Keeping It Local Down On The Allotment

TWO Soham men have been keeping it local by setting up a town allotment association. The Ely Standard went out to meet Martin Pooley on his allotment at the Weatheralls, and discover a whole new world of growing your own food, taking time out and sharing

TWO Soham men have been keeping it local by setting up a town allotment association.

The Ely Standard went out to meet Martin Pooley on his allotment at the Weatheralls, and discover a whole new world of growing your own food, taking time out and sharing gardening tips.

The project was set up in March as the brainchild of town councillor Nigel Driver who decided to unite allotment holders at the Weatheralls, the Butts and nearby Berrycroft in order to preserve their plots, share tips on growing and gardening, and help manage unused and overgrown allotments, which are currently full of waist high weeds.

Resident Martin Pooley then took over the baton a month ago and along with his three-year-old son Adam, is a regular down at the Weatheralls allotments, where he grows everything from runner beans and raspberries to huge organic courgettes.


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Mr Pooley, who has only had his allotment since February, said: "We are not expecting everyone who has an allotment to become a member - we just want to take a bit more control over our environment down here, and get water and security. There are a lot of guys in the association that are very weathered gardeners, if you know what I mean, and they will be able to offer support to newcomers like me."

Eventually the association wants to have all plots doled out, a water system on the Weatheralls site and extra security - although many plots have locked shed one older gentleman had his prize potatoes, some rhubarb and onions stolen last week in what was a less than community spirited effort from an unknown vegetable enthusiast.

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Other plans include organising a produce stall for the Pumpkin Fair in September and holding taste tests at monthly meetings.

Allotment land in the town is owned by a number of different organisations - from the town council or county council to a Cambridge University college, and some are classed as temporary, meaning they could be sold at some point in future - something the allotment association say they will unite in opposing.

"Because we are part of a national body, if one guy's plot comes up for housing, we can offer free legal support," adds Mr Pooley. Thankfully all plots seem safe for the foreseeable future, and generations of gardeners will be able to enjoy them.

nThe first official meeting of the Soham Allotment and Leisure Gardeners Association will be held at the Fountain Pub conservatory on Tuesday at 7.30pm.

INFO: Sue Waters on 01353 723472. Membership forms can also be picked up from the Pavilion or at the meeting - and annual subscriptions are £5.

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