OUR FRIENDS BLOGS: Join the ‘Tinder’ of gardening vs allotment waiting lists

By Helen Taylor

Featured in The South West Londoner May 2018

URBAN gardeners looking for land to cultivate are in luck as a community garden sharing scheme provides an alternative to lengthy allotment waiting lists. 

Via its online Patch-Match service, Lend and Tend matches those who don’t have a garden or allotment and would like access to one with people who have gardens but are unable to tend to them. 

Project founder, Joyce Veheary, says Lend and Tend could be like ‘Tinder’ but for the gardening world and is urging those on allotment waiting lists to sign up to it. 

 GREEN FINGERS: Joyce patch-matches urban gardeners

GREEN FINGERS: Joyce patch-matches urban gardeners

Latest figures show that for the 380 allotment plots in Croydon, across six allotment sites, there are 375 people on waiting lists wanting to be allocated a plot.

Joyce, [also] an actress, said: 

“There’s been a recent flurry of need for garden 'Tenders' and there are thousands of people on waiting lists for allotments in suburban areas  – if you’re waiting for an    allotment please sign up to Lend and Tend.”

A National Allotment Society spokesperson said:

“Allotment waiting lists can seem prohibitively long in densely populated built-up cities like London. We would encourage would be plot-holders to get their name down for an allotment and grow their own [if not] at home... in a garden share whilst they wait."
“The sense of achievement when you cook up your own fruit and vegetables and the outdoor activity contribute enormously to a plot-holder’s sense of well-being.” 

As well as tackling growing allotment waiting lists, Joyce says

Lend and Tend addresses topical London issues like loneliness, anxiety, a lack of fresh produce at food banks, a lack of access to green space in urban areas and the growing number of young people renting or living in shared houses who don’t have access to a garden. 

She said: “I always feel a lot calmer after gardening and there isn’t a person in modern life who isn’t affected by some form of anxiety caused by traffic, noise and pollution. Food banks are desperately in need of fresh produce and lower income families could completely, if not entirely, support themselves on growing their own food. 

“Metaphorically, as well as actually, gardening does 'root' you, and young people are so rootless these days. 

“So many children grow- up without knowing where a strawberry comes from or how a tomato is grown, and that’s a real shame.” 

To join Lend and Tend visit www.lendandtend.com.