Is your allotment the best in Ireland?

The RDS has announced the launch of the 2011 RDS Allotment Awards. Now in their second year, these awards have a total prize fund of €3,000 and strengthen the society’s commitment to promoting biodiversity in Ireland. Demand for allotments has never been higher, and the desire to grow fresh food at an affordable price is now stronger than ever.

The RDS Allotment Awards aims to recognise the hard work, dedication, and attention to detail that is being undertaken by those involved in allotment gardening, and to promote an area that encourages people to become more aware of rural issues.

The first award recognises the individual allotment gardener and is divided into two categories — Experienced and Novice Gardener. With the aim of promoting excellence in allotment gardening, the winner in each category will receive €500 and an RDS Silver Medal. The runner-up will collect a cheque for €300 and third place a cheque for €200, with each receiving an RDS certificate of merit.

The second award recognises the work of allotment providers and is open to local authorities, allotment societies, community gardening groups, and any other individuals who are providing allotments. The winner of this award will receive a cheque for €1,000 and an RDS Silver Medal. This award seeks to recognise the work that has been carried out on the overall allotment site as well as the supports that are provided to the individual growers.

Dr Mary Forrest of the RDS agriculture and rural affairs committee, who is also a member of the judging panel, is looking forward to visiting this year’s entries. “People are really passionate about growing their own produce at the moment,” she said. “Last year the standard of entries was extremely high and we are anticipating that it will be just as good this year.”

Founded in 1731, the RDS continues to fulfil its commitment to advancing agriculture, arts, industry, and science. The RDS Allotment Awards are part of the RDS Foundation’s programme which aims to promote excellence in Irish agriculture through its diverse range of activities and awards.

Application forms are available on the RDS website www.rds.ie /agriculture or via email at [email protected] and by calling the RDS Agriculture Foundation on (01 ) 240 7215. The closing date for entries is Tuesday July 5. Judging of the allotments will take place over the summer with an awards ceremony taking place in the RDS in the autumn.

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