A few weekends ago, Bruce took me along to his local HAHA (Hawkenbury Allotment Holders Association) show where he had been invited to judge the photographic entries, needless to say I was intrigued!
It is the 75th anniversary of HAHA, who's members can be proud of working on the largest allotment site in Tunbridge Wells. The site actually began in 1891, with HAHA forming in 1933 as a sort of allotmenteers co-operative rather than just volunteers.
They also produced a very interesting "HAHA at 75 - The Story of an English Allotment Association" book written by Dr Janet Sturgis, which I have been enjoying since. It has an excellent history of the growing popularity of allotments, one particular chapter highlights the benefits of allotments, originally written by Bolton Borough Council, which I feel is appropriate to share!
-Exposure to lots of fresh air
-An escape from a stressful world
-Good form of exercise
-Helping young people learn about nature and food growing
-Reinvigoration community action on sustainable living
-Making a positive contribution to preserving the environment
-Controlling the use of fertilisers and pesticides
-Keeping rare vegetable varieties alive
-Demonstrating good re-use and composting techniques
-Producing food that tastes superior to supermarket produce
All excellent reasons to get involved! Right, on with the show!
Firstly, a few photo's of HAHA allotments:
HAHA has carried on to provide a flourishing community of gardeners and is widely known for holding the largest members-only produce competition in the south-east at it's autumn show.
Allotments and gardening have faced waning popularity through the years, but without a doubt, the millennium (and all it's financial problems) brought it back to the mainstream, and now all ages are being green fingered again! HAHA certainly seems to have a great team spirit, and a wide range of ages and abilities, that all work very hard to produce items for the shows. There were also some great craft and cake entries that must have taken hours to achieve!
We were attending the summer show, which was being held in a fantastic church hall, really set the scene for drama and competition! :)
I wish I could have taken photo's on my Yashica instead, but we were there in the morning before it had opened and I didn't want to disturb the other judges with the flashing and noisy nature of my usual camera! However, I hope these pictures give some idea of what hard work and creativity went into this show, I hope I can attend many more HAHA shows in the future!
Long live allotments!
Thanks for reading,