from 1906
  6. 6. Statutory allotments are parcels of land acquired or appropriated by the local authority specifically for use as allotments. These sites cannot be sold or used for other purposes without the consent of the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions. Temporary allotments are on land which is allocated for other uses but leased or rented by an allotments’ authority. Temporary allotments are not protected from disposal in the same way that statutory allotments are.
  7. 7. Allotments Act of 1908: Clause 23 ensures that councils provide allotments. It takes six citizens for council to consider. Responsibility of local government. If sites are sold money can only be spent on allotments.
  8. 8. ‘Public Consultation’ in 2011
  9. 9. Standard ways in which allotments and growing your own are discussed in the mainstream media in the UK: Dig for Victory (WWII) The Good Life (1970s sitcom)
  10. 10. Huge waiting lists: big demand, tiny supply In 1940s: 1.4 million allotment plots in the UK. Now: 200,000. Cycles of popularity. What do you do when everyone wants one again? National Society for Allotments and Leisure Gardeners (NSALG) – legal support Perennial problem: good allotment data. Difficult to get an overview of what is going on at local/national level. Evidenced based policy making on allotments difficult, but it’s also difficult to protect these spaces without data!
  11. 11. Offered new ‘inferior’ site
  12. 12. Allotment Data Everyday Growing Cultures Cultural Values of Digging From Crap to Crop Portfolio of connected work
  13. 13. New data (through FOI) – From all UK councils. Tenancy agreements Changes | consultations Cost of hiring a plot (past, current, future) Cost of water use Discounts Cost of waste removal
  14. 14. Media interest Interest from policymakers Local government Central government Internationally (EU)
  15. 15. Everyday Growing Cultures Kindling Trust Grow Sheffield Manchester and Sheffield No data/map of vacant lots Trafford Council
  16. 16. Inspired by mapping projects, including 596 Acres Identified around 5 acres of possible growing land
  17. 17. Rent increases
  18. 18. Who owns the land?
  19. 19. Switch: data/policy work as ODM Continued visibility of issues
  20. 20. “England is not a free people, till the poor that have no land, have a free allowance to dig and labour the commons..” Gerrard Winstanley, 1649
  21. 21. @flygirltwo @allotmentdata