On 9 & 10 September the Field of Wheat Collective and visitors came together on the farm, for a two day harvest celebration as the concluding live event of A Field of Wheat. Discussions and talks from Collective members Emily Wilczek, Nick Groom & Geoff Tansey took place in a specially design straw bale structure made by Collective members Mark Parsons and Jon Orlek from Studio Polpo & Brant Broughton Quakers hosted us for a live Collective Enquiry at their Meeting House. On Saturday workshops, discussions, games, performances, installations took place over the farm and in the local village hall and we all came together for a final performance on the field, fire & feast of ale, bread & cakes (baked by the Collective) made from flour from the field milled at a local 8 sail windmill. The whole thing was exhausting, wet, windy and hugely rewarding.
Earlier in the month & closer to home, ran a session on Field Sensing at the Dark Mountain Festival & also was invited as guest speaker on a discussion around Land Literacy and Farming on the Edge of Extinction
Its 294 days since we planted the Field of Wheat. This is a picture from the June event on the farm where we explored the water infrastucture, inputs and co-inhabitants of the farm, and as the wheat ripens we are in the midst of Decision 2 online – how to sell the wheat? and also planning for the harvest event in September. Loads more info on the website.
As part of my work with Productive Margins I’ve taken the Shed on Wheels to Bristol and am running events in Knowle West including Taste of Knowle West an ‘urban produce show’ to celebrate and bring people together around growing & cooking in the area. In Easton I’m working with the Somali women’s group & Coexist community kitchen to create the Somali Kitchen in the Shed on Wheels serving Somalian street food and inviting people to join their fledgling campaign around regulation and fast food takeaways in the area.
Have just started a three month commission working with Knowle West Media Centre, Coexist, SPAN & University of Bristol on Productive Margins, a project that explores working with different groups of people in Knowle West & Easton to explore food, food production and local access to food in particular focusing on developing new forms of community-led activism and engagement.
See A Field of Wheat for account of the recent Fieldtrip including a walk through the City of London and an afternoon hosted by Whitechapel Art Gallery with our Collective members and invited guests including Brett Scott (Arts, Activism, Anthropology & Alternative Economics) and Andrew Trump (Organic Arable) an international investment banker (who requested to remain nameless) & ex-CEO of Home Grown Cereal Authority, Jonathan Cowens. I have also been in the science lab at University of Exeter with Dr Tom Powell as part of A Field of Wheat, grinding, sieving and testing soil samples from the field. These samples are being used for scientific research into Carbon and Nitrogen and organic content of the soil by Tom as a sideshoot from AFOW. They are also producing beautiful pigment for paint. I’m lecturing on Eco-Activism at School of the Arts in Loughborough next week. New Shoots (featuring Singing to the Trees) as part of CCANW’s touring show Soil Cultures is currently on exhibition at White Moose Gallery, Barnstable.
We have been invited to participate in and present at a three day event about art and social and environmental change, part of a international project Frontiers in Retreat at Scottish Sculpture Workshop in Lumsden in March. We also presented two sessions at the Oxford Real Farming Conference in January. See ORFC website for more details. Here is a link to Farmerama 6 a podcast recorded at the ORFC with a feature on A Field of Wheat and other interesting stuff.