THE hunt is on for allotment land after an unprecedented demand from people wanting to grow their own fruit and vegetables.
Havant Borough Council has put out an appeal for more land to lease or buy for use as allotments.
The authority is looking for larger chunks of land of at least half an acre to become new council-run allotment sites.
It is also encouraging people to offer part of their garden for use as an allotment as part of a national land-sharing scheme.
Demand has surged as families look to save money amid rising food costs, as well as the rise of the ‘grow your own’ movement supported by chefs like Jamie Oliver.
Figures show there are more than 450 people waiting for a plot in Havant borough. There are 14 sites and a total of 704 plots.
Environmentalist Ray Cobbett, from Emsworth, from Hampshire Friends of the Earth, said: ‘I think it’s excellent.
‘It ticks all the boxes – it’s healthy and it’s sustainable.’
The council is looking to allocate land for around 6,300 new homes across the borough over the next 20 years.
Mr Cobbett added: ‘If they are going round allocating fields for housing, we would rather they find fields for allotments.
‘A lot of what is being allocated for housing is actually good quality agricultural land.’
However, several new housing developments include allotments, including Hampshire Farm in Emsworth.
Andy Paffett, open spaces team leader at the council, said: ‘More and more people are looking for somewhere to grow their own food and enjoy healthy outdoor exercise at the same time.
‘If you own or know of any plot of land that may be suitable for growing food, the council would like to hear from you.’
He said a viable allotment site would need to be about half the size of a football pitch.
Anyone interested can call (023) 9244 6019. People with small gardens who are interested in sharing part of it can visit landshare.net.