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Miniature gardens carried on cargo bikes to visit Wick and Thurso as part of Dandelion creative project


By Val Sweeney

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The cargo bikes carrying Dandelion’s unique growing cubes begin their tour of Scotland at the top of Calton Hill in Edinburgh. Picture: Andrew Cawley.
The cargo bikes carrying Dandelion’s unique growing cubes begin their tour of Scotland at the top of Calton Hill in Edinburgh. Picture: Andrew Cawley.

A fleet of cargo bikes carrying miniature vertical farms will visit Wick and Thurso on a Scotland-wide tour ending in the Highlands.

Four custom-made, electrically-assisted bikes – each carrying a growing cube – forms part of Dandelion, a major creative programme demonstrating the power of collective action through an ambitious grow-your-own initiative which aims to reach hundreds of thousands of people.

Throughout August, the Cubes Bike Tour will visit 10 towns and cities, stopping at school playgrounds, green spaces, town centres, and Dandelion’s Unexpected Gardens, among other locations.

The team, which set off from Edinburgh on Wednesday, will also give away free seeds to encourage people to grow their own food.

The tour will visit Wick on Friday, August 26, at the harbour for 11am and Market Square at 1pm. On Saturday, August 27, it will visit Thurso town centre at 1pm before the Unexpected Garden at 7.30pm.

Commissioned by EventScotland and funded by the Scottish Government, Dandelion is Scotland’s contribution to UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK.

The Dandelion programme has been following the arc of the growing season, spanning from April to September bringing together music and art with science and technology to inspire people to 'Sow, Grow and Share' music, food, ideas and stories.

Eilidh Graham sets off from Edinburgh on a cargo bike carrying a minature vertical farm as part of Dandelion's programme to encourage people to 'grow their own'. Picture: Andrew Cawley.
Eilidh Graham sets off from Edinburgh on a cargo bike carrying a minature vertical farm as part of Dandelion's programme to encourage people to 'grow their own'. Picture: Andrew Cawley.

The touring 1m x 1m Cubes of Perpetual Light are designed to foster accelerated plant growing and have been developed to grow hundreds of seedlings under LED light, combining design craft, traditional horticultural expertise and technological innovation.

At each stop, the cubes will play new music specially commissioned for Dandelion by Scottish and international artists inspired by the natural world.

They can only be heard at the sites and include Vendanth Bharadwaj, Arooj Aftab and Maeve Gilchrist, 2022 Mercury-nominated Fergus McCreadie, Ravi Bandhu, Trio Da Kali, and amiina and Kathleen MacInnes.

The bikes were commissioned for Dandelion by Sustrans and the tour route will follow the National Cycle Network where available.

Neil Butler, director of festivals and events at Dandelion, said the tour was a great way to share Dandelion's message and reach people in locations throughout Scotland.

"The bikes will be travelling all over the country so we’d love to see people coming along to witness some of the magic, get seeds to grow your own at home and hear more about our upcoming Harvest celebrations," he said.

Paul Bush, VisitScotland director of events, said the tour was an engaging example of taking Dandelion right into the heart of locations right across Scotland to be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

"It’s also fantastic to see events like this embed active travel as part of their programme, and it’s particularly exciting to see biking at the core of this tour as Scotland gears up to celebrate cycling on the world-stage in one year’s time, hosting the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships," he said.

Cosmo Blake, network engagement manager at Sustrans Scotland, said by using the National Cycle Network, the tour would be able to reach communities sustainably.

"With the ever-present impacts from climate change, the importance of both food and transport sustainability are becoming more and more relevant," he said.

"Bringing together active travel, growing, and the arts is a fantastic way to demonstrate the huge breadth of possibilities of cycling for transport as well as for leisure."


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