Emma, Mill Dam Allotments


I’m 33 years old and I’ve had my plot at Mill Dam Allotments for about nine months.

When I was pregnant with my second son I’d often walk past Mill Dam Allotments. One day, I was chatting to someone who happened to be the site’s lettings officer. I only had to wait one month to get my plot.

My dad had an allotment and I grew up helping him pick the peas and beans but I did lose interest in my teenage years. As an adult I became very interested in protecting the environment, reducing waste and recycling. I tend to shop locally in markets and charity shops and I avoid buying anything in plastic packaging.

For a long time my ideal was to grow my own organic fruit and vegetables with no air miles and no plastic packaging. I was also looking for a physically active hobby that fitted in with having children. Since being a mum I’ve had limited time for my usual hobbies like jogging and yoga which I’ve gradually given up.

As a mum with young children you can easily go through a whole day without talking to another adult and that can be isolating. At the allotment there are lots of people from all walks of life. I have little chats, people give me advice, share produce, seeds and plants. The allotment is very good my mental health, and if I’m in a bad mood I come to my allotment and get stuck in with some work. I find it very therapeutic.

We don’t have a garden at home and I don’t like being stuck indoors all day with the children. Weather permitting, I bring them to the allotment most days and bring a picnic. They are in the fresh air, they are watching and learning about the environment, growing plants and they meet lots of people. It’s perfect for them.

We got our plot in September and straightaway we started digging, putting in raised beds, and creating a central lawn area for the children. We were very lucky to inherit fruit trees, a shed, and a greenhouse. I planted seeds in pots ready for planting in spring. I made chutneys and my husband made apple cider.

I feel so grown up now that I have an allotment. I was even invited to join the site’s Committee and last month I took on the role of Secretary. The allotment has made me a more creative cook and I now eat an increasingly wider variety of vegetables.

Emma’s favourite plot to plate: Garlic & herb roasted summer vegetables with roasted halloumi cheese & spicy chick peas drizzled with a tahini dressing.