Anything grows – Dandelion set to sow, grow and share across Scotland in 2022
Dandelion is an innovative, new initiative. It invites people all over the country to get growing, sharing and celebrating food, music, and ideas, in and with their communities. Funded via the Scottish Government, EventScotland commissioned the festival.
Dandelion will show the power of collective action in a Scotland-wide "grow your own" initiative. It's rooted in Scotland, but has an international outlook and sustainability at its heart.
The Dandelion programme follows the arc of the growing season, from April to September 2022. It will culminate in hundreds of Harvest Festivals across Scotland. This will reimagine the cultural celebration of harvest for the 21st century. It's led by the next generations of producers, musicians and growers.
Dandelion is Scotland's contribution to UNBOXED. This is a once-in-a-lifetime celebration of creativity. It takes place across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and online from March to October 2022.
The concept behind the festival
The concept of "Sow, Grow, Share" drives the festival. Dandelion will share not just food but ideas, new music and knowledge. It also takes an innovative approach to community growing.
The initiative features an inventive six-month long series of events and installations. It brings together musicians, makers, scientists, performers, and technologists. And it combines food growing, music, cooking and public art. This all in partnership with arts and community growing organisations across the country.
It's inspired by the global "grow-your-own" movement and a surge in home-growing during lockdown. Dandelion aims to make growing your own food as easy and accessible as possible to people of all ages across Scotland. This includes the most remote islands and busy city centres. It even branches out to audiences online and around the world through films and digital activities.
The programme will see gardens and growing spring up across Scotland in unexpected places. Think of the Scottish Borders, the Highlands and Islands, and in urban, rural and remote locations.
Dandelion will show that even the unlikeliest place can bloom, through individual or community action. These could be indoors, open-air, unused or forgotten land, in gardens, or in surprising spaces.
Both beautiful venues are for visitors to enjoy. There will also be active growing spaces. These 13 "unexpected gardens" will be in surprising places, open to the public from April to September 2022.
Each will host a specially curated programme of cultural events. They'll work with dedicated emerging creative producers and musicians in residence. Simultaneously, they'll grow produce with community partners for the local area.
Cubes of Perpetual Light
At the centre of Dandelion sit the Cubes of Perpetual Light. These miniature vertical farms will foster accelerated growing by combining:
- Design craft
- Traditional horticultural expertise
- Technological innovation
The cubes will appear in the Unexpected Gardens and other locations across the country. They'll host new music commissions by Scottish and international artists. The music will emanate from inside the cubes. Thus, it fuses innovative artistic and scientific practice. These stunning objects are symbolic of Dandelion’s wider programme.
Dandelion will also present two major public events. These are free, outdoor live music and food festivals. One takes place in Glasgow around Midsummer in June. The other takes place in Inverness at Harvest time in early September.
Audiences will enjoy live music from a diverse range of Scottish and international artists. They'll also be able to enjoy locally grown food offerings and a programme of talks and workshops. Full programme details, including featured artists, will be revealed next year.
Get the next generation involved
Running alongside the public programme, Dandelion engages the next generation of growers. 100,000 children and young people also invited to take part in The Dandelion School Growing Initiative.
This will involve 200 specially adapted growing cubes. These cubes will go to 100 secondary schools, working in partnership with 400 feeder primary schools.
Pupils will become citizen scientists. They will take part in the largest community-led growing experiment ever undertaken in Scotland. For this experiment, they'll compare future farming techniques with traditional growing.
Who's in the team?
The Dandelion team brings together festival organisers, freelancers, cultural directors, inventive technical and production experts, artists and producers, renowned earth scientists and dedicated specialists in sustainability, youth and community engagement.
Team members are based across Scotland and include: Cosmo Blake, Sustrans; Fiona Burnett, Hannah Rudman and Ruth Vichos, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC); Neil Butler, Wrap The World; Fiona Dalgetty, Fèis Rois; Angus Farquhar, Aproxima Arts; James Johnson, getMade Design; Pàdruig Morrison, Musician and crofter; Tanveer Parnez, BEMIS Scotland; Donald Shaw, Celtic Connections; Nicola Strachan, James Hutton Institute; Caroline Thompson, Inclusion & Evaluation Specialist.
Scotland’s creative and events industries have a world-class reputation and the inspirational programme of activities planned by Dandelion showcases the breadth of that artistic vision. It’s hugely important too that, in terms of accessibility, the Dandelion offering will be available to audiences right across Scotland.
Culture has a vital role to play in driving our recovery from the pandemic - the celebration of creativity and innovation through our participation in UNBOXED aims to support Scotland’s collective wellbeing and the events and culture sectors in that endeavour.
Driven by the concept of ‘Sow, Grow, Share’, Dandelion brings together musicians, scientists, artists, makers, performers and technologists in cross-generational growing and the creation of original and truly local events across Scotland - from its remotest islands to the centres of its great cities - as well as online through films and digital activities. The Dandelion Collective represents both urban and rural participation and aims through the simple pleasure of growing and sharing good food and new music to re-establish Harvest as a significant annual festival for everyone.
The exciting plans for Dandelion, and the wider UNBOXED programme unveiled today are a wonderful example of how innovation and creativity can truly flourish when individuals combine their knowledge, expertise, and perspectives, and are given the opportunity to imagine events in bold and ambitious ways.
Scotland has a long and proud history of pioneering spirit and ingenuity – it’s a place where great minds continue to collaborate and connect. We are delighted to support Dandelion, a hugely passionate and committed team who embody these values as they take forward their creative vision and engage communities right across Scotland in an unique programme of events and activities. It will provide many inspiring moments for us all to share across 2022, as well as the opportunity to support recovery across sectors, while reinforcing Scotland's place as the perfect stage for events.