EVERYONE in Scotland should be able to grow their own food, with more land made available for allotments to tackle waiting lists as long as 15 years, under new SNP proposals.

The plan, which is being put forward for debate at the party’s conference in October, comes as rising food prices have sparked increased interest in home-grown fruit and vegetables.

However, around 10,000 people are currently thought to be seeking an allotment space, with waiting lists of 10-15 years for many places.

The resolution from the SNP’s Leith Walk and Uddingston and Bellshill branches notes the “rapid increase in food prices and the shortage of food supplies”, with the threat of the situation worsening over the coming months and years.

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While the Community Empowerment Act of 2015 aimed to increase the availability of allotments, it says further action is now needed given current circumstances.

“Conference believes that everyone in Scotland who wishes to grow their own food should have the possibility of doing so, including those who live in tenements,” the resolution notes.

“Increasing access to allotments would also support fulfilment of the right to food, the right to an adequate standard of living, the right to health and the right to a healthy environment.

“Conference resolves that adequate land should be made available in the form of allotment space across the country to ensure that all those who wish to grow food can do so.

“The creation of additional allotment must not be achieved through repurposing existing greenspaces, but by converting formerly developed land, waste land and derelict land for this purpose, thereby increasing overall greenspace in urban areas which will benefit all residents.”

The proposal also includes amending planning legislation to require all new housing developments to include “growing space” for residents and for a food growing “skills development service” to be set up to provide advice.

All schools and nurseries should also be helped to establish gardens on their premises or on nearby ground, it adds.

Richard Crawford, vice-president, of the Scottish Allotments and Gardens Society, said: “There has been a steady increase of interest in growing over the last ten to twenty years.

“We noticed a marked increase when Covid hit, as people realised it was a legitimate way to get out of their houses and improve their mental and physical health. Now, with food prices rising, we are seeing yet more interest.

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“Estimates vary regarding waiting lists for allotments but the figure could be around 10,000 nationwide.

“A lot of allotments have a ten-to-fifteen year waiting list now.”

Crawford added: “It seems there is an awakening to the need for growing spaces – not just for allotments.

“We are cautiously optimistic, but if this gains momentum, it can only be a good thing. Better food quality with improved mental and physical health, reduced carbon footprint and less plastic – all positives.”