Commission

Andrew Merritt (Something & Son)

Intertidal Allotment

A blue/green tinted aerial image of a section of coastline, overlaid with a red tinted image of an allotment, demonstrating the proposed intertidal allotment as seen from above.

Andrew Merritt (Something & Son), Intertidal Allotment, 2022.

Intertidal Allotment is long-term project by Andrew Merritt, one half of the artist duo Something & Son, creating a functional artwork that helps sustain communities and ecosystems for the long term.

Intertidal Allotment proposes a new community allotment on the north coast of Sheppey that will span the intertidal zone – the area of the seashore which is covered at high tide and uncovered at low tide. In this zone a ‘Goldilocks effect’ is created by the tide’s movement – neither ‘too little’ disturbance, nor ‘too much’ – permitting a biodiverse habitat to form in which algae, seaweeds, funguses, edible flora, barnacles, limpets, mussels, crustaceans mosses and lichens grow wild. 

The project takes inspiration from the traditional allotment form and expands it into the intertidal zone, in the process re-engaging communities with their coastline and its potential as a place for recreation and food production, whilst also investigating the allotments potential to mitigate flooding.

Allotments are egalitarian spaces and a rare example of self-build architecture that reuses waste materials. The coast is an area where the sea meets the land, a place of great energy, constant change and rich biodiversity. Intertidal Allotment seeks to embrace these qualities by creating a place for people to mix, a hospitable environment in which new ideas can seed and grow.

There has been a surge in demand for allotments in recent times, with the waiting list in England almost doubling in the last 12 years, so we are asking: ‘What would it take to transpose this popular allotment form onto the biodiverse intertidal zone of the seashore?’

The project aims to create a modular structure that can be replicated elsewhere, and a book of recipes for a new kind of allotment: an allotment that exists at our country’s edge, where sea and land meet.

Intertidal Allotment is kindly supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Public engagement is supported by Ideas Test.

Our spring programme invites people to come together and imagine the possibilities for a new community allotment on Sheppey.

Through a series of events, we will walk, talk and eat along the coast, learn how to identify coastal flora and fauna, explore the history of the shoreline and speculate on the future of allotments and coastlines.

→ The Future of Allotments with JC Niala
Saturday 9 March, 15:00 – 16:30

→ Ebb & Flow: A Brief History of Sheppey’s Changing Landscape and Ecology with Ian Bride
Saturday 23 March, 15:00 – 16:30

→ Seaweeds and their Secrets with Ian Tittley
Saturday 20 April, 15:30 – 17:30
Book now

→ Coastal Foraging with Lucia Stuart from The Wild Kitchen
Saturday 4 May, 14:00 – 17:00
Book now

Between March and May 2024, Seagrocers will make its appearance in Sheerness town centre.

This tongue-in-cheek artwork acts as an information point for Intertidal Allotment, inviting people to imagine the possibilities for a new community allotment in the intertidal zone.

Seagrocers borrows the form of a fruit and veg market stall and will pop up in the town centre on market days.

Find Seagrocers at the following locations:

→ Beachfields, Sheerness
Saturday 20 April, 10:00-14:00

→ Queenborough Market, Queenborough
Saturday 27 April, 10:00-14:00

→ Clock tower, Sheerness
Saturday 4 May, 10:00-13:00

→ IslandWorks at Dockyard Church, Sheerness
Saturday 11 May, 10:00-14:00

→ The Leas, Minster-on-Sea
Wednesday 15 May, 10:00-14:00

More dates to follow