Discover more about the world of allotments, and find out how this could be a new diversification idea for your land!
Next Monday marks the start of UK National Allotment week, and what better way to celebrate this little-known event than by discussing all things allotment.
The Farm Business Innovation show, taking place at Birmingham’s NEC on 6th and 7th November, is the home for all innovative land diversification ideas. That’s why we want to keep you up-to-date on all the ways you can utilise your land in more ways than one!
With allotments as our hot topic for this week, perhaps we can enlighten you on the ways in which they could be the next big thing. Land diversification has never been simpler.
What is an Allotment?
An allotment is a plot of land which is made available to rent out for growing fruit and vegetables. Allotments have been around for hundreds of years, spanning back to the Anglo-Saxon period, and probably before. Nevertheless, the allotments we know of today have been around since the nineteenth century.
With house prices soaring, having access to your own garden has become a luxury, but the need for healthy eating, and a diverse diet, remains ever-pressing. This means that, although many families and couples may wish to grow their own vegetables, they often won’t have the means to do so.
Because of this, over 90,000 people remain on a waiting list to rent an allotment out. In fact, due to the lack of information from Parish and Town Councils, this number is likely to be much higher!
With the current state of affairs, the average waiting time for an allotment is between 6 to 18 months. So, despite the understandable decrease in allotment popularity since the 1800s, due to mass-farming, allotments are still in overwhelming demand.
Should You Diversify Into Allotments?
Considering the lack of available allotment land, and the waiting list maintaining its numbers, there’s clearly a gap in the market. The question is, is diversifying into allotments worth it?
Let’s Do The Math
Renting an allotment per year usually ranges between the region of £25-£125. The average, in most places, costs around 74 pence per square meter.
Let’s assume you’ll put half of your farmland towards allotments...
If we take the average amount of land held—57 hectares (57,000 metres)—and multiply it by the average allotment price per square metre, you could be looking at over £21,000 a year! Give or take the obvious differences in situation, it’s no secret that this could bring in serious money.
Are Allotments Worth The Effort?
A usual plot of farmland can take serious work - immense machinery, a labour force, money, and time. With a plot of fertile land at your fingertips, making it available to the masses could be the simplest way to capitalise on your land!
In fact, there’s almost no work required on your part. A bit of advertisement here and there, some marketing to hone in on your target market, and basic land maintenance, is all you’ll need. Those 90,000 people on the waiting list should come flying in, in no time.
Chyanhall Allotments: A Case Study
Still need convincing? We think the success story of Chyanhall Allotments, in Cornwall, will put your mind at ease.
After noticing a gap in the market in the allotment sector, David and Kay Hicks, alongside their daughter, Carly, decided to explore its possibilities. With the help of The National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners (NSALG), and their extensive information on the topic, the transition was simple.
Since these changes, the income from the land has risen from £700 to £12,000 per year! That said, it’s not all about the money as, not only have the Hicks family built a business together, but they’ve also helped to improve the community links.
With a “no-deal” Brexit potentially on the horizon, growing your own food could be imperative to keeping the farming industry alive. Need we say more?
Are Allotments All That?
As you can see, diversifying your land doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as renting it out, and leaving it to do its thing; minimal labour or heavy machinery required.
Diversifying into allotments could be the way forward. Not only could you make use of your redundant land, you could boost profits, and improve your community. If Chyanhall Allotments can do it, there’s no reason why you can’t too.
Do you have any expertise in diversifying your land in this way? If so, exhibiting at our Farm Business Innovation Show on 6th-7th November 2019, at the NEC Birmingham, could be a great way to get your allotment on the map. If you fancy getting involved in this way, then please contact our Event Director, Reece Morris, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call +44 (0)117 929 6087.
Otherwise, if you’re a beginner to the world of allotments, and want to find out more, get your free tickets, here. See you there!