An exhibition showcasing the Bilberry Pad and the Portable Farm projects is now open at JHL in Helsinki. Thanks to the generous supporters Kone Foundation, The Finnish Cultural Association, Arts Promotion Centre Finland, The Finnish Cultural Institute in New York, Messupuu and Piiraisen Viherpalvelu. And a big bow to everyone involved with the projects, we had a blast!
The heath forest floor transplant that we will use for the Movable Bilberry Pad has arrived! Piiraisen Viherpalvelu delivered and installed the transplant swiftly. The forest floor transplant is shipped in a 2 m (6 ft) wide roll that contains 5 meters (16 ft) of heath ”carpet”. The transplant contains bilberry and lingonberry shrubs, various mosses, heather, crowberry and some other forest floor plants. For our installation we received 20 m2 of transplant that will be watered and cared for during the summer. In the fall we will move the healthiest plants to movable containers and take them to Maijala service center for the elderly in Kangasala.
The construction of the Movable Bilberry Pad has started. During the summer we will grow fresh heath with bilberries and lingonberries. We will also build movable planters for the installation. In the fall we will move some plants, hopefully with berries, to the planters and take them to the folks at Maijala service center in Kangasala. Thank you for our sponsors Messupuu and Piiraisen Viherpalvelu!
The spring has been really cold in Finland but finally it’s getting a tad warmer. We are preparing to plant the first phase of the Movable Bilberry Pad project with the residents of Maijala service center in Kangasala. The project is funded by Kone Foundation & the Finnish Cultural Fund and very generously sponsored by Messupuu and Piiraisen Viherpalvelu. A Big Thank you to all of them for making this project possible!
The Movable Bilberry Pad gets an updated, hexagonal shape. The planting containers are made of siberian larch that has naturally excellent resistance to rot. The wood for the Pad is generously provided by Messupuu. The plant containers and the leg modules are designed as relatively small, independent units to maximise portability. The containers also vary in size so that we can get data of how much soil is optimal for the bilberries to grow.
The Movable Bilberry Pad brings a taste of the Finnish forest to the city, with edible berries to pick! The Pad consists of fresh heath forest floor transplanted into movable planter modules. The Bilberry Pad can bring enjoyment and multisensory nature experiences to people who cannot access a forest.
The array of plants in the Pad includes bilberries, lingonberries, crowberries, different ferns, mosses, bunch grass and spruce. They all add to the haptic experience: the pad can be seen, smelled, tasted and interacted with. Also fauna has found its way to the pad: birds, ants and long legged spiders bustle around the plants just like in a real forest.
The Pad modules are designed to be quite high for accessibility: the berry picking can be done sitting, standing or even lying in a bed. The small module size makes the modules easy to move and the modular system allows different layouts for every occasion. The Pad can also be moved indoors at a hospital or service center so that bedbound people can enjoy it too.
The first version of The Bilberry Pad was built for the Services for the Elderly in Kangasala, Finland. When the bilberries grew ripe at the beginning of August, Mieluisa organized a berry picking event for the residents of the Maijala Service Center. The event was a warm occasion with lots of discussions about old berry picking memories.
The Bilberry Pad project was funded by Kone Foundation and The Finnish Cultural Foundation. Also Messupuu and Piiraisen Viherpalvelu were essential for generously providing the Siberian larch for the containers and the bilberry heath transplant. New versions of the Bilberry Pad are on the way for 2018.