The Gladstone Hotel Hosts Grow Op 2016 – “Cultivating Curiosity.”

Will local food be able to feed us all? What if pigs were our composters? Could a pickle farm change the way we teach ourselves to grow food?

These were the questions asked of the explorers, artists, farmers, landscape architects, anthropologists, advocates, historians and healers who came together to form the expanded 2016 edition of Grow Op. Now in its fourth year, Gladstone Hotel’s Grow Op is an exhibition of art and design that cultivates curiosity. Across a wide range of disciplines, the exhibition examines how humans and other species live within, without, and despite natural systems of growth, change, abundance, scarcity, death, and decay.

Just in time for Earth Day, Grow Op 2016 has transformed the Gladstone Hotel’s second floor with 30+ intriguing and immersive installations. Not your typical garden show, each creation takes on urbanism, environmental sustainability, landscape design and contemporary art.

From the second one enters the lobby of the historic Gladstone Hotel, hundreds of yellow daffodils sprout out of the floor and dangle from the ceiling. All of the flowers were grown by Pioneer Flower Farms in St. Catharines.

(photos by Mollie)

Among the installations on the second floor, “All Night Blossoms Fell” by Vivian Wong (right) who cut up old textbooks and tissue paper to make thousands of flower petals and “Loop” (left), an interactive piece by the Design Build Grow Studio a hydroponic garden, which recycles nutrient rich water through a close loop system and provides conditions needed for plants to grow without the traditional use of soil.

My Chemical Garden (left) is a chemical garden created by Michaela MacLeod, which draws inspiration from a children’s crystal-growing experiment. Suspended clear glass vessels are seeded with manganese chloride that grows bright pink “branches and leaves,” representing “flora.”

Utilizing domestic bio-wastes like food scraps as feed for farming crickets, the Cricket Reactor by Third Millennium Farming (right) is a household farm that processes crickets into an edible flour and reduces the footprint of meat production.
The four-day festival runs from April 21-24th, 2016.

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