ROTHCO | PART OF ACCENTURE INTERACTIVE, Dublin / AIB / 2019
The roots of Ireland’s economy are in agriculture, but with agriculture-related greenhouse gas emissions projected to increase by almost 10% over the next decade, there’s an urgent need for on-farm adoption of GHG mitigation measures.
If farming is to survive, it must become more sustainable.
AIB, Ireland’s largest bank for farmers, in partnership with Teagasc – the Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority – wanted to enable farmers to maximise sustainability, by changing how they see our greatest resource: grass.
We used grass to grow a book.
This book contains 10 tangible lessons and 10 pieces of practical advice designed to help maximise sustainability and increase profitability. These 10 steps enable farmers to achieve a ‘perfect’ 10 rotations of grass grazing per year, and produce 10 tonnes of grass per hectare – a truly powerful number that will massively improve the sustainability of even the most efficient farm. in this instance, the medium truly was the message: our book was grown from the very grass that Irish farmers nurture, with each page, each word, and each diagram shaped by real grass roots as they grew.
This is a world’s first, completely rewriting the rules for how books are produced. Not only does this book lay out a practical plan of action, it symbolises the power of our natural resources. When grass is managed correctly, it can work wonders.
The first step was to analyse the latest government reports and agricultural studies to identify the key areas of inefficiency in farming. Using the latest research and data on sustainability we isolated the 10 most effective methods of reducing emissions relevant to our target audience of Irish farmers. The application of each step was assigned a specific percentage of carbon savings, giving clear targets for farmers to reach, and a clear result that would translate into profitability through reaching these targets.
This is a book that has completely come from grass itself. This involved an intense design process and months of trial and error throughout the growing process, Designing for root-based ‘printing’ presented many challenges unique to this project. Every element from words to symbols to borders had to be inter-connected by channels for the roots to navigate. Complex farming processes were compressed into a bite-sized visual language of bespoke symbols, with the design of each individual glyph informed by the action or process it represented. We developed a grid system inspired by the grass paddocks in which our steps will ultimately be applied. 10 paddock rows per page allowed flexibility from page to page, while providing a uniformity that allowed the placement of individual symbols to take on additional meaning, including signifying the time in which those actions should take place.
Ireland has committed to greenhouse gas neutrality in agriculture by 2050. Every step we take towards achieving that target is vital, and this book contains win-win measures that massively impact our ability to do so. Through these steps Irish farmers will not only maximise the sustainable use of our natural resources, but also reduce reliance on artificial fertilisers, and produce less greenhouse gasses. The results of these changes will have consequences for generations.
10 -The Book That Grew has contributed to AIB being the first Irish business ever to make it to the Carbon Disclosure Project’s Climate A List, and continues to be used to deliver its important message to farming communities across the country: a lightning rod for affirmative action, and a solid plan born miraculously from the soil.
ROTHCO | PART OF ACCENTURE INTERACTIVE, Dublin
ROTHCO | ACCENTURE INTERACTIVE , Dublin