Can I Sell My Allotment Produce?
I’ve grown far too much curly kale this year. I did this because I really love it, but now I’ve got a whole row of spare dwarf kale going begging.
I wanted to pick my kale to see if that would make it shoot again, and I didn’t like seeing it all go to waste. I can’t eat it all, and I had been wondering if I could sell this surplus. Today I set up a little stall in my front garden.
I harvested 500g of kale, which is about £3 worth in the supermarket, and I split the kale in to six bagfuls. I thought that if I charged a quid a bag, I’d make a nice little sum to go towards some more seeds. After all, this is the year of spreadsheets and cash saving!
Is It Legal?
Legally, I think I’d be okay. In the Allotments Act 1922, there is a general ban on any “trade or business” taking place on the allotment, and by definition, an allotment should be ‘wholly or mainly cultivated for the production of vegetable or fruit crops for consumption by the occupier or his family’.
So I can’t set up a market garden, but can I sell my surplus? Geoff Stokes, secretary of the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners (NSALG), said recently that ‘there seems to be no justification in preventing a tenant from selling or otherwise disposing of ‘surplus’ produce as long as he is not using the plot by way of trade or business.’
Some allotments do have rules in their constitutions to prevent selling produce, but the Burnham plots don’t seem to forbid it. Mind you, there was a right rumpus in the local paper last year when the committee stopped one plotholder from putting in a polytunnel because they thought he might be doing it for commercial reasons.
In the Spirit of Things?
Even if selling my surplus is legal, is it really in the spirit of things? I know I’m not suggesting some massive business venture flogging tonnes and tonnes of curly kale, but one of the best things about allotments is that they provide somewhere where there is no pressure to grow the most or be the best. Every day, the plots run on favours, and plotholders sharing not only knowledge but seeds, plants and surplus veg.
I’ve been given surplus calabrese, red cabbage, celeriac and squash seedlings; spare marrows, courgettes, pumpkins and passed on globe artichoke plants, butternut squashes and sticks of rhubarb, amongst loads of other produce. If we all started taking this stuff home and selling it to passers by, rather than leaving it at the allotment gate, would this spirit die?
Giving it Away…
In the end, I decided to sit on the fence and give my surplus away. This is a cheery blog, after all. I did put a little note with the web address though. If I’m not making any cash, it’d be nice to increase my readership…