June 2019. As part of an exhibition at Shieldfield Art Works, Newcastle upon Tyne I exhibited the Edible Map of the Shieldfield as well as running a week of artists led walks, June 19th-23rd.
The exhibition and walks form part of an ongoing project to grow wheat in Shieldfield during 2020, leading towards a harvest festival in October. Several sites have been selected across the neighbourhood, from over grown public flower beds to private gardens and the grounds of the gallery.
As a result of the map and walks in 2019, planted commenced in March 2019 to plant spring wheat in selected places across Shieldfield. It was hard work as soil need to be shifted and raised beds built. However, after a great involvement from the community, in mid March we successfully got seed in the ground. Unfortunately, covid 19 pandemic caused the closure of the gallery the next week which meant it was hard to tend the gardens, keep weeds at bay and water the growing wheat.
However, on August 15, we were able to all meet again and harvested a good crop of wheat from across all sites. This was milled at a residents home, and turned into flour at a local bakery. We will also save some of these seeds to be kept in a new Shieldfield Seedbank. Once baked as bread the bread will be shared around the community as part of a harvest festival.
Below are a series of images of the planting, growing and harvesting of the wheat by Illustrator Benji Spence.