The Association’s committee has formulated policy for plot cultivation standards prompted by a number of factors:
- The demand for plots has now risen to a situation whereby there is a waiting list.
- Oxford City Council’s expectations as laid down in our lease agreement.
- The auditing of plot standards practiced by other allotment associations.
- The need to encourage and support a high standard of plot productivity and maintenance.
Our rules and regulations have already set out (see rule9) a process for ensuring we achieve good levels of cultivation and general maintenance and these have now been updated to reflect this clearer policy.
The committee has set an objective to achieve a situation over the next few years where all plots are fully cultivated to at least 90% of potential and that general standards of proper and husband-like maintenance are consistently achieved. Many plots are already at this level and so it is necessary to give every possible encouragement and incentive as well as helpful advice to those who currently are not achieving this standard.
‘Fully cultivated’ is taken to mean that the plot is either in readiness for growing, well stocked with growing produce (relevant to the time of the year) or in the process of being prepared for following crops or season.
A sub committee will inspect all plots four times a year (the first of these was conducted in November) to monitor cultivation level and general maintenance as well as noting any non conformance of any of its rules and regulations. Those plot holders who fail to reach a level of what is considered to be satisfactory will be advised in writing that they will be expected to make lasting improvements within a specific period of time (see rule 9).
The committee recognises that every plot holder has his or her own personal circumstances which can influence their ability to achieve the above standards but it also acknowledges that the association has to be managed a professional way and that each plot holder has to share that responsibility. An opportunity will always be provided for any members to discuss with the secretary any particular problems or circumstances. It is also recognised that where a member took on their plot during or towards the end of the summer that work is likely to be ‘in progress’ and that it can take up to at least 12 months (depending on the state of the plot at the time it was taken on) to achieve the targeted cultivation level .