The Bosden Farm Allotment Committee is looking to create a New Allotment site for residents of the Bosden Farm Estate (also known as the Bean Leach Estate) in Offerton and the surrounding area. Our proposed site for 23 plots is on what was the playing field of the former Saint Stephen's School. The Committee came together 6 months ago now in a bid to make use of this forgotten and unused piece of land made vacant when the primary school closed over 13 years ago. The land itself is locked in, surrounded by housing so we felt a small well-kept allotment would be a great community idea, with many benefits to health and wellbeing and would also bring people on the estate (and surrounding areas) together.
We felt there are several reasons for taking on an allotment. For example, the variety of fruit and vegetables we can grow and are available are tremendous. There is a huge variety of less-common vegetables to be enjoyed, of which just a few examples are: good king henry, celtuce, scorzonera, Jerusalem artichoke, and swiss chard. Any good book or seed catalogue can be a real eye-opener. Further, different varieties of more familiar vegetables can offer interest, taste and perhaps better nutritional and health benefits rather than the commercial varieties, selected for yield, appearance and shelf-life. Among cauliflowers there is the Romano type and you can also grow purple ones (one of our members is doing). It is also wonderful to have a large, ready and comprehensive supply of fresh herbs - from parsley and rosemary to mint and horse-radish. It is even an opportunity to grow in quantity a wide range of soft fruits from the familiar in numerous varieties, through to less well-known berries: e.g. cow-berry, honey-berry and goji-berry. One day I hope to grow my own grapes (and start a making my own local wine). Personally, as a keen gardener, father of 3 and vegetarian I am interested in where my food comes and how long it has travelled. Having an allotment allows me grow organically whilst reducing the food miles. Plus, I am constantly surprised when I grow veg is how better they taste. Potatoes are amazing. As I work in an office, I cannot wait to get out there and spend an hour digging away.
As a group, we are keen to build on the community spirit on our estate and feel an allotment is a perfect way to do so we started in January 2016 with a letter to the Council quoting the Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908 and are currently awaiting the approval of the Council and hoping that this can be passed. We want to involve as many as possible and hope to include a Community plot that a group of people can look after together. We have had lots of inspiration and support from surrounding site plot holders and associations i.e Dial Park Allotments and Torkington Road Allotments. Our waiting list is now in its thirties and we have a very enthusiastic team to help make this work.
So Bosden Farm allotment committee are eager and we are making steady progress. We have successfully advertised for new members (flyers, local newsletters etc) and so we now have a respectable waiting list. We have contacted local councillors. We have sought advice from other allotment societies. We are holding regular meetings. So, this is the first steps in our Allotment Journey …
*(The article is now available to download in the form it appears in the magazine)