By Millie Hurst
Outdoor space is incredibly hard to come by in urban areas. So it’s no surprise that for many city dwellers, the option to grow their own vegetables in pots or raised garden beds is something they’d never even have considered.
Particularly when Londoners can be left waiting up to 40 years for an allotment - it just doesn’t seem accessible. But AllotMe is about to change all that.
The new app makes renting and letting out unused gardens for growing your own veg as easy as booking an Uber. Dubbed the ‘Airbnb for gardeners’, it offers a solution to this chronic shortage of space in cities.
So, how does it work? Basically, you can sign up and it pairs anybody with available outdoor space with people seeking somewhere to grow their own.
The people looking for garden space are known on the platform as ‘Greenfingers’. Remarkably, it allows green-fingered users to rent plots in just a few clicks.
Hosts can list their garden space on AllotMe for free, setting a price that suits them. All they need to submit is the size of the plot, some photos, and information on how Greenfingers can access the space.
Interested Greenfingers can then enquire about the plot, which hosts can review with the decision entirely at their discretion. If you’ve recently got into gardening, check out our guide to the best gardening books to help guide you get started on your new plot.
Founder Conor Gallagher, an architect and entrepreneur from Belfast explains the inspiration behind it. ‘After I moved to London, I saw how people wanted to eat more healthily, ethically, and sustainably, but it was increasingly difficult for the majority due to barriers such as a lack of space or excessive cost.’
‘As an architect,’ Conor adds, ‘I’m trained to spot opportunities in space. It dawned on me when passing an overgrown and unloved garden, that there is an untapped reservoir of outdoor space in London going unused.’
It answers a very real need, given one in eight homes in the UK have no garden space. This jumps to one in five people in London.
Plus, there was a 300 per cent rise in demand for allotments in some areas during lockdown, according to the National Allotment Society.
We all know our food choices have an impact on the environment, and home grown food is a sustainable option. Currently, over half of the food we consume in the UK is imported. If you’re not sure where to start, our piece on growing vegetables in pots is ideal for spaces big or small.
Conor has shown his belief in AllotMe by becoming the platform’s first host, echoing Airbnb founders Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk, who were the first to post their own home for rent on Airbnb. For more details, download the app or head to the AllotMe website.
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