Let me explain where the pioneer allotment came from and why. To understand why, I think it might be helpful if you knew a little bit about me. I am a pioneer in the Bath and Wells diocese. My faith has come from a deep spiritual connection with creation. I think in pictures, came to faith early one morning in my garden.
As a picture thinker I find it helpful to draw the words that I am reading. It’s a translation from the written word into a language that I understand. The pioneer allotment is just my personal translation.
Allotments are at their heart a community that shares an individualistic communal environment. Each allotted plot holder (allotment owner) is working within the guidelines set down by their allotment association. Each plot holder translating what these guidelines means to them. Theirs flexibility, and unity in this unique place where people grow together. It’s a place that you grow what’s relevant to you. In a method that’s of your choosing.
Growing seasonal local food means you become more in tune with the land. Plot holders naturally nurture new members. Wanting to share knowledge, share the joy of the harvest, wanting others to feel that joy too.
The allotment holds onto and works with the traditions of the past. It’s an earthy visible process that openly shares its highs and lows with its community. It’s a place open to all, regardless of wealth or knowledge.
Allotments are a place of doing.
As I wander around my allotment, I see a patchwork of creative planting; pumpkins, runner-beans, potatoes, cabbages. My drawn pioneer spectrum comes to life. The rich blended landscape of our differences, from the traditional to boldly different. The pioneer allotment starts with the traditional church plant. Replicating traditional methods and planting.
As we move further along spectrum we find the planting slowly changing. As we change the planting and the methods, so we push against traditional boundaries. Moving further along the spectrum our work becomes more unknown and vulnerable. Working with seeds that have yet to germinate. The harvest is not guaranteed.
It may look muddled. The soil is often poor, requiring a lot of organic matter (manure) to be added. Here success cannot be measured by the fruits of our harvest. My own allotment is very nontraditional. I’m constantly told by other plot holders that my methods are incorrect.
They even take matters into their own hands. Removing the stinging nettles from my plot. They see them as weeds while I see them as habitats for butterflies.
The strange round cucumbers that grow in my chaotic allotment taste no different to the straight green cucumbers grown on the more traditional allotment. As pioneers we see the possibilities a space can offer. We work to Create different holy spaces; spaces that grow round cucumbers and orange carrots, Spaces where God is at work, spaces to meet Jesus. Spaces where the Holy Spirit is active.
It’s in these holy traditional and chaotic spaces that we come together as family. We share memories and a shared hope for the future.