When I tell people, that I have an allotment. Other than almost killing the conversation, the response is usually a scoff and a spot of “what you? Thought that was all about old men.”
Newflash. Think again.
I’ve had the plot now for three years, I was container gardening two years prior to that. And I am certainly not an old man. I’m thirty years of age, and a woman. You do not get to call me old.
I’m not the only girl on our site, it’s actually fairly equal. But I do wonder how many there are across the country. Plus, like many other parts of the society around us. Maybe gardening is no longer a blokey bastion, with cloak and dagger shed conversations. Times are a changing.
It might historically have been a bloke’s playground, on the ground as it were. And even on the box, all the gardeners, with the exception of Charlie Dimmock and Carol Klien, have been establishment gentlemen. I’m quite glad, that television personality Fern Briton has been involved with the Big Allotment Challenge, and the contestants have been fairly representative. Allotmenteering has had something of a renaissance. More and more women are getting allotment plots. Women, of all ages, from all walks of life. The allotment, is not longer the strong hold of aged men. It is no longer, a closed shop.
I like my allotment. I dislike going to the Gym. I’m not anti-Gym, it’s just not for me. I don’t dislike the idea of getting worked up and sweaty with kettle bells. The same happens when you trundle up and down a plot with a wheelbarrow. Pottering around, can give the same opportunity to be mobile and raise your heart rate for that recommended 30 minutes twice a week. The plot is hard work, it requires commitment and determination. There is exercise to be hand. Trust me, there is something of a calming effect to be experienced when walking up and down passed your roses and gladioli. It even involves braining slugs and snails, but one is not some weak willed maiden, going all knock kneed. If a slug or snail wishes to take me, then it is going to have a duel on it’s antennae.
Allotmenteering is an alternative learning experience. You become aware of success and of failure. You acquire alternative knowledge and understanding. You gain, an alternative perspective.
It is more definitely not for those who are likely to give up, or for the figuratively faint hearted maiden. It is however, for everyone. I know that some allotment sites can be cliquey, political mindfields of gerberas and gladioli. But that is not something to be focused on.
I am proud to be a young-ish woman, who has allotmenteering as a hobby. It is something that I enjoy, that I am passionate about and like to share with other like minded people. I do believe that it is for everyone, that gender, colour and creed, are of no consequence. A spade will not worry about who is using it. Allotmenteering doesn’t necessarily appeal to everyone, and it is a beyond the norm hobby. But I like it. And I plan to continue with it, for as long as I possibly can.
6 thoughts on “#thisgirlcan : Allotmenteering”
I love that line “A spade does not worry about who is using it”.
We have an interesting mix of allotmenteers at Beelarong Community Farm. I especially love to see the toddlers digging away ‘helping’ young parents and foraging for the strawberries. Generally it seems to be the women who rent the allotments, all ages but more towards retirees, like me. Fortunately we also have plenty of men around the place and (trying not to be too sexist) they are a great help when I need a particularly heavy job done – I am only 53 kilos. One of our allotment holders is a Scots fellow (we are in Queensland, Australia) and he has forgotten more than I will ever learn about growing potatoes. So he is my potato mentor. One of the most interesting gardeners we had was from a village in Africa and she taught us so much about some of the more exotic vegetables we could be growing here, even going as far as bringing in a hotplate and showing us how to cook them, then passing around a taste.
A wonderful place, an allotment.
Lovely post – I’d add that gardening slows time! You have to plan and work to each month or season, instead of it all blending into one.
And it really makes you appeciate sunshine!
Reblogged this on horticultural 'obbit.
Lovely to read this inspiring post once again. I feel like shouting “here! here!” as that is what I think folk shout when they are in full agreement.
cheers, Jean! I’m hoping that the #thisgirlcan campaign keeps going and inspires young ladies to get active. even if it means gardening!
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