Money from taxes on rubbish dumped in landfill sites should be used to help people set up allotments, the Local Government Association has said.
It wants some landfill tax cash to be given to councils in England and Wales to create allotments on disused land.
Allotments cannot currently receive grants from the Landfill Communities Fund because they are used by individuals and not the general public.
There has been growing demand for allotments in recent years.
The LGA said an estimated 200,000 allotments, an area for growing food equal to 15 times the size of Hyde Park, had been lost over the past 30 years.
But increasing interest in "grow your own" in recent years had seen the popularity of the plots of land soar, with waiting lists for allotments as long as 10 years in some parts of the country, it said.
Gary Porter, chairman of the LGA environment board, said: "Allotments are a fantastic way of understanding where food comes from and of having a go at growing your own.
"Urgent action must be taken to meet this growing demand and allowing councils to use money raised from landfill tax to bring derelict land and empty spaces back into use would help meet this demand as well as improving the appearance of local areas."
He said there was a whole range of benefits of allotments from boosting exercise to enabling people to grow their food and save on shopping bills.