Shieldfield Wheatfield

Shieldfield Wheatfield is an urban food-growing project with artist Mikey Tomkins and local residents that began in summer 2019. After talking with participants and residents after his mapping workshops, the feedback was that there was a curiosity to actually grow some food in Shieldfield. So SAW and Mikey collaborated with local residents to grow wheat in Shieldfield that was harvested, threshed, milled and baked into 10 community loaves to share out our Grounded Harvest Festival on Saturday 3rd October 2020.

The Grounded Harvest Festival was a collaboration between Shieldfield Art Works and Dwellbeing, as an outcome of our Covid-19 Response Programme.

Have a look here to see where it all started.

Step One – sowing and growing – 13-14 March, 10am-5pm

  • We built raised beds covering 8sq metres of the SAW garden.
  • We sowed in the small planters already located in Milton Place, Caring Hands garden and outside Christ Church. These planters will be upkept by residents as advocates for the project. 
  • We gave out large containers (45-60cm depth) to local residents with limited outside space.  

Step Two – March – July

We up-kept the wheat with the help of community advocates and kept a wheat blog. 

Step Three – harvesting and milling – Late July to August

We harvested the wheat with scissors, dried it in hanging bundles, threshed it with a food processor and hairdryer and brought it to the Big River Bakery (local community bakery) for milling with their milling machine. 

Step Four – baking and breaking – October 

Some of the community members who were involved learnt how to bake ten Shieldfield loaves at the Big River Bakery. We then held a Grounded Harvest Festival to celebrate the fruitfulness within our Shieldfield community.

Grounded Harvest Festival Packs

During lockdown we were ‘grounded’ in our homes, and, just like the wheat that has also been grounded in the earth, we were rooting, growing and ripening. Residents could collect their very own Grounded Festival pack which they could take away and use to celebrate at home. Each pack included a slice of Shieldfield loaf, Shieldfield Growers’ preserve, the latest newsletter from Dwellbeing, Shieldfield mini Wave, some illustrations, some poems and some activity ideas of how to celebrate safely.

Shieldfield Growers’ Showcase

With the help of Dwellbeing we also organised a competition in order to showcase the amazing Shieldfield Growers’ talents with five categories:

  1. Photo of funniest veg
  2. Photo of Shieldfield
  3. Photo of the most creative thing you have made with your produce (think vegetable animals!)
  4. Poem about growing

Cyanotype Workshop

On Friday 11 September we organised a cyanotype pack distribution. Cyanotype is a light sensitive photography process which we used to capture the beautiful silhouettes of Shieldfield’s plants, leaves and flowers.

Preserves/pickling/using herbs demonstrations

On Tuesday 22 September we invited a few of our local residents to share their skills in preserving, pickling, drying herbs and infusing oil. We looked at how we can use and save the produce grown in Shieldfield.