Now Scotland is planning to host its very own summit – but it’s not about war or peace, money or the climate ... it’s about allotments.

It may conjure up staid bygone images of the Good Life, post-war Britain, and tweedy gardeners tending their cauliflowers and carrots, but there is something about allotments today that is capturing the minds of thousands of Scots.

Maybe it’s the idea of self-sufficiency in a coming age of austerity, or perhaps it’s the growth in appetite for all things organic.

In Scotland alone, there are 3000 people – at a conservative estimate – on waiting lists for an allotment. Demand has gone through the roof, and that’s why an Allotment Summit is being called for.

Around 80 ‘grassroots’ groups have sprung up in the past five years fighting for land to be used for allotments. From a boom time in the 1940s, when there were around 65,000 allotments nationally, there are now just 6700.

In Edinburgh it’s even suggested that golf courses be turned into allotments. The Scottish Allotments and Gardens Society annual conference has also called for action to be taken.

It’s down to Dr Nanette Milne, Tory MSP for North East Scotland, who is championing the “allotment lobby”, that the summit is in the pipeline.

She called on Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham to set up the summit “in view of the fact that demand for allotment land increasingly outstrips supply”.

The summit, says Milne, must “bring together all the local authorities, the Scottish Allotments and Gardens Society and other interested parties to draw up a strategic plan to develop additional allotment space throughout the country”.

Cunningham said fixing the allotment problem was the responsibility of local councils. She wants all interested parties to take part in “discussions about the future of derelict land”.

“We are aware that some 3000 people are on a nationwide allotments waiting list,” Cunningham said, “and that 70% of the currently allocated allotments are owned by local authorities. That leaves 30% that are not, so there is also capacity to grow – that’s a bit of a pun, of course – the number of allotments outwith local authority land.”

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said the National Food and Drink Policy recognised the contribution which “grow your own” activities can offer to the environment and health and well-being.

He added: “They also provide a vital role in helping us to appreciate where our food comes from, and how it grows. We are in discussions with the Scottish Allotments and Gardening Society and other stakeholders to help unlock the potential that unused derelict land holds for community growing projects and allotments. We are also looking to make more land available.

“We’ll shortly publish practical advice and guidance to build capacity for public bodies, communities and individuals to allow them to sign up for Scotland’s “food revolution” by ­providing the means to grow their own fruit and vegetables.”

Ian Welsh, vice-chairman of the Scottish Allotments and Gardens Society, who has his own plot at a private site in Glasgow’s south side, welcomed the news of a summit.

We know of dozens of groups which have formed over the past five years and are desperate for land to be made available,” he said.

“I think there is an increasing interest due to the economic climate but also people are becoming more interested in where their food comes from.

“We have 52 plots at Berridale Allotment Association, in Cathcart, where I have had a plot for 30 years, and we have a waiting list matching that figure, which I think reflects the picture across the country. In Glasgow, around 600 people are waiting for plots. ”

Alan Watterson, former chairman of Dunoon and District Allotment Association, knows only too well the struggle for allotment land.

“It’s almost five years since we started a group to put pressure on Argyll and Bute Council for allotments,” he said. “I returned to Scotland six years ago and after having an allotment in Manchester for 10 years, I was looking for something similar in Dunoon.

“I could not believe there was no provision and the nearest sites were on the Isle of Bute or Helensburgh. We started the association in 2005 but we still don’t have any allotment sites

in Dunoon.”