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

Welcome to the Living Field web site

Latest ….. first articles in the Climate and Sustainable Food series on Solar Income and Under the cloud ….the Bere barley landrace at the Living Field for #SeedWeek 2021 ...New pages on Climate and sustainable food production …. Celebrate the year’s turning Through the Solstice …. News from Common Grains and Seed Sovereignty projects on upcoming events in cluding the 2021 Seed Week …. No new planting or ground care in 2020 ….. Food systems are adapting to the pandemic…so far ….More online learning at the News page  ….. Hutton wildflower seeds 2020 ….. Grannie Kate’s Spicy two pulse patties ….. at the News page, update on LEAF Online Farm Sunday and Farming Fortnight, and resources for home-education in crops, soil, environment, farming, archaeology and baking  ….. Agrostographia – lessons from the 1800s for re-diversification todayFrom a muddy field – Gladys Wright’s contributions to the Living Field….. Chickpea gram flour flatbreads ….. Edible campus? Visit from Transition St Andrews …..Five spheres: City Uni food chain diagram ….. Key pattern in natural fibre from Ruth Black ….Nourish Conference 2019 – lessons for the Living Field ….. 

Why us! say the two trees left standing? Large area of sitka, planted early 1980s, clear-cropped 2019/2020, Ben Wyvis snow-covered, 11 Feb 2021 (gk-images)

The Living Field is run 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.

The web site opened in spring 2014 to celebrate 10 years of the Living Field Garden. We hope you enjoy visiting the site. You will find news and updates of all current activities (Regular Content) and reports of long-running themes and collaborations (Projects and people, below).

Icy and wet? Not now in the Kosciuszko National Park, Australia, where it’s the height of summer. Photograph taken 06:30 early Feb by Living Field correspondent Tim McPherson, who is making/repairing the metal walkway.
Regular content
  • New images, articles and opinion pieces are posted frequently under Notes and Images, the most recent listed in the left hand margin.
  • The News page links to what’s going on in the Living Field project, updates to the web site and matters topical.
  • The Garden relates the evolving habitats and and living plant exhibits in this centrepiece of the project, created in a corner of the Institute’s farm in 2004. 
  • The Year records the seasonal cycle in the croplands through the quarter days and cross quarter days.
  • Our About page gives more on the history, aims and funding of the Living Field.
Heavy and persistent rainfall in early 2020 caused widespread accumulation of water on cropland, etching the previous autumn’s tramlines and general harvest traffic on bare fields.
Projects and People
  • 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.
  • Global field presents an occasional series of articles through  Urban-field and Water-field, for example: Inle Lake Burma, Dundee’s waterfront, winter floods in the croplands and the hills around the Parthenon.
Icy and wet? Not here in Cordoba where the oranges are ripening, taken on a visit with the native seed EU NASSTEC project in February 2017.


The Living Field exists through the efforts of many people. It was until recently managed by Gladys Wright and Geoff Squire.  For more information on its origin, aims and charitable funding, please see the About page.

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.

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

The Angus Glens are snow-covered for much of the winter, here in 2015 under a light coating.

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. The current images were taken in January and February. Thanks to Living Field correspondents gk-images and Tim McPherson for the use of their photographs. 

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

Living Field Images (top of right hand column): current image is one of Slovenian artist Vida Fakin’s painting of hay racks in the landscape. Clicking the image leads to Vida’s page on this site. 

A sea mist or haar rolled down the Tay and covered parts of the Carse of Gowrie with an icy coldness, afternoon 19 January. Foreground green is a winter cereal.

sustainable croplands