This Book Made Entirely From Grass Is Touring Ireland to Promote Sustainable Farming

Allied Irish Bank and Rothco present The Book That Grew

Templates molded pages, pictures and words into shape as the roots grew over 2 months. AIB Bank
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Books on sustainable farming don’t grow on trees—they grow in the dirt.

A new campaign from Allied Irish Bank (AIB), Teagasc (Ireland’s agriculture department) and creative agency Rothco is promoting efficiency on farms—and celebrating Irish grass—with The Book That Grew.

It’s an up-to-date guide for efficiency and sustainability in farming that also just so happens to be made entirely out of grass roots and other products derived from the green stuff.

To realize the unusual tome, Rothco turned to German artist Diana Scherer, who designed templates that meticulously molded pages, pictures and words into shape as the roots grew over two months earlier this year.

Jaime Murphy, a letterpress printer and bookbinder in Dublin, took over from there, creating interleaves from the grass itself and using embers from dried and burnt blades to create pigment for the ink and the binding cord.

The result was a finished (and legible) book that’s now on a countrywide tour, including stops at AIB-sponsored events like the National Ploughing Championships.

The goal? To increase grass utilization on livestock farms.

The Book That Grew features 10 lessons and 10 pieces of practical advice designed to maximize profitability for Irish farmers’ plots of grass without sacrificing sustainability—promising an ideal 10 rotations of grass-grazing per year and 10 metric tons of grass per hectare. The advice will also be available on AIB’s website.

“The idea of growing a book from grass roots about grass management and sustainability was beautifully simple and powerful,” says Rothco creative director Ray Swan. “We knew it would be difficult, maybe even impossible, because nobody has ever tried this before, but in AIB we had a client who was willing to go on this journey with us.”

AIB touts its business ties with 35% of farmers in Ireland, but the relationship isn’t always sunny; earlier this year, Irish farmers protested the sale of certain loans by the bank to U.S. hedge fund Cerberus.

At this time last year, Rothco—part of Accenture Interactive—was collecting a Creative Data Grand Prix at Cannes for JFK Unsilenced, a campaign for U.K. newspaper The Times, which used AI to recreate the Dallas speech that never happened on the day the president was assassinated.

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Mitch Reames is a freelance writer based in southern Oregon. A 2017 graduate of the University of Oregon school of journalism and communications, Reames covers a wide range of industry topics including creativity, agencies, brands, esports and more.