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Article published 28/04/2022

Today Dandelion announced new summer events as part of its free programme across Scotland

Dandelion gets underway today (28 April 2022), a major creative programme demonstrating the power of collective action through an ambitious grow your own initiative that aims to reach hundreds of thousands of people throughout Scotland and further afield. 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 our EventScotland team 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.

In addition to Dandelion’s previously announced Unexpected Gardens - and two three-day Dandelion Festivals in Glasgow and Inverness, more details about the programme of events are revealed today. The programme culminates in September with a cultural reimagining of Harvest for the 21st century, featuring hundreds of celebrations across Scotland.  

What you can watch

To mark the start of its programme, with planting and growing getting underway at Unexpected Gardens across the country, Dandelion has released a specially commissioned short film, telling the family story of one of its founding members. Watch the film on the Dandelion YouTube channel.

Seventy five years ago, the grandparents of crofter and musician Pàdruig Morrison established an experiment in off-grid rural living​ on Heisgeir in the Outer Hebrides, growing their own food and living sustainably off the land. The short film charts Pàdruig’s return to the island in 2022 as Dandelion explores high-tech growing in specially created accelerated "growing cubes" alongside traditional growing methods, which will see the cubes travel to different communities all over the country. The film also features a new score specially composed by Pàdruig for Dandelion. 

What are the Cubes of Perpetual Light?

At the centre of Dandelion is a meeting of art and science through the creation of hundreds of these accelerated growing cubes, 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. The Cubes will travel the length of Scotland, demonstrating accelerated growing in unexpected places. The cubes 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. Each new music piece is commissioned by Dandelion with additional support for international work by British Council Scotland. 

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 14 May as part of the Falkirk Science Festival. Visiting locations from Glasgow to Edinburgh, Inverclyde, 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.   

Find out more about the Cubes of Perpetual Light at the Dandelion website.

Dandelion Creative Director, Angus Farquhar sits on one of the specially made cargo bikes which carries a musical growing cubeDandelion Creative Director, Angus Farquhar sits on one of the specially made cargo bikes which carries a musical growing cube.

What else is on?

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. A team of growing specialists from Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) will be distributing the plants and are on hand to give advice and tips to those new to growing. Kicking off on 28 May 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. Find out where your nearest Free for All is at the Dandelion dedicated page.

In addition, the Dandelion Festival in Glasgow will host a Free for All on Sunday 19 June. Taking place over three days, from Friday 17 June, 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 Friday 2 September until Sunday 4 September. 

Running alongside the public programme, Dandelion engages the next generation of growers, with over 89,000 children and young people taking part in the Dandelion Schools Growing Initiative, which also started today. The schools programme sees over 100 specially adapted grow cubes distributed to secondary schools, working in partnership with feeder primary schools, with 464 schools taking part across the country. The Schools Growing Initiative is delivered in partnership with Keep Scotland Beautiful, a charity providing education initiatives for young people and educators which focus on environmental issues. 

The principles at the heart of the Dandelion projects and celebrations – of sharing ideas, knowledge and bringing together expertise for the common good - are more important than ever.

The events of Dandelion will seek to show the power of collective action, and its themes align with many of the ambitions of the Scottish Government. I would encourage everyone to check out the programme for activity near them, from enjoying one of the Unexpected Gardens, attending a festival, or having the chance to grow some of the hundreds of thousands of seeds and plant plugs being distributed at Free for All events in towns and cities across Scotland.

Neil Gray, Culture Minister

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 STEAM project for pupils, teachers and the wider community to enjoy.

Fiona Dalgetty, Dandelion Futures Director

Dandelion is an incredibly diverse and exciting addition to Scotland’s events landscape this summer, fusing ideas and imagination from right across the creative spectrum. It’s wonderful to see artists, scientists, and technologists coming together to create a unique events programme that will inspire audiences and visitors right across Scotland to think positively about how we can all play our part in shaping a sustainable future.

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland Director of Events

Dandelion is a brilliant coming together of artists, designers, technologists and scientists to make something special and important about what we eat, how it grows and what we can do ourselves, wherever we live. Through the cubes, the music and the opportunities to participate, Dandelion is sowing the seeds for all of us to think about and put into action how we create a sustainable future. I can't wait to experience Dandelion alongside four other brilliant UNBOXED projects taking place in Scotland this year.

Martin Green, Chief Creative Officer for UNBOXED

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