|Local artists, Cloudface and Al Na'ir painting murals to be auctioned off and benefit the event|
GMO-Free New Mexico has been organizing annual events for many years calling on Albuquerque to get up and get out and spend time acknowledging the importance of bees and seeds in our lives while building solidarity within Albuquerque communities to advocate and act for these tiny, yet essential beings. This years 2016 Bees + Seeds Festival was a tremendous event with thousands of visitors. The festival took place at Tractor Brewing Company, occupying their parking lot and interior of the brewery and definitely drawing crowds to drink beer, hang out with friends, listen to music, and have a good time. But what does having a good time and drinking beer, singing and dancing have to do with saving a keystone species and the quickly dwindling biodiversity of plants and seed? I would say many things when we build the capacity as a community to realize that everything we have in life comes from these creatures and all our relations. Perception, mindful attention, love, celebration, and gratitude are the seeds of this revolution.
|Mobile Seed Story Broadcasting Station|
Throughout the day SeedBroadcast met lots of local gardeners, several seed savers and many people who were looking for a place to share seed and get seed. The Juan Tabo ABC Seed Library http://abqlibrary.org/seeds was also at the event so we sent folks over to talk with Brita Sauer about their local seed library and how to participate. Here is a Seed Story from Brita about the seed library . This was recorded in 2014 at the opening of the seed library.
|SeedBroadcaster, Ruben Olguin talking seed with a group of visitors|
There was talk of community garden projects taking place around the city. One in particular is the Veteran Farmer Project https://www.facebook.com/veteranfarmerproject where veterans, active service, and National Guard people can take free farming classes and get hands-on experience in vegetable and livestock production. Other gardeners talked about the strange seasons and unusually warm late winter, unusually long, cool spring and many seeds that just did not want to sprout.
|Gathering seeds and meeting new friends inside the Mobile Seed Story Broadcasting Station|
Kids flocked over to the Mobile Seed Story Broadcasting Station to draw pictures and post them on the bulleting board. Many people sat inside the van and listened to Seed Stories. We also handed out lots of seed with the promised exchange that they would try to save some seeds and pass them on.
|Seeds: A Collective Voice mural|
The festival also included Seeds: A Collective Voice http://www.seedsacollectivevoice.org project organized by artist Jade Leyva who has been working for the last three years on community seed murals to bring attention to seed, bees, healthy community, sustainability, and the environment.
All of theses murals will be shown at the National Hispanic Cultural Center…coming soon.
|New Mexico Bee Keepers, honeycomb|
|Food is Free Albuquerque, seed paper|
Many local environmental and social justice organizations were tabling to share information and even something more. The New Mexico Beekeepers Association http://nmbeekeepers.org had honeycombs from a top bar hive to demonstrate how bee architecture brings form and function together to create healthy homes for bees to raise their young, store food as honey, and occasionally birth a new queen.
Also present and celebrating great success was Food Is Free Albuquerque https://www.facebook.com/Food-is-Free-Albuquerque-1453889834882483/?fref=ts inspired by a national movement to take back our food! The Albuquerque contingent was founded by a group of mothers and kids gleaning every nook and cranny of Albuquerque to bring healthy, free food to everyone who needs it. It was great to meet the crew and see the seed paper and free plants they were handing out. Here is a Seed Story from Erin Garrison, recorded at the Civic Plaza Earth Day Celebration where she talks about the project.
How can we have seeds, bees, and food without clean water, air, and a healthy environment? In Albuquerque, like in many cities across the country, communities of color and/or those in marginalized areas are at the greatest risk of exposure from the toxic plume of dominating culture, i.e. exploitation. This includes water contamination, air pollution, industrial and political bulldozing, and food deserts. Juntos https://www.facebook.com/JuntosNM is a newly formed organization bringing together Latina/o youth and mothers to organize for environmental and social justice. Here is their word of intent:
“Juntos organizes and engages grassroots volunteers and leaders, especially Latina/o youth and mothers from the International District, South Valley, and Westgate, in developing the People’s Clean Power Plan, including holding appointed and elected officials accountable for state implementation of an environmental justice inclusive Clean Power Plan, as well as research, visioning and development of a local campaign that addresses air pollution and quality issues in Latina/o communities in Albuquerque.”
|You know what.... a giant March Against Monsanto banner|
GMO-Free New Mexico https://www.facebook.com/gmofreenm/?fref=ts did a fantastic job organizing this event. At their main booth they were handing out free seeds, plants, seed balls, and non-gmo sodas. Their intention is to make all of this real as a hive mind. To save the bees, share the seeds, grow gardens and food for all creatures, bring people together, work together, dream, and celebrate. This event and the way GMO-Free NM functions as an organization could be likened to a bee colony. There is no “one” at its center. Instead it is made up of many dancers, musicians, farmers, activists, teachers, beekeepers, artists, storytellers, and more. It is a collective of joyous, compassionate, generous souls coming together to waggle dance for the bees and seeds, each other, and Mother Earth.