The original urban wheat field was planted in New York in 1982 and has become the first real example of serious ecological art. Somehow the contradiction between the urban and the farm and the connections with food and its production struck a note.
In homage to this event, an urban wheat field was planted in an abandoned plot in an edgy part of London in July. We visited it at the end of its life, this week. Keeping in mind that it has been a rainy and sunless month, the field was flourishing, but looking like it was ready to be harvested.
The front entrance is an attention demanding black gate with all the upcoming activities posted. Inside, there were lots of people floating around the field, sitting in the sun in the deck chairs, reading and chatting. Behind the field there is a wild garden with a little stage for events to take place.
There is also a solar generated mill with a wood-fed oven as part of the event. The wood stove was humming. Bread from the bakery was being sold at the cafe, along with other organic and local treats. Some bread figures and dishes were also on display, made by children in a workshop.
As part of the event The Dalston Slice, little round discs of bread, was being used as local currency. They were for sale for a pound each and could used as money in a list of local shops.
Clearly the small field had become a community centre in its own right, in a short time. So the theory behind the original wheat field, with all its contradictions and connections, still holds true 27 years later.