Sights, sounds and smells of plant science at Latitude Festival

If you had been in the Kids Area at Latitude Festival this summer, you might have been drawn into the Wild Science tent by the sight of the giant multi-coloured flowers standing in the entrance or the sea of plants that covered some of the tables, the excited chatter of children, or maybe the strong scent of lavender. There was certainly something to awaken all the senses, but what was it all about?

A team of OpenPlant scientists from the John Innes Centre and the University of Cambridge worked together to deliver an exciting range of activities for families at the popular mixed-arts festival. The OpenPlant stand, entitled ‘The Power of Plants’, led visitors on a journey looking at traditional uses of plants, how plant selective breeding has produced the food crops that we recognise today, tracking the evolution of our relationship with plants through science to introduce the modern bioengineering approaches, and some of the novel uses of plants and algae that this enables. Activities included extracting plant pigments, making lavender bath bombs and learning how plants and algae make electricity.

The BBSRC-EPSRC funded OpenPlant Synthetic Biology Research Centre is a collaborative initiative between the John Innes Centre, the Earlham Institute and The Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich, and the University of Cambridge. The initiative promotes interdisciplinary exchange, open technologies for innovation and responsible innovation for sustainable agriculture and conservation.

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Earlham institute
Quadram Institute Bioscience
John Innes Centre
The Sainsbury Laboratory
NHS NNUH
University of East Anglia

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