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March 2017 Update

We have been invited to exhibit A Field of Wheat at Bridport Art Centre from 22 April – 3 June. This exhibition is a group show with two other interesting works commissioned by Cape Farewell : EXCHANGE, by artist Chris Drury & poet-novelist Kay Syrad and contributing West Dorset farmers & Bristol based Project ‘The Milking Parlour’ by artist Vanessa Reid. As part of the exhibition we are hosting a discussion and shared communal meal on 25 May at 6pm, £5, numbers are limited so please contact the Art Centre if you would like to book a place.

Abby from the Collective has written an article about her experience of being part of A Field of Wheat in the Agroecology blog new perspectives on farming. She has also created an offshoot project #OurField inspired by A Field of Wheat working with farmer John Cherry.

Geoff Tansey & Sarah Woods (writer) have worked with us to produce a short video about the project to be used for teaching on Food Challenges for the 21st Century, a postgraduate course at Lancaster University designed for professionals working in the food sector and others interested in the global food system.

December 2016 Update

The Field of Wheat project has drawn to an end, the wheat has been sold and the Collective investors paid their returns (with a profit of £10.99). See Peter’s Farmers Almanac post The results are in for more on the harvest & yield. See below for how we hosted and celebrated harvest over two days on the farm & listen here to our final Collective Enquiry Seeds for the Future which took place live at Brant Broughton meeting house and a few more entries on the Artists’ Pages have been added.

Radio 4’s On Your Farm also made a programe about our project which you can listen to here

We are keeping the website online & responding to invitations to share the work through talks & exhibitions and are considering creating a publication over the following months. We will post further details as these get confirmed as well as any info about research that has taken place as part of the project.

Please get in touch with us about any aspect of the project using the contact form at the bottom of the About the Project page.

Harvest Event 9th & 10th September

The Collective and guests came together on the farm, for a two day harvest celebration. 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. We went to Brant Broughton for a live Collective Enquiry at The Quaker Meeting House. On the 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 feast of bread, cakes and shortbread cooked by the collective made from flour from the field milled at a local windmill.

Photographs by Nathan Gibson, Gemma Thorpe

A Field of Wheat : Whose Art?

A Field of Wheat : Whose Art?

An article by Chris Fremantle about his experience as part of the Field of Wheat collective

The wheat is harvested, 17th August

The Wheat was harvested on Wednesday 17th, roughly 100 kg was taken to Heckington Mill and the rest put in the barn. Ruth and Collective member Emily were there to photograph and film it, so you can see more at the harvest event in September. Read Peter’s Almanac for more details of the day here.

Predicting Yields with Daniel Kindred

Predicting Yields with Daniel Kindred

Collective Member Danield Kindred works at ADAS on a research project Yield Enhancement Network. He has been working with Peter looking at rainful and sunlight to help predict Middle Field's potenital yield. Here you can read his description of the process and why he is interested in it.

Second Collective Farm Visit, 24th June

Some of the Collective got together on the farm, the day focused on water and biodiversity as well as hearing from FoW artists Anne-Marie and Ruth and Peter the farmer, we also had invited guests, Kelly Hewson-Fisher from Anglian Water and Sandra Bell from Friends of the Earth. We spent some time listening out for species, eating a picnic for lunch, and incredible cakes for afternoon tea whilst asking questions and reflecting on the days events.  Photographs by Nathan Gibson and Sound Recording by Martin Hogg.

Testing the soil from Middle Field

Testing the soil from Middle Field

Collective Member Dr.Tom Powell has been testing the soil for its nitrogen and carbon content and variations across the field. Here you can read his description of the process and why he is interested in it.

Field Trip to London 4th March 2016

A group of 23 people including Collective members, the farmer and invited speakers gathered at Bear Quay on the River Thames and took a walking tour through the city of London visiting key sites and learning about the history and evolution of wheat trading from 1600 to the present day. Invited guests included: a managing director of an international investment bank; ex-CEO of Home Grown Cereals Authority (HGCA); a campaigner and ex-derivitives trader and the managing director of an organic wheat trading company. The tour ended with an afternoon of game playing and lively discussion at the Whitechapel Art Gallery. View or dowload PDF outline of the day including the texts read on the day.

Decision No.1 February 7th - 25th

7th February saw the start of our first online Decision. This involved the Collective sharing their thoughts, ideas and concerns on the use of Nitrogen Fertilzer on the field of wheat.  The Decision took place online in three different stages between 7th February and 25th February.

First collective farm visit 6th November

Some of the collective visited the farm for the first time. We spent time out on the field hearing from local historian and archaeologist Tom Lane and academic Tom Powell as well as Peter the farmer. We also attempted to vault the cross drain (see below) following by a shared lunch, questions, reflection and conversation in the afternoon.  See PDF below for fuller event description. Photographs by Gemma Thorpe (including opening page of website).

Listen to Tom Lane and Tom Powell

Download description of the first collective farm event.

6th November Collective Farm Event

Online Collective Enquiry

Monday 23rd November saw our first online Collective Enquiry. This involved the Collective sharing their reflections on a theme related to the wider context of wheat farming.  The Collective Enquiry took place live online between 5am on 23rd November and 1am on 24th November.

Sowing The Seed

Its October 1st, we arrive mid-morning Branston Fen to clear blue skies. Peter is already out on the field having started drilling at 8am. By the time we arrive the morning dew has lifted, the earth is quite dry, and peat dust coats the seed drill. The seed is drilled an inch into the soil. It will take Peter just over a day to get all the seed in the ground in Middle Field’s 22 acres. The tractor and drill move at a steady walking speed, not too far away from the pace of broadcasting by hand years ago. Towards the end of the day we share with Peter and his wife a glass of Wild Hare wheat beer and a plum cake made by Anne-Marie. In a nod to a note she found the Lincolnshire archives about  celebrations to mark sowing seed:

“Hot plum cakes, or seed cakes, given in former days with hot beer to the labourers on a farm on the completion of the wheat sowing” CoLE, p. 67. Quote in COUNTY FOLK-LORE VOL. V. COLLECTED BY MRS. GUTCH AND MABEL PEACOCK

There are some references to this event being called Hopper Cake Night. The hopper was a large oblong basket which held the seeds that were sown on the land and which hung from the shoulders of the husbandman. These were apparently used as a receptacle to pass round the cakes at the end of the day.

Introducing Peter Lundgren The Farmer