Scotland-wide ‘grow your own food’ project reveals plans for edible gardens and vertical farms in unusual places

The Dandelion project will see two barges tour the Forth and Clyde Canal, and the Union Canal this year as part of a huge ‘grow your own food’ initiative.

Town center alleys, grassy knolls, tidal sites and a farm will also be part of Dandelion, which will bring together food producers, scientists and technologists with artists and performers across the country.

Locations as far afield as North Uist, Moray, Greenock and Stranraer will be part of the project, which will run between April and September, and will culminate in the staging of hundreds of one-off festivals across Scotland.

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The Scottish Government-backed project, which is expected to have a budget of at least £7 million, is the centrepiece of Scotland’s program for Britain’s £120 “Unboxed” festival, which will be launched in Paisley next month.

The Dandelion project will run between April and September. Picture: Alan McAteer

The organizers of Glasgow’s Celtic Connections festival are among those involved in Dandelion, which will see musicians-in-residence work with producers in sites selected to become home to “Unxpected Gardens.”

Unused land and unusual locations will be hosting events, artistic installations and places to grow herbs and vegetables for the local community to share.

Billed as Scotland’s biggest ever community-led “grow your own food” initiative, Dandelion will feature two barges which will tour the Forth and Clyde Canal, and the Union Canal over the summer. One will feature a miniature allotment and a garden shed while another will feature the vertical farm cubes which will be distributed all over Scotland and will be fitted with speakers to broadcast specially-commissioned music as part of the Dandelion programme.

Locations expected to be transformed include Forres town centre, where Findhorn Bay Arts will lead a project to grow mushrooms in its multiple alleys, sites overlooking Loch Long and the Gare Loch, in Argyll, where the Cove Park arts center will explore the links between coastal communities and agriculture, and the garden of the Taigh Chearsabhagh arts center in North Uist.

A floating garden will pass through Bishopbriggs, Kirkintilloch, Auchinstarry, Bonnybridge, Polmont, Linlithgow, Broxburn; Ratho and Edinburgh before docking at the Helix park in Falkirk.

Others include a site overlooking Stanraer’s former ferry terminal, a farm in Edinburgh which is planned to be turned into a large-scale urban food production hub, a proposed market garden in the car park of Leven Community Center in Fife and scrubland next to a library in Greenock.

Large-scale music festivals will be staged in June and September, in Glasgow and Inverness respectively, as part of Dandelion’s programme.

Neil Butler, Dandelion’s festival and events director, said: “We’re excited to announce the locations of our Unexpected Gardens and look forward to watching each of the gardens come to life as they grow.

“Sustainability lies at the heart of our programme, and we can’t wait to see people from all over Scotland growing, growing, and sharing food, music and ideas.”

New food growing initiatives are expected to be created across Scotland as part of the Dandelion project.

Martin Green, chief creative officer of the Unboxed festival said: “As a project, Dandelion is literally about sowing seeds for the future, which we hope will inspire local communities and the next generation.”

Marie Christie, head of development at VisitScotland said: “We’re thrilled that gardens across Scotland will be enjoyed by local people and visitors as part of the Dandelion program throughout this year.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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