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Allotment Journey – A Step to Sustainable Living

This article is courtesy of Stephen Watts aka Maxsalad. He grows in Sheffield, England and is into organic growing, sustainable living and even writes poetry.

My Journey on Allotments

Allotment Sustainable Living

Allotments for Sustainable Living

Three years ago in October I decided to share an allotment with a couple of friends. I had finished most of my A-levels and decided to focus some time on food growing in a kind of break year from the education system.

I committed a lot of time to clearing the site of rubbish; I felt it was my own way of caring for the earth. This was just common sense work; I could see when soil was polluted with contaminants.

The fresh air and physical exercise built my strength and helped me sleep better. My friends had been looking after it before me over the summer so I wasn’t starting completely from scratch. I had an interest in wild food and herbalism so weeding became exciting, especially when I found all were useful or edible (and incredibly good for me).

From that first seasons growing: sowing lettuce and carrot seeds in the greenhouse indoors in February to broad beans, parsnips and onion sets in March, later sweetcorn, indoors to begin with, cabbages, runner beans, peas, turnips and many others. I was completely hooked on good food. I found it didn’t need cooking or any flavour adding to it to be nice to eat so I ended up eating lots of it raw. Through living at home I was able to have the time to grow the food and make this change possible.

Now I have been growing on allotments for three years and I can begin to see the benefits.

My diet has converted to a mainly raw vegetarian diet (preferably organic and as local as possible- the allotment really helps), I am fitter and stronger from the exercise. I find it easier to relax, and have improved my families’ health through giving them fresh salads (and there’s much more than lettuce to a salad).

Now I find myself daily gathering wild food and I still have time to occupy myself in other creative hobbies. I consider my self my own doctor to a degree but am aware that I still have a lot to learn. I am recycling my body wastes back to the earth in a clean, safe and easy way. And since I have been doing this I have found a new deeper connection to the earth than I had before.

I believe that this change in life style has helped and encouraged me to quit smoking, as well as encouraging me to eat mainly raw food. I will continue to change my diet I might go back to cooking again – whatever feels right. I take with me the wisdom of nourishment, not the rule. Edit 2007.(Recently I have gone back to cooking again, with a new found appreciation of the ancient art!)

I am far from self sufficient but do not plan to be. As humans we are social beings and giving and receiving is a need. For me it took a lot of time and effort in the first few years to get a clean patch and a basic sense of composting- feeding the soil. If I had had to do a full time job it would have made it incredibly difficult to practice food growing.

Allotments- A step to sustainable living

I envisage allotments becoming communal systems, without individual ownership. People will be united by a shared vision to care for the land and will recognise that cooperation rather than competition makes living easier for everyone.

We have already won the lottery. We are alive and being sustained by a beautiful planet which is suspended in an infinitely large universe. Feel space breath space! This gift of life is more than enough to be thankful for.

I am only ever divided by myself .

There is no outer divide. All is well with the world!

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