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

Welcome to the new Living Field web site. 

Latest ….. at last the secret is revealed in the Vegetable map made real and see more drone images at Garden from the air  ….. and download Veg posters from Open Farm Sunday ….. Resilience to the 2018 droughtdownloadable pdf of The Barley Timeline by Jean Duncan ….. Boosting small scale seed production through the UK and Ireland Seed Sovereignty programme by Maria Scholten ….. Note on new photographic exhibition at Cyanotypes by Kit Martin. Survey of Pollinator plants in the gardenThree grain resilience a 150 year retrospective of oats, barley and wheat as a reference for a new series on future sustainability … Ancient grains – 10 year retrospective ….. Where art meets science in Singapore + Real time virtual field … fan palm patterns at Fiberoptic 7 …. Hutton Rocks! inspired by James Hutton, Andy Goldsworthy’s sculptures at the National Museum of Scotland ….  wasp architecture at Fiberoptic 6 ….

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.

Beech tree on the site of the Iron Age hill fort at Dron, centre of an area supporting sustainable food production for thousands of years (Living Field)

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).  

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.
Cattle (and sheep) country, mainland Orkney at sunset 30 May 2019, mid way between beltane and the summer solstice (gk-images)
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.


Whin (gorse) flowering at Beltane, above Inverness, a nitrogen-fixer and one-time livestock fodder, when crushed (Living Field)


The Living Field is presently managed by Gladys Wright and Geoff Squire but exists through the efforts of many people. For more information on origin, aims and charitable funding, please see the About page.

For the Living Field project, garden, CD, centre and general enquiries: gladys.wright@hutton.ac.uk

For this web site, The Year, the 5000 Years project: Geoff Squire at geoff.squire@outlook.com or geoff.squire@hutton.ac.uk

Soil de-stoned, minced and shaped ready for potato, yet structureless and cracking within days, east Perthshire 12 May 2019 (Living Field)

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 between the second cross-quarter day, Beltane, in early may and the summer solstice on 21 June. 

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 a work by experimental photographer Kit Martin. The image is constructed of a set of close-up photographs of various flowers and other structures which are printed on linen. Click the image to go to her Cyanotypes page on this site where it is possible to see the work at 1000×1000. 

The Mermaid at Balintore, witness, maybe, to 5000+ years of immigrating people, crops and livestock, making agriculture as we know it today in the NE Atlantic maritime, 12 May 2018 (Living Field)



sustainable croplands