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Visit Scotland | Alba

Anything grows – Dandelion set to sow, grow and share across Scotland in 2022

Dandelion is an innovative new initiative inviting people all over the country to get growing, sharing and celebrating food, music, and ideas, in and with their communities.

Dandelion will demonstrate the power of collective action in a Scotland-wide ‘grow your own’ initiative. Rooted in Scotland, with an international outlook and sustainability at its heart, the Dandelion programme follows the arc of the growing season, from April to September 2022, and will culminate in hundreds of Harvest Festivals across Scotland – reimagining the cultural celebration of harvest for the 21st century, led by the next generations of producers, musicians and growers.

Commissioned by EventScotland and funded via the Scottish Government, Dandelion is Scotland's contribution to UNBOXED - a once-in-a-lifetime celebration of creativity, taking place across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and online from March to October 2022. Find out more on the UNBOXED website

Driven by the concept of ‘Sow, Grow, Share’ – Dandelion will share not just food but ideas, new music and knowledge, while taking an innovative approach to community growing. Bringing together musicians, makers, scientists, performers, and technologists, the initiative features an inventive six-month long series of events and installations, combining food growing, music, cooking and public art in partnership with arts and community growing organisations across the country. 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 - from the remotest islands to the centres of cities - as well as 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, from the Borders to the Highlands and Islands, in urban, rural, and remote locations. Whether indoors or open-air, on unused or forgotten land, in gardens or in surprising spaces, Dandelion will show that even the unlikeliest place can bloom, through individual or community action. Both beautiful venues for visitors to enjoy and active growing spaces, 13 Unexpected Gardens will be established in surprising places, open to the public from April to September 2022. Each will host a specially curated programme of cultural events, working with dedicated emerging creative producers and musicians in residence, while growing produce with community partners for the local area.

At the centre of Dandelion, sit the Cubes of Perpetual Light, miniature vertical farms created to foster accelerated growing by combining design craft, traditional horticultural expertise, and technological innovation. The cubes will appear in the Unexpected Gardens and other locations across the country, hosting new music commissions by Scottish and international artists – that emanate from inside the cubes - fusing innovative artistic and scientific practice together in stunning objects symbolic of Dandelion’s wider programme.

Dandelion will also present two major public events – free, outdoor live music and food festivals, taking place in Glasgow around Midsummer in June and Inverness at Harvest time in early September. Audiences will enjoy live music from a diverse range of Scottish and international artists, alongside locally grown food offerings and a programme of talks and workshops. Full programme details, including featured artists, will be revealed next year.

Running alongside the public programme, Dandelion engages the next generation of growers, with 100,000 children and young people also invited to participate in The Dandelion School Growing Initiative which will see 200 specially adapted growing cubes distributed to 100 secondary schools, working in partnership with 400 feeder primary schools. Pupils will become citizen scientists in the largest community-led growing experiment ever undertaken in Scotland, comparing 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.

Scottish Government’s Culture Minister Jenny Gilruth

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.

Angus Farquhar, Creative Director of Dandelion

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.

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events