Headline News – Today – 18th May 2022
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History of the K.F.H.S.
Affiliated to the Royal Horticultural Society
The Kent Federation of Horticultural Societies was founded on 9th December 1938. The aim of this newly established organisation was to bring together the Kent County Garden Produce Committee – an established organisation with 41 Societies and county-wide membership and the Kent Garden Committee. The Kent Federation continued to prosper during the War years. This was a time when it was vital that the public helped the war effort by producing their own food.
The famous World War II ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign encouraged British people to overcome food shortages by growing their own produce. The movement was so successful that parks and bomb sites were dug up and turned into vegetable patches. By the late 1940s there were an estimated 1.4 million allotment sites in the UK and Kent had an incredible active amateur gardening community.
The post war food revolution that brought access to frozen foods, supermarkets and the introduction of mass-produced ready-meals, saw gardeners abandon their allotments. The effect of this meant many councils sold off their pitches during the 80s and 90s because people simply didn’t want to use them. The total number of allotments across Britain today is estimated at around 300,000, a stark contrast to the 1940’s.
By 1957 the Kent County Garden Produce Committee had disbanded and the Federation stood alone. The Federation within this time had grown from 41 Societies to well over 100. and in more recent times societies and clubs from East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London have been invited to join us. Since then the number has fluctuated and the current level stands at over 150. At present our affiliated societies have a combined membership of over 12,500 proving that amateur gardening continues to thrive. The other positive news is that allotments are once again sought after, particularly in towns.
Another encouraging aspect is the ever-increasing number of individual members. Judges and Speakers continue to request inclusion in the Federations Judges and Speakers list which remains a much sought after document by the societies. Talks by speakers do not always centre around horticulture, as many other interesting topics can be found in this published biennial book.
Although there have been many changes over the years in which the KFHS communicates and interacts with its members, such as emails and this website, the core of the Society remains in its Summer and Autumn Shows. The introduction of a Mini Spring Show for members at the Annual General Meeting has become very popular. All of these shows are where enthusiasts and members can showcase their skills by entering the many different classes, which includes domestic and craft classes in the Summer and Autumn shows.
If you, or your society, are not affiliated to the K.F.H.S. and would like to learn more we would be delighted to hear from you.
Please contact our Membership Secretary or any Committee member.
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