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Cargo bikes carrying miniature vertical farms leave Edinburgh on Scotland-wide tour including stops in Inverness, Alness, Wick and Thurso as part of Dandelion programme


By Val Sweeney

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Eilidh Graham sets off from Edinburgh on a cargo bike carrying a miniature vertical farm as part of Dandelion's programme to encourage people to 'grow their own'. Picture: Andrew Cawley.
Eilidh Graham sets off from Edinburgh on a cargo bike carrying a miniature vertical farm as part of Dandelion's programme to encourage people to 'grow their own'. Picture: Andrew Cawley.

A fleet of cargo bikes carrying miniature vertical farms has set off from Edinburgh for a Scotland-wide tour ending in the Highlands.

Four custom-made, electrically-assisted bikes – each carrying a growing cube - forms part of

Dandelion, a major creative programme demonstrating the power of collective action through an ambitious grow-your-own initiative which aims to reach hundreds of thousands of people.

Throughout August, the Cubes Bike Tour will visit 10 towns and cities, stopping at school playgrounds, green spaces, town centres, and Dandelion’s Unexpected Gardens, among other locations.

The team will also give away free seeds to encourage people to grow their own food.

The cargo bikes carrying the growing Cubes of Perpetual Light will visit towns and cities across Scotland. Picture: Andrew Cawley.
The cargo bikes carrying the growing Cubes of Perpetual Light will visit towns and cities across Scotland. Picture: Andrew Cawley.

Locations and dates include:

Inverness city centre – Wednesday August 24, 5.30pm.

Alness – Thursday August 25 (schools tour only).

Wick – Friday August 26, 11am Harbour tour; 1pm Market Square.

Thurso – Saturday August 27, 1pm Town Centre; 7.30pm Unexpected Garden.

Further locations will be announced throughout August.

Watch: Launch of Scotland-wide Dandelion programme

Commissioned by EventScotland and funded by the Scottish Government, Dandelion is Scotland’s contribution to UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK.

The Dandelion programme has been following the arc of the growing season, spanning from April to September bringing together music and art with science and technology to inspire people to Sow, Grow and Share music, food, ideas and stories.

The cargo bikes carrying Dandelion’s unique growing cubes begin their tour of Scotland at the top of Calton Hill in Edinburgh. Picture: Andrew Cawley.
The cargo bikes carrying Dandelion’s unique growing cubes begin their tour of Scotland at the top of Calton Hill in Edinburgh. Picture: Andrew Cawley.

The touring 1m x 1m Cubes of Perpetual Light are designed to foster accelerated plant growing and have been developed to grow hundreds of seedlings under LED light, combining design craft, traditional horticultural expertise and technological innovation.

At each stop, the cubes will play new music specially commissioned for Dandelion by Scottish and international artists inspired by the natural world.

They can only be heard at the sites and include Vendanth Bharadwaj, Arooj Aftab and Maeve Gilchrist, 2022 Mercury-nominated Fergus McCreadie, Ravi Bandhu, Trio Da Kali, and amiina and Kathleen MacInnes.

The bikes were commissioned for Dandelion by Sustrans and the tour route will follow the

National Cycle Network where available.

The bikes will follow the National Cycle Route where possible. Picture: Andrew Cawley.
The bikes will follow the National Cycle Route where possible. Picture: Andrew Cawley.

Neil Butler, director of festivals and events at Dandelion, said the tour was a great way to share Dandelion's message and reach people in locations throughout Scotland.

"The bikes will be travelling all over the country so we’d love to see people coming along to witness some of the magic, get seeds to grow your own at home and hear more about our upcoming Harvest celebrations," he said.

Paul Bush, Visit Scotland director of events, said the tour was an engaging example of taking Dandelion right into the heart of locations right across Scotland to be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

"It’s also fantastic to see events like this embed active travel as part of their programme, and it’s particularly exciting to see biking at the core of this tour as Scotland gears up to celebrate cycling on the world-stage in one year’s time, hosting the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships," he said.

Cosmo Blake, network engagement manager at Sustrans Scotland, said by using the National Cycle Network, the tour would be able to reach communities sustainably.

"With the ever-present impacts from climate change, the importance of both food and transport sustainability are becoming more and more relevant," he said.

"Bringing together active travel, growing, and the arts is a fantastic way to demonstrate the huge breadth of possibilities of cycling for transport as well as for leisure."


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