” …. now they’re digging ancient summers, bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the fiery sheaves (Tams).”

Welcome to the Living Field web site

Latest posts …. Ancient grains – much missed by the editor so he grew his own ….. 2022 Summer drought – rainfall comparison with previous dry years .…. Medicinal forage Kinloss Abbey Moray ….. Plant your pants for Leaf Open Farm Sunday 22 ….. Owlbirds – update from Kit Martin on her moth project …. Global wheat a summary of who grows what ….. The editor’s musings on the Origins of the Living Field ….. Making ink from oak galls by Jean Duncan ….. Creative metalwork: see farrier David Brown’s techniques for crafting scrap metal …. Sculpted in stone – interpretation of Pictish art ….. Ancient and modern – techniques with wool in textile art by Ruth Black …. Winter solstice revisited …. Gool rider Gool rider! will this weed-seeking tradition return? …. SEDA Land Conversations – background and future ….. video of Jean Duncan’s In the Kingdom of Roots exhibition at Josef Stefan Inst Slovenia ….. Medicinals through the Ages 1 and the revitalised Hospitalfield garden Arbroath  ….. Repurposing grass pea for embroidered textiles and hand-made paper …. Agrostographialessons from the 1800s for re-diversification today ….

New content ….. the series on Climate continues in 2022 with Global wheat ….. DIARY21 for events in climate, land and food, local and global has ended: comment to come throughout 2022 …

The Living Field has been run since 2001 by staff at the James Hutton Institute, Dundee, UK. We work through outreach, education and shared experience to promote sustainable production of food and other products from the land.

Mid July 22 – most of the UK baked in a record heat wave but the western isles were much cooler and wetter, which these sheep appreciated. Thanks to gk images for this photograph taken 2100, 13 July.

The web site opened in spring 2014 to celebrate 10 years of the Living Field Garden. New sowings and plantings stopped during the pandemic. The Living Field now operates through its wider community, exploring sustainable use of land and natural products.

We hope you enjoy visiting the site. You will find news and updates of all current activities and reports of long-running themes and collaborations in the list lower down the page.

Set of drawings and paintings fixed to the railings of St Alfege’s Greenwich London, photographed Nov 2021. Click the image for a larger copy or go to the bottom of the page to see it split into two halves (www.livingfield.co.uk)
Regular content
  • New posts, images, articles and opinion pieces are published under Notes and Images, the most recent listed in the left hand margin.
  • Climate is a new series of articles covering climate and production, past events and trends, current status and action for the future.
  • DIARY21 lists news and events, local and global, in climate, land, ecology and food during 2021.
  • The News page links to what’s going on in the Living Field project and matters topical.
  • The Garden relates the evolving habitats and and living plant exhibits in what has been the centrepiece of the project, created in a corner of the Institute’s farm in 2004, but ‘gone wild’ since lockdown began..
  • The Year records the seasonal cycle in the croplands through the quarter days and cross quarter days.
  • 5000 years is a long term project on the innovations that have sustained life in the maritime croplands and more widely since the neolithic. We begin with 5000-Plants – fibres, dyes, weeds, and coming soon  – cereals and legumes.
  • People profiles collaborations with the Living Field in art and science, including Jean Duncan (archaeology, food, Capsella), Tina Scopa (plant pressing workshops) and the family of Slovenian artist Vida Fakin.
Sunset, looking west from an expanse of managed grass, towards the sea, Marwick Head to the right.


The Living Field exists through the efforts of many people.  For more information on its origin, aims and charitable funding, please see Origins of the Living Field and About.

Gladys wright, who had been involved since the beginning of the Living Field in 2001, retired from the James Hutton at the end of 2019.  We hope she will continue to be part of the Living Field community. From a muddy field describes her contributions to the project.

All enquiries on the Living Field project, garden, CD, study centre, web site, The Year, the 5000 Years project: Geoff Squire at geoff.squire@hutton.ac.uk or geoff.squire@outlook.com.


All images on this site are taken and prepared by the Living Field team unless stated otherwise. Please respect our ownership of these images . The Living Field is funded by charities and is not profit-making.

Photographs on this Welcome page change with the turning of the year.

Quote at the top of the page is from John Tams’ song ‘Man of Constant Sorrow’.

Living Field images (top right): crafted by members of the Living Field community. Today’s is one of Kit Martin’s photographs from the exhibition titled FRAY. The image leads to an article by Kit on the cyanotype technique which she demonstrated at an open day. See also her recent post on photographing moths – Owlbirds.

The banner at St Alfege’s Greenwich split into two parts, photographs from Nov 2021 (www.livingfield.co.uk)

sustainable croplands