Tuesday, April 19, 2016

In Memory, Carl Barnes, the man who saved corn, passed it on, and taught us to cherish the gift of seed

With sad news I wanted to share with you about one of our beloved seeds who has passed.

In Memory

Carl L. Barnes
June 18, 1928 – April 16, 2016

Family, friends, and the seed saving community mourn the passing of Carl ‘White Eagle’ Barnes, who died in Grove, Oklahoma on Saturday morning, April 16. Carl was known for his years of work with heritage corn, enabling many Native tribes to recover and reunite with their sacred seeds.

Carl was of half Cherokee, half Scotch-Irish ancestry, and was born in the original farmhouse in the Panhandle of Oklahoma. His father had moved the family west, acquiring land and setting up farming on the High Plains. Carl spent his childhood on this homestead, and the family lived through the ‘Dust Bowl’ years, staying to survive the ordeal, rather than leave as many did at that time in our history.

As a youth, Carl began to seek out his Cherokee roots, and to explore the knowledge of his ancestors and of Native American traditions in general. Much of this quest centered on the ceremonies surrounding planting, harvest, and honoring of the seeds. Later in his adult years Carl worked with the Cooperative Extension Service, and several years serving with the Kansas Highway Patrol, at the same time continuing to work the farm, along with his wife Karen, where they raised a family.

In the course of growing some of the older corn varieties still being farmed at that time, Carl began noticing ancestral types re-appearing in his crops As he isolated these, he found that many of them matched up with traditional corns that had been lost to various Native tribes, particularly those peoples who had been relocated to what is now Oklahoma during the 1800’s. Thus he was able to re-introduce specific corn types to the elders of those tribes, and this helped their people in reclaiming their cultural and spiritual identities. Their corn was, to them, literally the same as their blood line, their language, and their sense of who they were. Carl went on to acquire and exchange other traditional corn seed from a variety of people he had befriended around the country. To those that he met, he became known by his spiritual name White Eagle. Through being of service with the seeds, Carl awakened to the more esoteric nature of corn and its mystical relationship to human beings. This led to further insights, which he shared widely, inspiring many people over the years. His philosophy and teaching could be summed up in three words he repeated so often—
‘The Seed Remembers’.

After the passing of his wife Karen in 2005, and later his son A.V. Barnes, Carl stepped back from public life and encouraged the next generation to carry on the work of seed-keeping. In 2012, Carl became known for having originated a unique rainbow colored corn that became known as ‘glass gem’, which has since become an inspiration in our current-day seed saving movement.

Carl will be remembered for his generosity, wit and humor, and for the seeds he passed to willing hands. These will continue to multiply beyond his time, to nourish and enrich the coming generations.

“I stand in a radiant Glory.
My roots in the heart of Mother Earth.
My crown in the clouds of Father Sky.
The Four Winds encircle me in spirals of Love.
One going up, then down,
One going down, then up.
They meet in the Center of Complete Perfection--
The Human Stalk of Corn.”

--Carl Barnes

This memorial came from our dear friend Greg Schoen, who was a student of Carl's. Last year, Greg shared a Seed Story with us about Carl's work on the Glass Gem Corn.

Greg Schoen talks about the Glass Gem Rainbow Corn from its history with Carl Barnes to the memories it carries in its seed and the many stories it shares with us.
https://soundcloud.com/seedbroadcast/greg-schoen-shares-a-seed-story-about-the-glass-gem-rainbow-corn?in=seedbroadcast/sets/2015-seed-stories



SeedBroadcasting from Seed Library Week and Seed Celebration in Silver City, New Mexico



On April 10, the Grant County Seed Library and Volunteer Center of Silver City hosted a public Seed Celebration and Seed Exchange. For a short but packed two hours a multi-generational group of Silver residents gathered to swap and talk seeds, read poetry, bake horno fresh pizzas to eat, tour the gardens, and talk about the year ahead growing food and feeding a community in need. Local kids were making a seed mural out of beans and squash seeds and they were excited by the prospect of displaying the mural at the Center.


The swap included a wide variety of locally saved seeds including flowers, different herbs, beans, corn, squash, melons, onions, and greens. Most came from the surrounding area, including Carl Barne’s Glass Gem Corn and several special bean varieties which are grown by seed keeper Greg Schoen outside of town in the mountains. There was a large mason jar of Glass Gem seeds that were returning to the exchange after being planted out in town as a small population. The woman bringing these back got a great yield of saved seed and was returning them to the community to support the creation of a truly unique and biodivese Silver City variety.



Many of theses seed seekers are planting out small backyard gardens within the city. This makes it a challenge to grow enough plants of one variety to keep diversity strong as they cross and commingle their genes, while building memories that are deep and varied. Genetic diversity is the most important aspect of encouraging resilience in everything, let alone plants. But, there are several solutions for this…and one such tried and true method is sharing. After growing out seed with a small number of plants, you can find seed from neighbors in your region to include in future grows of your saved seed. And you give some of your seed to your neighbors to help build their populations.



Earlier this year, Grant County, New Mexico declared a proclamation to make every year during April 4 – 10, Grant County Seed Library Week. The seed library was founded in February 2015 in partnership with the Volunteer Center of Grant County, High Desert Organic Gardeners, and the Silver City Co-op to help local residents grow gardens, fight hunger, and eventually develop locally adapted seed varieties to be saved, shared, and redistributed. It was founded by Azima Lila Forest and she says it is growing slowly, but more seeds show up whenever she checks in to see how the library is going. So far it seems that Silver City has many bean growers and the varieties showing up at the library are incredible. She is hoping to expand the seed library and create a branch at the local public library.




The week of dedication and celebration brings with it a feeling of commitment by local political leaders in support of meaningful ways to build a healthy, sustainable, and resilient community. This is special, in that it seems that very few politicos actually support the practice of small scale, people to people agricultural efforts, which aim to build free systems based on generosity, hard work, and the local. Instead they typically import outside solutions that favor the commodification of community knowledge, practice, and well-being, while extracting these for money. But you cannot eat money.


Speaking with local city council-woman, Lynda Aiman-Smith, she talked about how Silver City was also on a path to support city sustainability and resiliency. They even have a thirty year program dedicated to recycling and reuse and developing lasting and meaningful solutions to fight poverty and hunger in this southwestern New Mexican food desert. She pointed to the Volunteer Center as a perfect example.



The Volunteer Center is an ambassador for building partnerships across Silver City. It brings together people, projects, and other organizations across the county by providing a beautiful space for gathering, learning, and sharing. At its core is the Common Center for Food Security and Sustainability in conjunction with the Food Pantry, Partners for Seniors, Alimento Para El Ñino, Nuevos Camienzos par las Mujeres, and the Seed Library. At the center, there is a beautiful soalr powered building with meeting space and commercial kitchen. It is surrounded by gardens, a newly planted orchard, outdoor kitchen and gathering space. On the street is a colorful mosaic mural with tiles in the shape of vegetables and fruits, and the words, “Hunger is not an issue of charity, it is an issue of justice. El hambre no es una cuestión de caridad , es una cuestión de justicia,” a quote by Jacques Diouf, Food and Agricultural Organization Director-general. Even though the center is officially endorsed by the county, the city, and many sponsors, the heart of this venture are people, not politics. It is run almost entirely by volunteers and people that use the space and its purpose is to fight for justice through food, health, and cooperative community.


Here are some of the Seed Stories shared with us during the Seed Celebration:

Renee Pierpont shares her story about the importance of school gardens and parent involvement
https://soundcloud.com/seedbroadcast/renee-pierpont-shares-her-story-about-the-importance-of-school-gardens


Tiger Lily Warner shares her poem "Sunflowers", that was inspired by her mother.
https://soundcloud.com/seedbroadcast/tiger-lily-warner-shares-her-poem-sunflowers


Kristin Lundgren, the gardener at the Commons Center for Food Security in Silver City, shares her story about seeds and food justice.
https://soundcloud.com/seedbroadcast/kristin-lundgren-shares-her-story-of-seeds-and-food-justice


Andrea Warner shares her love of working with children and seeds.
https://soundcloud.com/seedbroadcast/andrea-warner-shares-her-love-of-working-with-children-and-seeds


Lynda Aiman - Smith talks about building a sustainable and resilient Silver City and the tremendous work that the Volunteer Center and the Grant County Seed Library do to tackle huge issues of hunger, poverty, and oncoming climate change through education and practice.
https://soundcloud.com/seedbroadcast/lynda-aiman-smith-talks-about-the-volunteer-center-and-silver-city-sustainability-and-resilience

Monday, April 18, 2016

Ówînegh Táh Pueblos Y Semillas Gathering and Seed Exchange

SeedBroadcast at the Nambé Pueblo Wellness Center
It had rained all night. It was one of those soft gentle rains that are so rare here in the high desert. A rain that soaks into the hard ground instead of bouncing off and forming streams that wash away the topsoil. When I woke early, the light of dawn just arriving, I could still hear the rain dropping on to the tin roof. Here in the desert of the southwest we pray for these kinds of rains.
It was a blessed day.
After taking some moments to breathe in the damp air I meandered north to gather with other seed lovers to celebrate and bless the seeds for another year.
The rain decided to join us.
 The 11th Annual Ówînegh Táh Pueblos Y Semillas Gathering and Seed Exchange was held this year in the pueblo of Nambé and was presented by the pueblo and the New Mexico Food and Seed Sovereignty Alliance. This year’s theme was Remedios de la Tierra: Agua, Comida, Plantas/ Nânkwiyo Wo, Po, Kohgi. Phé Yâvi. Medicines of the Earth: Water, Food, Plants.

Hava beans from Abiquiu
 The New Mexico Food and Seed Sovereignty Alliance was formed in 2006 following the Seed Sovereignty Declaration in which farmers from our tribal, Pueblo and Acequia communities signed the declaration to defend seeds from genetic contamination. To make sure that this declaration is reactivated and kept alive in our northern New Mexico communities these important gatherings continue to bring seeds and people together.

To evoke this year’s theme and bring the essence of New Mexico into the space at the Nambé  Wellness Center we were welcomed with an opening prayer from Phillip Perez the Governor of the pueblo. Then the seed ceremony began with Los Hermanos Penitentes de: La Morada de Nuestro Señor de Esquipula La Cofradia de la Santísima Trinidad y otras Moradas blessing the space with an alabado and invocation to San Ysidro the patron saint of farmers. As the hermanos circled the room we all stood close to one and other in a deep silence listening to the voices and prayers resonate around the room. A stillness was held, a stillness that allowed us to reflect on our departed farmers, acequierous and community members.

After the hermanos brought their prayer to a closing Kathy Sanchez from Tewa Women United and Marian Narjanjo of Honor our Pueblo Existence led the seed blessing. Earth and water were brought by youth from the four directions and placed in a circle in the center of the room. Then all of the seed savers were invited to carry a selection of our seeds in small woven baskets into the circle and place them with the water and the earth at one of the four directions. Each seed basket was placed at the direction from which the seeds emerged, mine went to the south and were carefully taken from me by a young woman who smiled and placed them gently on the floor.
We were bringing our seeds home.

Cotton and devils claw from Roxanne Swentzall
The silence continued and as I entered into the circle I felt the room in the Nambé Wellness Center turn from a basketball court into a place of deep reverence not only for the seeds but also for each other. I saw people hug and shake hands; children making way for their elders, and a communal hope arise for the new planting season.
To complete the ceremonial cycle the Santa Clara Pueblo dancers moved their feet and hearts in a traditional rain dance. It was explained that the chanted songs had been in this community for thousands of years, and that every article of clothing and way of being was intentionally worn and held as a spiritual connection to the sky, earth, and mother earth.
 Not only is this gathering a blessing for the seeds it is a blessing for the elders that have carried and held the traditional ways. This years Aciano Se:daa Lifeways award was given to Raymond and Lila Narjanjo. As their family of children and grand-children and great-grand-children gathered round, Raymond explained that he and Lila had been married for sixty seven years. It made me think of the resilience within our pueblos not only of the culture but also the seeds and humans that are all connected.

SeedBroadcast sharing seeds and stories
This brought us to the seed exchange and the gentle ceremonial atmosphere contained the exchange and instead of the usual seed frenzy people were respectful and tried hard to only take what seeds they would plant. There were seeds from all over, havas and peanuts from Abiquiu, a special cotton from Roxanne Swentzell and many more varieties.

 Roxanne Swentzell

As seeds were exchanged so were stories.
Harold Trujillo of the New Mexico Acequia Association told me that he loved to dig the spring soil as it glitters, “You know that glitter don’t you” he asked me. He also told the story of one time when he cleaned the weeds from his corn field how at the end of the day when he stood up to stretch out his back he heard the corn clap….. “You know that sound the corn makes when the wind blows it sounds like clapping." Time was also given for traditional herbalists, plant medicine specialists and farmers to share their wisdom. Gilbert Yazzie from Shiprock told of the tragedy that hit his community last year when the spill from the Colorado Gold King mine contaminated the Animas and San Juan rivers. As the rivers turned to a sickly yellow color the Navajo Nation declared a state of emergency. The headwaters to Gilbert’s farm were shut off. “Our sacred corn and squash were affected. We held prayers. We said the water will fix itself. I am still looking forward to planting this season and when we plant we say 'here my little ones here is some water for you to grow'. It is all part of the circle of life. We are sending our energy and strength through our ceremony to all the farmers. There is only one water.”


Gilbert Yazzie with members if the New Mexico Food and Seed Sovereignty Alliance
 Over in a quite corner of the room a group of youth and women mixed the earth, water and seeds from the morning ceremony and rolled this life giving mud between the palms of their hands into small seed ball bundles . These seed bundles will be given to the peace and dignity runners  as they make their way North to South running thousands of miles in honor of the sacredness of the seeds. These seed bundles will be tied to the runner’s staffs for the duration of their journey.

Seed bundles
 The day concluded as the beginning with a blessing and a Mohawk song for the seeds. The prayers, seeds, earth, rain and mother earth came together in that room on the hill in Nambé Pueblo. The seeds were truly blessed and we all left with seeds in our pockets, a determination to make sure that these seeds and traditions are kept alive and even though we know its still a long difficult road ahead our hearts were full of hope.
SeedBroadcaster Ruben Olquin with Marian Narjano and the seed pot made by Roxanne Swentzell as a gift for Nambé Pueblo

Friday, April 15, 2016

SeedBroadcast at University of New Mexico Sustainability Expo

SeedBroadcast will be at the 8th Annual University of New Mexico Sustainability Expo
Join us to celebrate the resilience of SEED.

April 21, 2016
1030 am - 230 pm
Cornell Mall
Main Campus of University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM
Map: https://iss.unm.edu/PCD/SM/doc/VisitorMapCentral_Numeric.pdf



For details about this event go to: UNM Sustainability Expo
https://www.facebook.com/events/1551327408529235/


What is Sustainability? Come find out and celebrate Earth Week at the University of New Mexico's Sustainability Expo! Now in its eighth year, the Expo will be held on Cornell Mall-- just east of the Student Union Building-- on Thursday, April 21st from 10:30am to 2:30pm. Everyone is invited and encouraged to come.

The Expo offers an opportunity to interact with the community and learn about sustainability. Enjoy a vibrant array of growers' market, food trucks, educational events, and live entertainment including demonstrations, music, bicycle auction, and clothing swap. Engage in zero waste training, educational events, and have a fun time with the community! Learn about sustainable initiatives on campus and in the surrounding community as well as meet local farmers and artisans, and enjoy delicious food, fun, and a lively community atmosphere.

The Expo is organized by UNM Sustainability Studies Program students in the Growers' Market Practicum class who are passionate about educating the campus and community members about sustainable ways of living. For more information about the sustainable food and agriculture initiative in particular, check out the class blog, at abqstew.com.
We encourage your participation and support at this year's Expo!

SeedBroadcasting from Earth Day at Civic Plaza

SeedBroadcast and the Mobile Seed Story Broadcasting Station will be at the Earth Day celebration sharing seeds, stories, and resources.
Come by and share your story about seeds, resilience, and the earth!

April, 22, 2016
5 - 8pm
Civic Plaza in Downtown Albuquerque
See below for more information about the evenings events.


Civic Plaza Presents an Earth Day Celebration
Civic Plaza Presents a free, environmentally focused event in the Heart Of The City
ALBUQUERQUE, NM - EARTH DAY is coming! Civic Plaza Presents an Earth Day Celebration on Friday, April 22 from 5:00 – 8:00 PM. This free event is proudly sponsored by Positive Energy Solar in conjunction with the Young Professionals of Albuquerque.

Earth Day Celebration: Love Your Environment is a community event that is open to all and will feature live music, exhibitors, vendors, locally sourced food, beer and wine, electronics recycling and more. This an opportunity to gather as a community to celebrate, participate, and contemplate this important day.

The event will have an array of exhibitors on hand to talk about Earth-conscious and environment-positive endeavors that help make our region a better place to live. In addition, OFFCenter Community Arts Project will be hosting a recycled materials arts and crafts making area for kids. Plant starts will be available for getting gardens growing. Local arts & crafts vendors will be on site as well. The event will also serve as a launch party for Albuquerque’s 2030 District, a community based initiative to make Albuquerque an even more economically competitive and environmentally healthy community.

Music for the Earth Day will be provided by ¡Revíva! with special guest Lone Piñon. Reviva plays a locally flavored style of reggae and rock, and have made a name for themselves through their inspiring lyrics and unique sound, becoming one of Albuquerque’s best loved and most popular bands. Lone Piñon is a trio that plays the ensemble-driven violin music of Northern New Mexico, a colorful tradition that represents the forging of diverse cultures in this area. The modern musicianship that the members Lone Piñon bring to this music results in an exciting new birth for an old sound that is not to be missed.

Locally sourced cuisine from Dig & Serve and Food Karma will be served from the Silver Spoon, a top-of-the-line mobile kitchen in a newly remodeled Airstream trailer that will make its premier at the Earth Day event as Civic Plaza’s own pop-up restaurant. Local microbrews from Marble Brewery, Rio Bravo Brewing Company, Bosque Brewing Company and Boxing Bear Brewing will be available.

Attendees to this free event are encouraged to drop-off electronic devices they would like to have recycled. Electronics recycling is provided by Natural Evolution, New Mexico’s first recycler certified to the E-Stewards Standard for Responsible Recycling and Reuse of Electronics. They are also the first tribally owned, solar powered certified electronics recycling facility in the U.S. Electronics recycling is free (an $18.00 fee applies to the recycling of televisions only).

This is a free event and, like all Civic Plaza events, it is family friendly / dog friendly / bike friendly. The Earth Day Celebration is produced by Civic Plaza Presents and DowntownABQ MainStreet Initiative. Please join us in the heart of the city for this celebration of Mother Earth!

CONTACT: Damian Lopez‐Gaston, Director of Event Services, SMG managed Albuquerque Convention Center; (505) 768‐3818, dlopez‐gaston@albuquerquecc.com.