I stumbled across the concept of an allotment watching old British sitcoms. The city allows private gardens on public land, most often unused, unbuildable strips of land. Each gardener is allowed a small 10 by 10 or 10 by 20 foot plot to grown what ever they want (as long as it is legal.) Mostly vegetables, flowers, and a few compact soft fruits. The actor who played Mr. Lucas on Are You Being Served died of a heart attack, tending his beloved allotment.
Here in Northern Virginia there are a few places with allotments or public gardens. With so much of the population in high density housing, low rise, mid rise and high rise buildings where no one has a dedicated yard, it allows space for a little gardening. The gardens are generally fenced to keep the deer and veggie thieves out. Some of the gardeners do an amazing amount in a limited amount of space.
This one is in Old Town Alexandria, along the right of way for the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, between the proximity to 10 lanes of traffic, and the kind of boggy location, there is little land could be used for, but it makes a wonderful garden. I understand the wait list to get a square, is several years long.
Gardening puts people back in touch with where real good food comes from. Do I want to do it, not really, I don't bend down very well anymore.