Trends: We're all farmers now

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The Independent Online

The traditional pastimes of rural life continue to be embraced by urbanites, from lawn bowls to chicken-rearing.

There has been a rush to secure allotments thanks to organisations such as the Allotments Regeneration Initiative (farmgarden.org.uk/ari). For the first time in 15 years, all plots on the 30-hectare site of St Ann's Allotments in Nottingham (the largest in the UK) are now taken, for example. Flower and produce contests are becoming fixtures in "urban villages" too. In September De Beauvoir Gardens (debeauvoirgardeners. org.uk), in London, hosted its first event, with awards including best home-grown veg.

Even the Women's Institute is reporting record interest in it: Islington's WI (womensinstitute.co.uk), set up last October, has had to close its books due to over-subscription.

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