Saturday, 25 July 2009

Aberdeen Allotments

A few months back I looked into the Aberdeen Allotments system.

For those who don’t know, an allotment is a plot of land that is rented for a small fee. The land is used for growing food. There’s a lot of demand for allotments all over the UK but not much supply.

I obtained a list of allotments from Aberdeen City Council (ACC). Then I went through this list checking on Google Maps for their location. I found some interesting results. Firstly, some of them are not visible on the map. Secondly, the allotments tend to avoid certain parts of Aberdeen, particularly those areas with a high proportion of council-owned accommodation, areas in which there are a lot of people with low income.

This is a snapshot of my Wicked Awesome Aberdeen Allotments Map.

Yellow pins: allotments I have visited and taken pictures of.
Green pins: Allotments that can be seen from Google Street View.
Blue pins: Allotments that be seen on Google Maps.
Black pins: Allotments that Aberdeen City council have listed but either cannot be found on the map or simply don't exist.
Check out #13. Mastrick Allotment supposedly located at Willowplace Park, which doesn't exist.

I have visited two of the allotments so far (indicated by yellow pins). I took pictures of Nigg Kirk Road 1 and checked the place out. I’ve yet to visit all the others and that’s where you come in: if you can get to one of the allotments listed at the link given below, take a picture and email it here. I’ll update the map and put your picture on the blawg. That way, we’ll get an accurate up-to-date listing and light up the map with yellow pins!

Failing that, I intend to do it all myself as soon as I get my hands on a bike. Hopefully Becycle will help me out. Eh guys?

My Wicked Awesome Aberdeen Allotments map
Aberdeen City Council's dubitable allotments list

You're very unlikely to find an available allotment anywhere in Aberdeen, or anywhere in the UK. But there is an awesome alternative, called Landshare. I would definitely recommend checking it out.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Aberdeen Freecycle

If you're not aware of Freecycle then you should be. How it works: You have some junk you need to get rid of. You would prefer to give it to someone who can use it instead of dumping it in a landfill. Freecycle is the answer. You post your item there and make it available. You help people, you help yourself.

Similarly, you can check the postings on Freecycle for stuff you can use. It saves you money and you help someone get rid of their stuff.

The combination of frugality and community are definitely in step with the Urban Homesteading ethos. If you haven't already, check it out.

Recently I was living in the US. We Freecycled some stuff around the house and just an hour after we posted, our items had been picked up from the driveway. If we saw something we wanted on Freecycle, we had to act fast. People in that city were avid Freecyclers. Aberdeen should be like that.

The biggest problem with Aberdeen Freecycle is that not enough people are on board. Items posted are in areas often far out of the city centre and if you don't have transport you're out of luck.

You can pretty much Freecycle anything. So if you're in Aberdeen, get Freecycling!

The Aberdeen Freecycle page.

The Granite Cage

My name is Korgan Rivera and this is my Urban Homesteading blawg.

I'll be spending a lot of time in Aberdeen in the UK and I think this city could do a lot better at pretty much everything, but I'm going to concentrate on the Urban Homesteading angle.

Urban Homesteading is a growing subculture in the US and parts of the UK and usually involves most of the following: learning to grow your own food, preserving your own produce, making compost piles, guerilla growing, mulching, rainwater harvesting, keeping chickens. There are a whole host of activities from baking to biking to beekeeping that sit under the flag of Urban Homesteaders.

If you want to learn to do things for yourself and start to let go of your reliance on the convenience infrastructure, then you ought to read my blawg.