Dandelion: The harvest-themed celebration set to take root across Scotland this year

It is the £7 million pound project set to bring food-growing and culture together across Scotland over the next five months.

Vertical farms will be transported around the country during the Dandelion festival.
Vertical farms will be transported around the country during the Dandelion festival.

The harvest-inspired Dandelion festival will feature everything from musicians in residence, “unexpected gardens” transforming unused sites, vertical farms which will go on tour around the country and hundreds of thousands of plants being given away.

Venues, attractions, events and landmarks the length and breadth of the country will be hosting special events, with cargo bikes and canal boats deployed to help extend the reach of Dandelion over the next five months.

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Music, art, theatre, street performance and storytelling will all feature in Dandelion’s elements, which will range from two weekend-long events in Glasgow and Inverness, pop-up installations and semi-permanent “edible gardens” to a finale which see hundreds of celebrations held across Scotland in September.

A 'floating garden' will tour the Forth and Clyde and Union canal network as part of Dandelion. Picture: Andrew Cawley

A key element of Dandelion will be the creation of hundreds of unique miniature vertical farms, with the 1m x 1m cubes designed to foster “accelerated growing.”

Some will be designed to broadcast specially-composed pieces of music by leading Scottish 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.

Donald Shaw, the creator producer of Glasgow’s Celtic Connections festival, is working as music director on Dandelion.

He said: “Just as plants can grow from tiny seeds, great music can grow from small ideas that we nourish till they bloom into full art forms.

Dandelion team members Fiona Dalgetty, Donald Shaw, Angus Farquhuar, Neil Butler and Jen Howard-Coombes visited the GalGael Trust in Glasgow to launch the nationwide celebration of food growing and culture. Picture: Andrew Cawley

"The cubes can demonstrate accelerated growing in a wide range of settings, both the expected and unexpected.

"Placed in a particular environment they create a micro-world within a world, allowing musicians and listeners to imagine a sonic landscape that surrounds us, providing a space for contemplation and for us to imagine a future where we sow, grow and share differently.”

The cubes will be going on a nationwide tour, some of it involving cargo bikes, starting at The Kelpies during the Falkirk Science Festival next month, and also including the Kelburn Garden Party in Ayrshire, the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Inverness Botanic Gardens and the V&A Dundee museum.

Among the 13 locations where new “edible gardens” will be created are North Uist’s arts centre, Forres town centre, the car park at Leven Community Centre in Fife, Lauriston Farm in Edinburgh and at The Helix Park in Falkirk, where a floating version is planned.

Vertical farms will be transported around the country during the Dandelion festival. Picture: Alan McAteer

Hundreds of thousands of “plant plugs” will be given away to encourage people to grow their own food at home will be given away by specialists from Scotland’s Rural College between May and July at events across Scotland which will also feature performances of harvest-themed songs.

Around 100 cubes are being distributed to schools as part of an education strand of Dandelion expected to reach 89,000 pupils.

Fiona Dalgetty, chief executive of traditional music organisation Fèis Rois, one of Dandelion’s key partners, said: “Dandelion provides an extraordinary opportunity for people of all ages to come together to grow food and to celebrate all the ways in which our food is also connected to culture, music and song.

“The schools programme places the arts alongside science, technology, engineering, and maths to create an exciting cross-curricular project for pupils, teachers and the wider community to enjoy.”

Dandelion's vertical farm cubes will be visiting V&A Dundee this year.
Around 60 vertical farm cubes will be used to create special installations at weekend-long festivals in Glasgow and Inverness as part of Dandelion.
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