The Telegraph reviews a disturbing trend occurring up and down the UK: neighbor leisure gardeners have begun to resort to increasingly brutal tactics on each other due to increased density of tenants and perceived misuse of land.
They are meant to be places where gardeners can tend their plants and escape the stresses of modern life, but it is not all a bed of roses down at the allotments.
A steep rise in disagreements between plot holders is revealed in figures from the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners.
The organisation was asked to intervene in more than 3,500 cases last year. Some of the worst disputes involved owners sabotaging rivals’ prize-winning vegetables, poisoning water tanks and even burning down greenhouses.
The society said it had seen a steady increase in disputes after a surge in interest in gardening meant allotment sizes were cut, putting plot holders in closer proximity.
Plot holders have also been adding elaborate sheds and even bee hives, which can cause conflicts.
Also mentioned by another article in the Telegraph is one of the causes for this increase in interest: rising food costs. This has driven many and more people to begin to grow their own vegetables.
I think this can be framed as an economic exercise as well:
“An allotment is a finite amount of land that is subdivided into n square plots of area a such that the sum of the areas of the n plots is equal to the area A of the allotment. Each plot is owned and operated by exactly one tenant, who signs a contract that allows him to either grow carrots (agriculturists) or orchids (gardeners). The utility gained by the agriculturists is i for each plot, unless that plot is attacked by an adjacent gardener, which causes it to lose 1/8 unit of utility, and the gardeners can reliably be predicted to attack an agriculture plot if they have it completely surrounded. Also, the utility gained by the gardeners is j subject to the constraint that every nearby plot owned by an agriculturist reduces the utility by 1/8 (note that this implies that a gardener’s plot will yield 0 utility if it is completely surrounded by agriculturist plots). Solve for the equilibrium.”
This is the last time I do this. I swear.