Welcome to the Living Field web site

Latest ….. The Living Pavilion 2019 Melbourne Australia ….. Humus miraculum-Nature under screen exhibition Cahors France …. VESS Bruce Ball’s visual evaluation of soil structure …. Legume pages at the 5000-Years project are being revamped ….. Edible fungi club – new interest at the Living Field by Gill Banks ….. Ad Gefrin | Yeavering notes on the new museum and archaeological site in Northumberland ….. Original plan of the habitats and plant exhibits at the Living Field ….. Huntly mapping project Land use, climate change and food …. See News for Earth Overshoot Day and updates from Bioregioning Tayside and SEDA Land …. New Growers network for bere the barley landrace ….. All Among the Barley – history of a song by Russ Clare ….. Giant rice grain sculptures Singapore …. Plant Atlas 2020 by the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland….. Scottish Real Bread Festival held in Fife Feb 2023 ….. Copernicus satellite images of the 2022 Drought ….. New web resources at SEDA Land ….. Update on the 2022 drought …..

… continued …..

Inverness Botanics and some notes on the local climate at 57N ….. Interested in Ecological Restoration? Get involved with SER Europe ….. and drawings of Pictish Beasts by Kathryn Owen ….. James Hutton’s Unconformity on Arran …. Ancient grains – much missed by the editor so he grew his own .…. Medicinal forage Kinloss Abbey Moray ..Owlbirds – update from Kit Martin on her moth project …. Global wheat a summary of who grows what ….. Making ink from oak galls by Jean Duncan ….. Ancient and modern – techniques with wool in textile art by Ruth Black …. Winter solstice revisited.

One of the illustrations in Bruce Ball’s 2022 book – Healing Soil. For more on this and the continued interest in the Visual Evaluation of Soil Structure – see VESS on the Living Field web.

origins and content

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.

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.

The sites hosts ‘Pages’ and ‘Posts’. The main Pages are listed in the upper header/menu shown above the header image. Each page has a set of sub-pages dealing with different aspects of the main topic. Pages are not static in that the content may be revised and new sub-pages added.

The archaeological site of Ancient Messene, in the Peloponnese, lies in fields populated with wild flowers and surrounded by groves of olive and fig. In early April, patches of wild lavender are in full flower, scenting the air and offering food and shelter to insect life. More on the site at Grain Measures in Ancient Greece.

Posts include articles, photographs, art and craft – some written by Hutton Institute people but many contributed by the wider Living Field community. Recent posts are listed in the right-hand menu. By June 2023 there were over 240 posts – they can be viewed in the month by month archive at the bottom of the menu.

To see all the pages and posts relevant to a topic, enter a word in ‘search’, also in the right-hand menu.

We hope you enjoy visiting the site. You will find a summary of current activities and collaborations in the list lower down this page under Regular Content.

Whin, or gorse, grows in extensive patches in upland grass and moor. Flowering time varies, but tends to peak in late April and May, when in most years the threat of snow and ice have gone … but there are exceptions! Despite the snow, the air was heavy with coconut scent from the masses of flowers. Whin is a legume, fixing nitrogen from the air. It used to be grown as a forage, its spiny leaves mashed to a pulp before feeding them to livestock.

Regular content

  • New articles, opinion pieces, photographs and art work are published under Posts, the most recent listed in the right-hand margin.
  • Climate and sustainable food is a new series of articles covering climate and production, past events and trends, current status and action for the future. The series will continue during 2023.
  • 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. Activity in the garden was suspended during lockdown and most parts of it have now ‘gone wild’.
  • The Year records the seasonal cycle in the croplands through the quarter days and cross quarter days. Various posts connect to it, for example on daylength in the north.
  • 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 with 5000-Plants – fibres, dyes, weeds, and coming soon – cereals and legumes. The 5000 years pages are connected to many Posts written by growers, artists and craft workers.
  • 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.

The Living Field garden installed this large wood sculpture of a dragonfly in the centre of the meadow. The sculpture was made and donated to the Living Field by Dave Roberts of the Hutton Institute, Dundee.


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.

A selection of images and quotes are given in the right-hand menu – they will also change with the year.

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 (www.livingfield.co.uk)