By definition, an allotment is simply a patch of land on which to grow food produce for a non-commercial gain. For me, allotments mean childhood mud pies and happiness, they mean carefree and peace, they mean tasty treats, but most importantly, they mean mum.
For most, their allotment is a place of escapism and calm, proven to reduce stress and boost self-esteem. A study in the Netherlands showed a 10% increase in exposure to green spaces having the equivalent effect as taking five years off your age.
Each allotment says something about its gardener. Some are experimental, some are precise, some are wildly messy, some are impeccably neat, some have animals, others have polytunnels, others have sheds. The allotments are a community, a community of people with the shared passion for the natural environment.
This project was shot over the course of a few years. During the second year, the coronavirus pandemic broke out. The allotments became somewhere I liked walking through on my daily exercise, seen in a different light to before when I saw them as a project setting and a place where mum tends to her plot of land. The land, in a new way, became beneficial to those who did not tend to plots, but simply enjoyed them.
No one could have imagined the reasons behind the allotments being at their busiest. Then, for a different reason, in a different way, keepers were once again “digging for victory” and allotments could be place of such safety, pleasure and peace.