In 2022, Brookfield Farm will play host to Field Exchange, one of 15 projects taking place all around the country that are being funded by the €2 million Creative Climate action fund through Creative Ireland. These projects will work with communities to empower people to make real changes about how they interact with the environment.
The roots of Field Exchange
Ailbhe Gerrard, founder of Brookfield Farm, is a farmer, beekeeper, researcher, and agricultural educator with a drive to bring agriculture back to its sustainable roots. Having studied sustainable development and organic farming in the UK, she made her return home to Ireland, and for eleven years has been developing skills, cultivating new ideas, and fostering collaborations with skilled agriculturalists and the interested public from her base on the farm.
An exchange of ideas
Field Exchange is presented by Brookfield Farm in collaboration with artists Deirdre O’Mahony and John Gerrard. The work launches on the Summer Solstice, 21st June 2022, and will culminate in a conference and Harvest Feast on 16th September 2022.
In between, a group of 30 farmers, experts, interested public and artists will assemble at exchange tables led by the National Organic Training Skillnets. The project plans 12 days of exchange tables over 12 weeks.
These Field Exchanges will bring together art, food, and agriculture, creating opportunities for the public, artists, farmers, scientists, and experts from relevant fields to congregate and exchange ideas about how to combat climate change, as well as about production and consumption.
Each of the 12 events will support farmers to implement agricultural practices that help combat climate change both in the soil and above it.
Field Exchange will also present two artworks addressing climate change: A newly commissioned sculptural planting entitled ‘MODEL PLOT’, by Deirdre O’Mahony in collaboration with the Loy Association of Ireland and a new and intimate iteration of Corn Work (Corrib) 2020 by John Gerrard, open to the public for 12 days over 12 weeks.
MODEL PLOT is a sculptural planting of herb and forage crops framed by potato ridges. It looks to the potato ridge, born out of the need for food security in Ireland’s past, and forward to herb and forage crops that point the way to climate resilience in farming. Interlocking potato ridges will enclose diamond-shaped plantings of sainfoin, vetch, birds-foot trefoil and phacelia. Each plant variety has a practical value for farmers and benefits the environment.
John Gerrard presents a new and intimate iteration of Corn Work (Corrib) 2020. In Corn Work, four local folk figures, the Straw Boys, remade virtually, perform a symbolic wheel of production. Changing with the seasons, the figures dance alongside and in dialogue with a virtual portrait of the River Corrib which once provided energy for flour mills in Galway City.
Straw used in the original production was grown on Brookfield Farm alongside other sites. Corn Work will be viewable by the lakeshore through a digital augmentation of the landscape and can be accessed using a QR code. The work is physically present in the farm barn and available to visit during the public guided tour days. The work is imagined as an active participant in the 12 exchanges.
Find out more about Field Exchange and how to book your place at one of the Exchanges and public days
Find out more about the Creative Climate Action Fund projects.