Allotments have been disappearing from cities – here’s why they are ripe for a comeback

More than half of the growing global population now live in cities and towns, and in the UK and many other countries in the global north that figure exceeds 80%. As a consequence, most people are now physically distant from the production of food.

Urban horticulture – growing fruits and vegetables within cities and towns – can support biodiversity and improve health and wellbeing. It can also reconnect the urban population with food production, and make a potentially important contribution to food security.

Allotments – plots of land leased to individuals to grow fruit and vegetables – could play a key role in increasing urban food production. Our research shows that although they have seen a significant fall since their peak in the 1950s, allotments still make an important contribution to local food security. There is also the potential to greatly increase this contribution.

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