A creative programme showing the power of collective action through an ambitious ‘grow your own’ initiative, known as Dandelion, which aims to reach hundreds of thousands of people throughout Scotland and further afield has launched today (April 28). Following the arc of the growing season, from now until September 2022, Dandelion brings together science, technology, art and music to inspire people to ‘Sow, Grow and Share’ – not just food, but music, ideas and knowledge.
Commissioned by EventScotland and funded by the Scottish Government, Dandelion is Scotland’s contribution to UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK. Dandelion aims to make growing your own food as easy and accessible as possible to people of all ages and from all backgrounds, with events and activities taking place all over Scotland in an entirely free programme, from the remotest islands to the centres of cities.
The programme features specially-created edible gardens in 13 locations from North Uist, to Leven and Stranraer (known as Unexpected Gardens), two three-day Dandelion Festivals in Glasgow and Inverness, as well as a nationwide tour of hundreds of unique miniature vertical farms, called the ‘Cubes of Perpetual Light’. To mark the start of its programme, with planting and growing getting underway at Unexpected Gardens across the country, including one at Lauriston Farm in Edinburgh, Dandelion has released a specially commissioned short film, telling the family story of one of its founding members and reimagining future ways of growing across Scotland.
At the centre of Dandelion is a meeting of art and science through the creation of hundreds of unique miniature vertical farms, called the ‘Cubes of Perpetual Light’. The 1m x 1m cubes are designed to foster accelerated growing and have been developed to grow hundreds of seedlings under LED light, combining design craft, traditional horticultural expertise and technological innovation, manufactured by Liberty Produce.
The Cubes will travel the length of Scotland, demonstrating accelerated growing in unexpected places. From schools to market squares, to Unexpected Gardens – they will bring the inspiration to ‘Sow, Grow and Share’ to the community, inspiring conversations about how we can grow food sustainably now and in the future.
As well as growing thousands of plants, specially designed ‘show cubes’ will come together to create striking musical installations featuring programmable light and quadraphonic sound. Each cube will integrate with multiple speaker systems, showcasing specially commissioned music from a collection of Scottish and international artists.
The music has been created for this particular environment around themes of sustainability, to encourage listeners to think more deeply about how, where and why plants grow. Commissions include new music from artists including Craig Armstrong, Ravi Bandhu, Arooj Aftab & Maeve Gilchrist, Jason Singh, Claire M. Singer, Manu Delago, Auntie Flo, Amiina & Kathleen MacInnes, Pàdruig Morrison, Trio de Kali, Maya Youssef and Fergus McCreadie.
These ‘show cubes’ will come together to create special installations hosted by venues and festivals throughout Scotland, including V&A Dundee, Edinburgh International Book Festival, Kelburn Garden Party and Inverness Botanic Gardens. In another tour, four musical growing cubes carried on four cargo bikes will also travel around Scotland in August, with a preview at Falkirk’s Kelpies on May 14 as part of the Falkirk Science Festival.
Visiting locations from Glasgow to Edinburgh, Greenock, Hawick, Forres, Stranraer, Inverness, Wick, the bikes will introduce audiences to accelerated growing and bring the Dandelion programme to town centres, school playgrounds and green spaces cross the country. Each site will be visited by the bikes for one day, with a two-day tour being staged at Inverness and Wick.
Dandelion is also giving away hundreds of thousands of plant plugs at Free for All events in towns and cities across Scotland, inspiring people all over the country to ‘Sow, Grow and Share’. Members of the public are invited to pick up their plants and can also enjoy a performance of harvest songs from across the world by a five metre ‘Flower Singer’ accompanied by other performers representing sun, wind and water.
Kicking off on May 28 in Greenock, Free for All events will be delivered in communities for people who are new to growing. The Free for Alls will visit Govan, Stranraer, Dundee, Leven, Falkirk, Edinburgh, Hawick and Argyll and Bute throughout May, June and July, encouraging everyone to get growing across the summer months.
In addition, the Dandelion Festival in Glasgow will host a Free for All on June 19. Taking place over three days, from June 17, the first Dandelion Festival will take root at the heart of Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Park, with the second festival taking place in Inverness at the Northern Meeting Park, from September 2-4.
Across the weekend, the venues will be transformed with live music, interactive walkabout theatre, science and creative activities for all the family as part of a unique festival that dares to reimagine our relationship with food and the planet. At both festivals, a spectacular Pavilion installation will form a ‘living’ stage-set, made from 60 ‘Cubes of Perpetual Light’ brought together. Artists including Rura, This is the Kit, Admiral Fallow, Newton Faulkner, Hen Hoose, Niteworks, Darlingside and Les Amazones d’Afrique are among the line-up for the free event Glasgow in June.