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Published On: Wed, May 4th, 2011 at 6:47pm

Edinburgh in Bloom – Allotments in the City

This year will see the Edinburgh in Bloom competition return to Edinburgh’s allotments.

The event is held annually by City of Edinburgh Council and FEDAGA (Federation of Edinburgh and District Allotments and Gardens Associations), and is an opportunity for allotment holders to show off not only their produce, but also their growing skills and other enviornmental attributes like site waste management.

Categories for the competition include: Best Allotment Plot, Best Allotment Site, Waste Wise Award (which refers to recycling, composting etc) and Most Improved Allotment Site.

The Edinburgh Reporter spoke to John McKinlay – one of the judges involved in this year’s event and an allotment holder of 17 years – about his role and his experience with allotments:

John McKinlay by SianLower

There are currently 1233 plots in and around the city, with over 2000 applicants waiting in Edinburgh alone.

The Council are said to be aiming to provide a new allotment site every year, apparently in return for increased plot rent.

It is estimated that each plot costs about £2,500 to create, which means external funding will probably be required.

The City of Edinburgh Council’s 2010 – 2015 Allotment Strategy also states that the council will “allocate funding from the Council Capital Programme for new allotments” and that they will “explore all opportunities for external funding.”

The document goes on to claim that the council will identify potential sites through an audit of the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) land, while at the same time supporting the use of vacant development sites as temporary allotments.

Around 32 new sites have already been identified as potential locations, and an Edinburgh Garden Share Scheme has been formed to encourage first-time plot owners to take half plots (£35, £17.50 concession) or share plots, rather than use full ones (£70, £35 concession), to ease the size of the waiting list.

Judging for the Edinburgh in Bloom competition will take place from 24 June to 15 July, with prizes being awarded at the Allotment Show in September.

For an entry form, click here – the deadline is 3 June.

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