Interest in allotments has been on the rise in England in recent years, and with one in eight of the UK population having no access to a garden, it’s not hard to see why.
Of course, the Covid-19 pandemic has also served to increase the demand for urban green spaces and land to grow food. This has seen applications for council-run allotments in England rise sharply over the past year. Young people in particular are turning to allotments as they look for ways to reduce their environmental footprint and connect with their local communities.
Since April 2020, photographer Chris Hoare has been documenting Bristol’s allotment sites and community gardens, as well as the allotment-goers, landscape and seasonal changes.
“Working on this project gave me a big appreciation for growing, and just how special allotments are in society,” he says. “It also gave me an insight into the popularity of allotments at the moment, because everyone is so much more environmentally aware and there’s an ongoing conversation about the planet and buying local.”
The resulting photographs, commissioned by the Bristol Photo Festival, have been published in the photo book Growing Spaces. We had a chance to speak to Chris about the project and what it was like to document these spaces during an unprecedented time in history.