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Published On: May 26th, 2023Categories: Media Release

Dublin’s Only Urban Farm and Gardens Opens “World of Soil” Experience

Airfield Estate, Dublin’s only working urban farm and gardens, is pleased to announce the launch of its first ever immersive visitor experience: “World of Soil”.

This fun, educational and interactive showcase was officially launched today, Friday 26th May, by award-winning garden designer and presenter Diarmuid Gavin.

“World of Soil”, opens to the public this weekend and is the first major addition to the Estate since its redevelopment 10 years ago.

The attraction is designed to leave visitors inspired as Claire MacEvilly, CEO of Airfield Estate explains:

“We are thrilled to launch this fantastic experience which we believe will become one of the highlights of the Estate. Soil is the foundation of 95% of our food production and supports many other essential ecosystem services, including clean water and air. Our aim is to take visitors on a journey of discovery developing a love for soil and its role in biodiversity. As an educational charity, we hope this experience will attract new visitors and supporters to allow us to continue to develop Airfield Estate as a world class sustainable food hub. As we all look at how we can individually and collectively do more to combat climate change, we must value the vital role soil plays in this fight and indeed in the future of humanity.”

This unique visitor experience consists of a series of interconnecting geodomes that transport you to an underground world. As you move through each dome, you feel as though you are descending deeper and deeper into the earth. The shape of the domes is inspired by the natural curves and contours of the earth, creating a sense of organic harmony with the environment.

The new attraction uses a mix of highly visual multi-disciplinary media supported by QR codes and touchscreens along with tactile learning models and tasks to bring visitors on a sensory learning journey.

Visitors will be able to explore the different layers of soil, learn about the microorganisms that live within it, and discover the many ways in which soil supports life on Earth. The exhibition will also showcase the impact of human activities on soil, including erosion, pollution, and depletion, and the urgent need for sustainable soil management practices.

Of course it can’t be a “World of Soil” without the opportunity to get your hands dirty! Airfield Estate has partnered with Science Foundation of Ireland to host workshops, commencing in August, to further inspire the public to become stewards of the environment. Through hands-on activities and experiments, people will learn about the different layers of soil, the role of microorganisms in soil health, and the importance of sustainable soil management practices. They will also be able to explore the different types of soil, from sandy to loamy to clay, and learn how to identify the characteristics of each.

Airfield Estate is leading the way in terms of sustainable farming practices using both organic horticulture and regenerative agriculture to create food on the farm. Through the use of minimum till, constant ground cover, the integration and use of livestock and the non-use of chemicals, the estate works towards creating and nourishing healthy soils, plants, and animals. A complete and closed food cycle is run on the estate allowing food waste from the restaurant to be composted through an aerobic digestor, which in turn, produces soil improver from waste within 72 hours.

Airfield Estate will also take part in the EU project SBES (Integrating Soil Biodiversity to Ecosystem Services) in June this year for a period of five years. The aim of this project is to support the EU’s Soil Health and Food Mission so that by 2030 at least 75% and by 2050, all soils in the EU should be healthy.

Diarmuid Gavin added;

“As a horticulturalist and a proud *FAO soil ambassador, I know only too well how important good soil is, not just for plants but for the world around us. I would like to congratulate Airfield Estate on the development of this amazing exhibit. Many people are not aware of the intrinsic role soil plays in sustaining the planet and this is a fun and interactive way to get people engaged and enthused to play their own part in its preservation. When you consider it takes 1,000 years to make 1cm of soil, we need to be more cognisant of the fragility of our resources.”

Entry to “World of Soil” at Airfield Estate is included in the price of a daily pass or annual membership. Visit www.airfield.ie to book online and for further information.