It’s all about your own patch

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TOMORROW, school pupils from all over Edinburgh will be flocking to the Southside Community Centre to see how they fared in the annual Edinburgh Allotment Show.

This is the 59th show organised by volunteer allotment plot holders, and is one of the few unsponsored shows in Scotland. Allotment holders from most of the 24 sites will be displaying produce and competing in more than 100 classes. In addition, there are several traditional homecraft and handicraft classes.

Allotments have been perceived as being a traditionally male-dominated pastime. That attitude has been blown away by winds of change. For a start, now there are more women plot holders than men. Many sites have school plots, community groups and open days.

We are part of an ever-expanding community wanting to grow our own and do our bit to save the planet. Our show attracts a small group of children’s entrants encouraged by you, parents/grandparents, and you are to be applauded. We need to build on that participation. The youth of today are the lawmakers of tomorrow, we need them to be supportive of allotments to achieve our aim that anyone who wants an allotment can have their plot with minimal waiting time.

To mark the new Food and the Environment topic of the eco-schools programme, Edinburgh city council has organised a food-growing competition for schools, and we have agreed that it will form of our annual allotment show. What better way to encourage our plot holders of the future.

There are three exciting categories the schools have entered; growing the biggest pumpkin; showing off their artistic skills by producing a Mr Potato Head sculpture; or showcasing the fruit and vegetables they have produced in their school gardens by producing a recipe card.

As luck will have it, we have the Scottish Allotments and Gardens Society trophies in Edinburgh this year and one of these super trophies will be going to the overall school winner. Doors open for the exhibitors and public at 1pm to see who has won and to marvel at the crops that can be grown.

l Peter Wright is Edinburgh Allotment Show secretary