The precursor of LDAGF was founded in 1917 as the Leeds and District Federation of Allotment Associations. Here is a newspaper cutting about that event:
Here is a transcription of the article – a bit easier to read. Note the number of allotments estimated to exist in Leeds in 1917!
The Allotments Associations of Leeds
Yorkshire Observer May 4th 1917
CENTRAL FEDERATION FORMED
A meeting of the representatives of fourteen allotment associations already formed or in the process of formation in Leeds was held last night at the Poor-law Offices in East Parade, for the purpose of forming a local Central Federation. Mr Alfred Hobson, who presided, said that in Leeds the allotment movement had gone on by leaps and bounds, and a few months ago no-one would have thought that in so short a time there would have been ten or twelve allotment associations already formed and doing such good work. It was the pronounced effect of the German nation to starve us out, and allotment holders – it might be in a very small way – were doing valuable work towards providing food for the country. If the U-boat warfare were to cease tomorrow there would still be a food shortage. There was a general shortage throughout the world. The scope of the utilities of a central association was outlined by Mr Hobson. In the future, he said, it might be necessary from time to time to make application to Parliament for land for allotments, and that would be the time when they would have to speak with one voice and with some force. He estimated that in Leeds allotment holders would raise potatoes sufficient to feed 7,000 people for twelve months, and that sufficient vegetables would be grown to supply a very large number of people.
Turning to the question of the permanency of the tenure of allotments, the chairman explained that before the meeting he was talking to Alderman C.H. Wilson and told him that the Corporation would have to take up the provision of allotments after the war. They were very grateful for what the Corporation had done, but they were going to ask the Corporation to do no more. In some of the smaller parks, where the land for recreative purposes was small, they could not very well claim that the land now being used for allotments should after the war continue to be so used, but they were hoping the Corporation, would, when the time came for the land in small parks to revert to its former use, assist the allotment holders to find other land, as near as they possibly could, to replace the allotments.
OBJECTS OF THE FEDERATION
Mr P.F. Green (Secretary of the Roundhay Association) explained the objects of the proposed Association. The first would be to give publicity to the importance of allotments. He estimated that there were 2,000 allotments in Leeds. Through the Parks Committee 1,484 allotments had been allocated up to last week, and more had actually been taken, while in addition there were a large number of allotments which had not been allocated through the committee. The association would find land to supply the demand for allotments, protect the interests of holders, secure as long a tenure as possible of the present allotments, and in the case of disturbance agitate for other lands. It would also endeavour to secure cheap transit to the allotments and deal with the Corporation in other matters, and would be useful in promoting the interchange of ideas, especially by the arrangement when possible of lectures. Special implements and tools, such as sprayers, could be purchased on behalf of the allotment holders, and supplies in bulk could be obtained by the federation. It was intended that the federation link up with the National Federation that had been formed.
Mr Hugh Lupton, a member of the City Council, suggested that whatever Alderman Wilson’s views might be at this present time the way to get his interest and sympathy was to prove the success of the allotments. He thought that the Council would after the war face the provision of other land if the present allotments in the parks were a success and were worth continuing.
Mr Leslie Owen, Chairman of the Parks Committee of the Corporation, confessed that he felt that encouraging allotments in the city and the establishment of allotment holders associations the committee had set a hare running with which he rather doubted whether they would ever catch up. With the establishment of fourteen associations he was not sure that the committee had not made a rod for their own back. In 1909 after the passing of the Small Holdings Act, the committee had only fifteen applications in response to an advertisement offering the provision of allotments. The conclusion had formed was that a very large number of the present allotment holders might properly be described as merely war-time allotment holders, and he doubted whether in three years’ time there would be the same activity as there was to-day.
He did not desire to discourage those who were displaying so much enthusiasm at the present time, and believed that the more allotment holders there were the better, but he thought the movement ought to go a little carefully at this stage. It was perfectly clear that there would not be any allotments in the public parks in the city any longer than there was any need for them, for he felt that these lands would have to revert back to their former use as soon as the Corporation could reasonably take possession of them. He did not doubt that the Corporation would take steps to find other lands if they were needed when the park lands came to be transferred. The Parks Committee and the Corporation desired to assist the movement and he believed that its success so far was partly attributable to the knowledge and experience of Mr Allsop the Parks Superintendent. Mr Owen mentioned that the committee had arranged as a precaution against thefts that each allotment holder should be given a ticket establishing his right to remove produce from his plot, and suggested as a further protection that no one should be allowed to remove produce after a certain hour at night.
It was unanimously decided to form an organisation to be known at the Leeds and District Federation of Allotment Associations and the following officers were elected:
Chairman, Mr Alfred Hobson; vice-chairman, Mr Armstrong; secretary, Mr P.F.Green; treasurer, Mr W. Benton.