As it turns out, trying to access some allotments sites are considerably harder than others. Whether casually passing by or formally contacting the local allotment officer or site secretary, sometimes the answer will just be no.
Why? Well with growing cases of left and damage from allotment sites and community gardens perhaps the thought of an ‘outsider’ coming on site and asking questions is just not a good idea, or perhaps with the shifting focus on allotments as something quite trendy and a ‘middle class ‘ class hobby the thought of an artist coming along for a visit could be mistaken as yet another trendy, for the moment fad of interest. And why should they think anything else.
Well I would hope that any plot owners who have met me to date would realise otherwise, and that in fact the sudden popularity of the allotment is not something I want to jump on the band-wagon with, but more over explore why it is happening and what it means for their role in everyday society.
True motivations aside, some allotmenteers are highly protective of their land. One conversation with a plot owner down in London suggested that the chairman of her site would never allow such a visit from an artist without a prior meeting with the entire allotment committee and adequate notices posted across the site. If these preparations were not made then the select few ‘cantankerous members on site’ would never let the chairman hear the end of it.
I am now extremely determined to visit this site, if only to see my formal notice of arrival pinned across the allotment notice boards – a minor celebratory for an afternoon if nothing else. I am still waiting for the second committee meeting to take place and patiently await its outcome…