To join the Society and have your name added to the waiting list you must be a resident of the London Borough of Hackney. When you reach to top of the ’waiting list’ you will receive an offer letter when a vacant plot becomes available and be invited to visit it prior to acceptance.
As a member, whether a plotholder or not, you will receive regular newsletters, and may attend and vote at the AGM and participate in the running of the Society.
Fee and rent levels are considered at the Society’s AGM each October. For 2017/18 membership of the Society is £4 per annum and plot rent is £31.00 per annum for a full plot (£15.50 concessions) and £15.50 per annum for a half plot (£7.75 concessions). The membership fee is payable in addition to plot rents.
Fees and rents are renewable on 1st October each year.
An allotment tenancy is considered a privilege and the Society expects plots to be properly cultivated. This is particularly pertinent given the closure of the waiting list since 2008.
There may be circumstances under which a plotholder is unable to cultivate his/her plot due to illness, disability, short-term work abroad, etc. In these cases, the plotholder must inform his/her site representative of their absence from the allotment, give the reason for this absence, a time when they expect to return and arrangements for caretaking if away for less than a year. If away for more than a year, the plotholder will have to give up the plot but on return will go to the top of waiting list provided the plot was left in good order.
Site representatives play a crucial role in the running of the Society. They try to ensure that plots are properly cultivated, their site is kept in good safe order, important matters are communicated to the committee, their existing plotholders kept informed of Society business and new plotholders welcomed. A useful checklist of duties has been prepared for site representives and they should also be familiar with the neglected plots policy and the Society’s bylaws.
The committee, made up of the officers (chair, vice-chair, secretary, treasurer) and site representatives, meets monthly to discuss Society business. The officers are elected at an AGM and hold office until the end of the next AGM when they retire but are eligible for re-election. As well as the neglected plots policy and bylaws the committee members should also be familiar with the Society’s constitution.
The officers are also the Society’s trustees.
The best advice for growing is to look around at adjacent plots and ask fellow plotholders about what grows well on the site. The Garden Organic website has a wealth of growing advice and usually has gardening tips for the current month on its home page. The Royal Horticultural Society has a very useful advice page with a “Grow your Own” section and a monthly “Things to do now”. The BBC has an archived but still relevant simple guide to growing vegetables with a downloadable advice sheet.
Slides from Stephanie Irvine's AGM 2014 presentation (PDF size 1471kb) provide a valuable guide to the often overlooked task of growing crops in winter.