Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Evening Seed Stories at Native Seed/SEARCH

SeedBroadcast met up with some Tucson seed savers at Native Seed/SEARCH retail store in Tucson, Arizona on April 14th.

"Since its founding, Native Seeds/SEARCH has been dedicated to this calling to conserve the rich agro-biodiversity of the arid Southwest because of its genetic and cultural importance. What began as a humble operation with seeds stored in chest freezers has grown to a state-of-the art conservation facility, a host of innovative programs and educational initiatives, and an organization recognized as a leader in the heirloom seed movement. Preserved in our seed bank are nearly 2,000 varieties of aridlands-adapted seeds, many of them rare or endangered. We promote the use of these ancient crops and their wild relatives by distributing seeds to traditional communities and to gardeners worldwide. Currently we offer over 500 varieties from the NS/S collection (which we grow out at our Conservation Farm in Patagonia, Arizona) alongside native crafts, gifts, foods, and more. These one-of-a-kind seeds and items are available through our online store, annual seedlisting, and at our retail store in central Tucson."

NS/S Library housed at the retail store in Tucson
NS/S also has a Seed Library at the retail store that anyone can sign up to use with the agreement that borrowers will return their collected seeds to the Pima County Seed Library, the NS/S library, or a local seed library in other parts of the country.

This is not the only way that seeds can be shared. Local gardeners have also organized several seed swaps in the area along with a social media network called Tucson Backyard Gardening on facebook to share local gardening information. Chad and Diana are administrators for this group and said that requests keep pouring in to get involved.

Chad and Diana are local gardeners and administrators for Tucson Backyard Gardening
Several folks brought seeds to share and it seemed appropriate to use the trunk of a car to engage in this seedy business, which made everyone laugh.
Chad names 10 different varieties of beans.
A sunny look at Trumpet Vine seeds

From discussions about breeding frost tolerant sunflowers to picking out the names of different beans to sharing personal stories, the evening was serious fun and a celebration of local seeds. Here are some of the seed stories that were shared with us.




Saturday, April 19, 2014

UNM EarthDay


EarthDay SeedBroadcasting
Come by SWAP seeds and share your seed stories!

Sustainability Expo and Growers Market
April 22, 2014
10 am - 2pm
UNM Cornell Mall
Albuquerque, New Mexico


Friday, April 18, 2014

Don't Forget the wild and native seeds and plants!

Tory Taylor from Montezuma, New Mexico and Dubois, Wyoming gave us this seed story to remember:

Don't forget the wild and native seeds and plants! Domestic plants are fine, but there are many wild plants which can compliment and suppliment your diet. The wild plants often grow themselves; people don't need to till, weed, and water - just harvest in season! Wild Rose Hip Tea, Dandelion, Lamb's Quarter, Cota, Dock, and many, many other wild plants grow themselves.

My favorite salad green, wild or domestic, is mountain sorrel.  To me a dandelion in not a weed to be dug out or sprayed with poison, but is a wonderful salad green and roasted root coffee.

Consider educating yourself about wild and native plants. This will broaden your eating and harvesting experience and make you a better gardener.


Compartiendo Semillas and a Prayer for Rain


San Ysidro Labrador
A Mi Glorioso Padre Eterno, humildemente te doy gracias por la vida de tu servidor, San Ysidro Labrador, Patrón de los labradores. El cual que por los siglos nos ha mantenido, vuestro sembrado libre de langostas y temblores. Pidemos a tu servidor, San Ysidro Labrador, que por tu sudor y trabajo con que fuites fatigado, liberta vuestro sembrado del ladrón acostumbrado de no tener temor al Criador de esta Tierra. Liberta vuestro sembrado de la tempestad, de la sequía y del granizo que daña vuestro labor, le pedimos por el amor del Gran Señor. San Ysidro Labrador, Cortesano del Señor, Hasta el año venidero, nos despedimos de ti. Adios mi querido Santo, San Ysidro Labrador, te dejamos en la compañia del Gran Señor.

Prayer for Rain
Look to our dry hills and fields, dear God, and bless them with the living blessing of soft rain. Then the land will rejoice and rivers will sing your praises, and the hearts of all will be made glad. Amen.


On April 12, Anton Chico residents held their 2nd annual Compartiendo Semillas en Anton Chico. The daylong event consisted of morning workshops, potluck lunch, and an afternoon sharing seeds and conversation.

Organizers for the event stated, “This seed swap is being coordinated to give our community a place to share heirloom, open-pollinated, locally grown and saved seeds. We hope that this event will provide a gathering place for everyone to share the agricultural wisdom present in our abundant valley. The saving and sharing of these seeds and know-how is so important for the future of our locally grown and resilient crops, as well as, the health of our families and community. This food we grow is the best! From our backyard gardens to the local fields of market vegetables, to our home kitchens and kitchens across the region, our community can grow the food we need to sustain and support our families and neighbors in great health.”


Among the speakers were Nick Maestas, Delfinio Velasquez, Leroy Lucero, Janis Verela, Pat Minor, Marietta Sullivan, and Jeanette Hart-Mann.

Delfinio Velasquez talks about his garden.
The morning workshops covered a broad range of topics such as seed saving, local farming, food preservation, agricultural education and kids, water rights, and economic development. These presentations prompted a familiar conversation highlighting questions and comments about how to build a resilient and caring agricultural community.

Pat Minor demonstrates canning.
Nick Maestas called this the multiplier effect when talking about economic development, but it was clear to all in attendance that every one of these issues needs to be addressed in order to encourage a strong and healthy community. From educational empowerment, to seeds, to growing food for people, to developing a sustainable economy; every piece is an essential part of the puzzle.

Lunch proved this point.

Posole
With homegrown ingredients and the amazing talent of many local cooks, a potluck lunch of homemade red chile, posole, taquitos, beans, sopa, tortillas, and cornbread was served, which was delicious and satisfying.

Finally the highlight of the day began. The seed exchange.

Shared seeds came from Anton Chico fields and gardens, Santa Rosa yards, and donations from Guadalupe County Extension Service. These included mirasol chile, varieties of corn, beans, greens, onions, herbs, and flowers. All were open-pollinated and ready to be planted. From local gardens, these seeds will soon become healthy food and saved seed for sharing at the next seed exchange.

Marianita Velasquez shares bunching onions.
Pearl Maestas said that the event was a great success and she looks forward to another seed exchange in 2015.

Nick Maestas and Pearl Maestas pick out seeds.
Compartiendo Semillas en Anton Chico was sponsored by New Mexico Acequia Association, NRCS, Guadalupe County Extension Service.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Mora Seed Swap. SEEDS-The Local Revolution.

                                     I appear dead before I am alive
Although often quite small, inside my skin a tree can live
I can survive hundreds of years without food or water
I can be as small as dust or as large as a foot ball
Humans and animals eat me
I can fly, swim and hitch a ride
I can survive freezing, fires and intense droughts.
 What am I?
Local seeds for the Seed Swap
High elevation corn donated by Bevan Williams from Cortez
The 2nd Annual Seed Swap and Gathering was held on April 6th, 2014, at the St Gertrude Parish Hall in the center of the small but vibrant village of Mora, New Mexico.  It was one of those spring days with flurries of snow and cold winds but the local community brought a warmth and resilience into their gathering place by the sharing of precious seeds, local wisdom, food and gratitude.


 After Sunday morning church services people slowly arrived with their carefully hand-packaged seeds, food to share and knowledge. The day was convened by Marleny Alfaro of Mora Grows Seed Library http://moragrows.wordpress.com and Rodger Gonzales of Los de Mora Local Growers' Cooperative. Marleny is a native of the island of Cuba and has land she and her family farm in Mora. Rodger is a native of Mora, is the president of Los de Mora, and is a mover and shaker in his home community.
Marleny and Rodger lead an opening to evoke into the room each of the 50 or so community voices.  We heard from bee keepers, cattle growers, community members wanting to learn a new sustainable way to live their lives, a young couple from Cleveland, who have started a small company to promote healthy living in their village, from Casa de Cultura http://www.casadeculturalvnm.org/ about an upcoming Las Vegas Seed Exchange, from Small Family Farm and about new food growing initiatives for Mora County.

Rodger Gonzales local grower and activist.
The Mora County watershed includes forested uplands, pasture lands and lowland valleys with a high water table that have been utilized for traditional agricultural practices. So this highlands valley has a history of growing and was at one time in the early1900's known as "the bread basket of New Mexico" for its unique variety of wheat.  The present day community came together to sit with this historical knowledge and looked to the future of contemporary growing practices with a collaborative vision.

Nick Morrow talks about his local farm and the importance of hand tools

Throughout the day there were discussions, informative workshops on the importance of bee keeping, seed-saving, soil conservation, use of hand tools, permaculture and encouragement to support the re-emergence of a local economically viable growing community. The Mobile Seed Story Broadcasting Station was parked outside the parish hall and became the educational attraction for the younger participants.

Seed Wall in the Mobile Seed Story Broadcasting Station.



Marleny Alfaro seed-saving presentation
 Marleny opened her presentation on seed-saving with a loud and clear voice,  "Seed-saving is one of the most important things we can do. To encourage a new economy we must think from a seeds perspective."

 The Mora County Community is surely doing this by looking towards each other to learn, to collaborate and to share. They are holding the seed of their dreams and listening. They are making waves and taking action. They are forming cooperatives, they are planning a new main street, successfully fighting fracking and they are making a difference.  


We can all learn from this unique New Mexican Community. 
So please we invite you to take a moment and listen to the following seed stories: