What does Membership involve?
In ‘ancient’ times, the Girton site contained 95 strips, 10 rods (55 yards) by 1 rod (51/2 yards), 302 square yards. But in recent years, these full strips have been divided up into quarter, half and (still) full holdings. A full sized plot is 10 rods in area, about 302 square yards or 252 square metres.
In view of work, family and other commitments, it has been deemed sensible to grant the smaller holdings to new applicants so that freshly enthusiastic tenants can assess the time and effort required for maintaining a plot. (the Committee too can keep any eye on dedication or otherwise) Currently there are approximately 111 tenants maintaining 150 plots (full. half and quarter). Rent is extremely reasonable:
- Up to a quarter plot: £8
- Half plot: £16
- Three-quarter plot: £24
- Full plot: £32
A new tenant pays £50 ‘dilapidation’ deposit, refundable on returning it in serviceable condition. There is also a £12 Society membership fee, enrolling them in the National Allotments Society, giving access to bulk-buying facilities such as the seed catalogue. Members are entitled to 10% off their purchases at the Oakington Garden Centre.
There are currently no vacant plots and a waiting list of 12 people waiting hopefully.
There is rich diversity in the membership. There are growers who have held their plots almost since Noah’s flood receded from the earth, and in comparison, more recent and younger tenants. Some plot holders labour alone; sometimes it is a joint effort of plot-holder and partner or friend. A number of enthusiastic children help their parents, hopefully in their later years their early experiences will rekindle. The site is also a league of nations, with many nationalities represented. Members occasionally get together for a session of sharing recipe ideas from their produce, and at the business AGM. Companionship and co-operation are a great feature of working on the allotment, with much time spent talking about successes and problems (and non-horticultural matters!) Frequent working parties assemble for site maintenance. The Society reaches out to the Girton community with such things as an annual open-day; involvement in Christmas tree shredding and Feast Week.