Nurturing a love of plants from an early age will keep our industry growing

04 June 2014


The Telegraph reported recently that allotments are being sold off for development at an alarming rate, even though demand for plots continues to be strong.

A lot has been said about the joys of growing your own vegetables and fruit, not to mention the importance of understanding where your food comes from, and it is worrying to think that our chances of having our own plot to cultivate are reducing.

Allotments are a great way of getting started with growing your own, particularly for people with little or no garden at home.

From exercise and fresh air to the “feel-good” factor of growing and nurturing, plants keep us connected with nature and this is something which shouldn’t be underestimated in our increasingly busy and often very indoors lives.

In our industry, we enable people to be close to plants even when indoors and this has been proven to make us feel and actually be healthier, but it is vital that the generations coming up understand and appreciate the importance of plants in our lives.

An interest in horticulture often comes from early exposure to gardening and allotments play a key role in engaging young people. It may one day even take them from seeing gardening as a hobby to taking it up as a career.

And it has never been more vital that we get more young people in our industry. Only last May, the RHS reported a huge skills gap in the horticultural industry, with more than 70% of businesses in the industry saying they cannot find applicants in the UK with the necessary skills for job vacancies.

The report goes so far as to say that the UK horticultural industry’s skill shortage has brought us to crisis point, which is a very worrying state of affairs.

We think working with plants is extremely rewarding. As well as being in proximity to plants all day with office plants (so why wouldn’t we be happy?!), we get to be creative, designing schemes to suit all sorts of interior spaces and we get to improve the air and look and feel of workspaces.

And there are a wealth of other jobs in horticulture that take you outside for most of the day, often in beautiful surroundings.

One of the action points is to work with schools and colleges more, so hopefully we will soon see more young people choosing to train for a job in horticulture, and we will have a wealth of people with fresh ideas to welcome to the Urban Planters team in years to come!

More information on the RHS report can be found here.

The Kids’ Garden has lots of great tips on how to get children involved with allotments.