I propose to take Questions Nos. 32 and 66 together.
As Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, I have no function with regard to allotments.
The Acquisition of Land (Allotments) Act 1926, which falls under the remit of the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government, enables local authorities to let allotments in urban areas to an individual for the specific purpose of cultivating vegetables mainly for consumption by that individual “or his family”, if the authority is satisfied that such a demand exists.
Bord Bia, the state body under my aegis charged with the promotion of horticulture, promotes gardening and amenity horticulture through the Bloom festival in the Phoenix Park which took place over the June Bank Holiday weekend.
This highly popular consumer event educates on the many aspects of gardening. Bloom 2013 attracted a record 110,000 visitors including a significant number from urban areas. One of its main attractions was the showcasing of 28 show gardens from the very best of Irish landscape gardeners and designers, ranging from large, medium, small gardens and concept gardens in an assortment of design styles and budget points. For the first time this year, Bloom hosted a number of specific small gardens (“post card gardens”) which were designed, prepared and constructed by community gardeners and gardening clubs to demonstrate their abilities and to inspire other non-professional gardeners to experience the joys and benefits of gardening.
In addition, a comprehensive range of information and advice on a range of gardening topics was dispensed from the numerous talks by leading experts on the Garden Expert Stage over the five days of the show. Also present at Bloom were a number of organisations who provided instruction and advice on preparing a garden and “growing your own” vegetables and fruit.
The “Best in Season” fresh fruit and vegetables produce market displayed and retailed top quality locally grown fruit, vegetables and potatoes. Bloom allows visitors to engage with local Irish producers and pick up some tips on how to cook and use the best tasting fresh produce available throughout the Irish fruit, vegetable and potato season.
Bloom is now an important date in the calendar of many gardeners and horticulture enthusiasts.