Saturday, April 25, 2015

SeedBroadcasting from the International Seed Library Forum

SeedBroadcasting with the Pima Country Seed Library, 2013

SeedBroadcast will be at the International Seed Library Forum recording seed stories and sharing creative resources from the Mobile Seed Story Broadcasting Station. We will be parked on the Joel D. Valdez Library Plaza during the entire event.

Come by and share your seed stories and seed library inspiration!

We will also be participating in the following panels:
"Oral Histories & Cultural Memory-Banking Documentation for Seed Libraries"
"Publicizing Seed Libraries and Their Missions in Your Community"

International Seed Library Forum
May 3 - 6, 2015
Joel D. valdez Main Library
Tucson, Arizona

See here for more information


SeedBroadcast//Food Justice at Santa Fe Art Institute

Saturday, May 16, 2015
Santa Fe Art Institute
1600 St Michael’s Drive
Santa Fe, NM
9:30 am - 6:30 pm

|UN|silo|ED|Seeds will include a seed-saving workshop, potluck, seed music and performance, seed swap, and the interactive SeedBroadcast hub featuring Food Justice projects from local and national farmers and artists.

10:00 am - 4:00 pm Seed Saving Workshop led by seed-saver Rowen White (Mohawk)
This workshop is an introduction to the holistic, Permaculture based approach to seed stewardship. A beautiful approach to working with seeds that brings the culture back into agri-culture, that infuses our gardens, kitchens, tables and families with beautiful stories of connection between humans and plants. Come learn how you can revitalize your human connection to these sacred heritage seeds, and honor their cultural and practical context within your daily life. Increase your seed literacy, and come away with a few essential practical skills that will help you on your path as an Earth Steward and Seed Keeper. Join this grand lineage of humans who have kept the seeds alive for the sake of future generations!

Bring some food to share for a lunch-time potluck. Lunch time performance with violinist Karina Wilson and dancer Echo Gustafson. Curated by Rulan Tangen

Seed Steward Workshop is RSVP Limited to 40 participants, so please email to reserve your space.
Suggested donation at the door $10
(No one will be turned away because of lack of funds).

Public Performance Event and Seed Swap

4:30 pm - 5:30 pm Response Performance
Curated by Dancing Earth's Director /Choreographer Rulan Tangen
Artists from New Mexico, Alaska and Guatemala bring their responses to seed stewardship with music, visual art, dance film, and movement. Artists include:
visual artist Israel F Haros Lopez; Filmmaker Marion Claire Wasserman, flutist Suzanne Teng, singer and sound healer Madi Sato, dance artists Molly Rose, Julie Brette Adams, Trey Pickett (Tsalagi), Anne Pesata (Jicarilla Apache basket weaver/dancer), musician/writer/Northern Plains Tradish dancer Teklu Hogan (Tahatln), Hoop dancer Talavai Denipah-Cook ( Dine, Hopi, and Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo) and interdisciplinary artists Tohil Fidel Brito Bernal (Ixil Maya) and Maria Regina Firmino Castillo (Mestiza)

5:30 pm - 6:30 pm Seed Blessing and Seed Swap
Bring your open-pollinated seeds to share with other seed keepers

All welcome
Suggested donation at the door $10. (No one will be turned away because of lack of funds).

Organized by Seedbroadcast, Sierra Seeds, Dancing Earth, Littleglobe, Santa Fe Art Institute
Funded in part by the McCune Charitable Foundation

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

SeedBroadcasting from the Mancos Seed Swap and Montezuma School to Farm Spring Hoedown

Expanding our April visit across the Four Corners region, we partnered up for the second year in a row with the Mancos Seed Library. This year we made it to their spring Seed Swap and the yearly celebration of Montezuma School to Farm Project called the “Spring Hoedown.”

Mancos is a small town in southwestern Colorado with high-range grasslands, subalpine foothills and canyon bottoms. It is a region with a long history of agriculture reaching back thousands of years into Ancestral Puebloan hands. This land of old seeds still speaks through traces of the past and gives promise for a present movement emphasizing community care through healthy food from seed to seed.

The Seed Swap was held at the Mancos Public Library in the Community Room. The public library is also where the Mancos Seed Library is housed. The seed library has been at it for the last 5 years, providing a place where local seeds can be organized, distributed, and stored. It is a hub of educational resources and community networks based in freedom to know and access to all. Gretchen Groenke, Ingrid Lincoln, and Shaine Gans are the local facilitators and librarians for the seed library and also organizers for the swap.

Listen here to Gretchen’s Seed Story, Feed the Future which she shared at the Mancos Seed Swap:

This poem was originally published in the 2014 Autumn SeedBroadcast agri-Culture Journal, see page 18:

During the swap several tables were set up where folks dropped off their seeds and looked through others to take home. With the mantra of take a few and pass them on, people took a few seeds and repacked them in envelopes, while talking to other seed keepers and gardeners about seed culture and the season to come. Over the course of three hours the bags, envelopes, and jars of seeds continued to grow, covering the surfaces of all the tables. Seeds came from around the region to participate in the swap and during this time many discovered the Mancos Seed Library which they had not yet learned about.

Good Mother Stallard Beans from Buckhorn Farm, CO
Beans, Peas, Corn, Onions, and Native Grape seeds

A group of farmers and seed savers from the Southwest Seed Library, based out of Durango came to show their support and participate in the exchange. A huge assortment of beans and peas came from a young grower who had farmed in Mississipi and Montrose, CO. Many other domestic vegetables were also available, as were many collections of native wild edible, medicinal, and habitat plants, trees, and vines.

Turtle Farm seed saver with her special box of seeds
Farm Hopscotch out front of the Spring Hoedown

While in Mancos we had the good fortune to also spend time with a large portion of the community during the biggest event of the year, the Montezuma School to Farm Project: Spring Hoedown! People came from all over the area to usher in spring and celebrate this nationally recognized program that employs agriculture, gardens, and farming to enrich learning and hands on curriculum at public schools. The Spring Hoedown is a chance for all these students, parents, and supporters across the county to gather together, have a party, and generate funds for the coming year’s School to Farm programming.

Everyone was encouraged to come out in their best “Western” attire and woop it up at the historic Mancos Opera House. Local bluegrass bands, comedy skits, spoken word, and announcements filled the evening while party goers ate local food and played their hand at a silent auction a’la local services and goods. Many of these were rural in nature such as ”4 hours of Tractor Work” or “5 lbs of tomatoes.”

Here is a Seed Story performed at the Spring Hoedown by Kayla Tallmadge, Hazel Smith, and Taylor LaRose:

The School to Farm Program is wide reaching, serving public schools in Dolores, Cortez, and Mancos. Sarah Syverson started the program and currently directs it, but it would never be what it is today without massive community involvement, many local volunteers, grants, fundraising, and yearly Americorp Vista Volunteers. By the end of the Spring Hoedown over 300 people had attended and Montezuma School to Farm had generated over $9000 to support 2015-16 programming.

During the event the Mobile Seed Story Broadcasting Station was parked curbside in front of the Opera House door. All night people popped in to check out the van and listen to Seed Stories. On several occasions the space became a hub to make connections, network, meet new people, and generate ideas around local seeds.

Here are Seed Stories from the Spring Hoedown:

Kelli Meeker shares a Seed Story about fun, seeds, and public education from the garden:

Tyler Hoyt shares a Seed Story about teaching and learning with amaranth:

Mari Mackenbach shares a seed story about her grandmothers zinnias

Thank you for joining us in Mancos and sharing your Seed Stories!

SeedBroadcasting with the Aztec Seedsavers from Aztec, New Mexico

Open Sesame film screening in Aztec, NM

In mid April 2015, SeedBroadcast took a drive northward to meet seed keepers in the Four Corners region of New Mexico and learn more about the state of seeds and food. The Four Corners is an area of the Southwest where New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona converge on the Colorado Plateau. It is a rugged place of high desert plains, mesas, canyonlands, and mountain foothills, with sparse riparian corridors flowing throughout. It is also a confluence of culturally diverse communities including the Navajo, Hopi, Ute, Spanish, and more recent Americana melting pot. Some old orchards and pastures still line the two local rivers, the San Juan and the Animas, but the majority of activity is now centered around extraction industries of petroleum, natural gas, and coal, along with the relatively recent Navajo Agricultural Products Industry (NAPI/NIIP) which has put 72,000+ acres of high plateau into agricultural production.

But, there is something small and special happening here, in the roots of an older generation of gardeners and seed savers who love to grow and love to share; a sweetly sung promise, a conversation about seeds, Seed Stories, and growing a vibrant community of inter-generational knowledge around farming, gardening and eating healthy food.

Backyard permaculture garden, Aztec, NM
Strawberry Popcorn seeds are on their way to Aztec Seedsavers!

On Friday, SeedBroadcast facilitated a Seed Story Workshop with this group from the Aztec Seed Savers. The workshop began with an introduction to SeedBroadcast and our goal to pollinate cultural connections among seeds, food, and resilient communities. We sat around a large oblong table with corn cobs of every color and Paul Navrot’s ceramic pots filled with varieties of bean seeds. The 2015 Spring agri-Culture Journal was handed around and we watched a portion of the video, Letter from a SeedBroadcaster. We then talked about Seed Stories and what these could possibly be. After this discussion we spent about 15 minutes writing and brainstorming. Many memories from long ago were shared, while giving thanks to the gardens and seeds that feed us, keep us warm, and inspire us to grow more. We ended the evening with a wonderful blessing and potluck.

Here is Dan Dombrowski's Seed Story, written and shared during the workshop:

Since I started gardening about 10 years ago I enjoy watching the miracle of a tiny seed grow and produce wonderful fruits and vegetables.
My neighbors love that I share the bounty with them. I have been saving some of my seeds to preserve the most successful of the plants. Now I have begun to share seeds and add to mine with locally grown seeds that do well in our climate and soil conditions.
I enjoy producing healthy produce for my family.

Growing in the high desert can be extremely challenging. Our host’s gardens were filled with many different experiments to help build soil, retain moisture, keep rodents at bay, and also make gardening easier and less labor intensive.

Backyard permaculture garden, Aztec, NM
Samaritan Village Community Garden

Saturday morning SeedBroadcast visited the Samaritan Village Community Garden in Aztec, NM, which is directed by Joann a local Master Gardener. That morning a group of Master Gardeners, youth volunteers, and Teen/Grade Court youth were working together to clear the garden and begin cultivating beds for the new season. When asked what they would like to see grown in the gardens and what fresh veggies they love to eat, several youth shouted out tomatoes, onions, chile, melons, and potatoes. There were even memories of the three sisters, corn, beans, and squash. These young folks will continue with their service for as long as it lasts. But they can stay involved in the gardens helping out in exchange for fresh produce and more importantly pride that this has come from their hands. For many hands make light work and foster a community where working together is meaningful.

Samaritan Village Community Garden
WEEDING – Know Your Weeds
WATERING – Deeply Is Important
MULCHING – Conserves Water
HARVESTING – Be Careful Not To Damage Plants
We Use No Chemical Fertilizers or Pesticides
Close The Gate – The Rabbits Haven’t Learned To
Working the compost piles, watering, turning and adding the cleaned weeds for organic matter
Jug-band gopher control. It consists of a bottle buried in the ground. The bellowing sound is said to keep gophers away, as the wind blows over its lip.

During a quick break, all the garden volunteers came through the Mobile Seed Story Broadcasting Station. They picked out seeds to take home and plant, they spent time listening to Seed Stories, and they picked up copies of the 2015 Spring agri-Culture Journal.

Our final stop was the City of Aztec Senior - Community Center for a public screening of the film Open Sesame, post film panel discussion, and seed exchange. This public event was also meant to cultivate wider local interest in seeds and gardening and to grow involvement in the local seed saving group. After the film, our discussion revolved around the big question, “What do we do now?” Meaning what is to be done for the seeds, the literal seeds we grow our gardens with and the seeds of potential in our communities? How do we build capacity for a healthy and resilient local foodshed where farmers, gardeners, schools, families, the retired, the young, the working, the poor, the rich, the median, the Indigenous, the Anglo, the Spanish, everyone and all gather energy around the beautiful and bountiful seeds of action in the power of growing and feeding community? This is the big question. In the film Open Sesame the same question is asked, but in a slightly different way, “What makes a seed grow?” And it is a wonderful way to begin answering this other big question. For these both have a lot to do with our potential to rise to the occasion. Can we learn from a seed how to begin this slow process of supporting the diverse regrowth of healthy life in our communities? This is what the Aztec Seedsavers are working on now... how to think and be more like a to sprout their wisdom through inter-generational work with education, with mentoring, with gardens, and most importantly with community. No seed can grow alone.

Aztec Seedsavers public film screening of Open Sesame by Sean Kaminsky

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Ówîngeh Tá, Pueblos Y Semillas Gathering and Seed Exchange

One never knows what the weather will bring at this time of year in the high desert of New Mexico but April 11th was a blessed day. Cool air, wispy clouds and the spring winds that can stir up emotions and dust to block ones vision held to a gentle breeze. The orchards of the Chimayo valley were full of fruit blossoms, acequias were running, farmers were out moving bales of alfalfa and gardeners were tending their sprouting seeds.
It was a time of renewal.
Traditional agriculture, and I stress the word culture, is so deeply rooted in here in Northern New Mexico. The act of planting, growing, sharing and eating locally grown food is embedded in the way of living and being. It is a spiritual act and one to be revered, carefully protected and held with a deep respect.

In 2006 a traditional agriculture conference was held in Alcalde in the Española Valley. Many people attended to participate in a seed blessing and exchange and to witness the signing of the Seed Sovereignty Declaration.
This important document was drafted by members of the Traditional Native American Farmers Association and the New Mexico Acequia Association.  Then this initial alliance was strengthened by the participation of Tewa Women United and Honor our Pueblo Existence.
These committed organizations have continued to make great strides to protect the native seeds, traditions and wisdom of the indigenous land-based communities of New Mexico.
The New Mexico Food and Seed Sovereignty Alliance, which is composed of the New Mexico Acequia Association, Honor our Pueblo Existence, Tewa Women United and the Traditional Native American Farmers Association, has held a traditional seed blessing and exchange every year since that first gathering. After Alcalde it moved to Española where it became so popular that it turned into "a seed frenzy” and the original idea of honoring and blessing the traditional seeds and farmers disappeared in the hubbub.
The organizers felt a need to regroup and bring this community seed event back to its essence, back to the dignity and spiritual land-based respect. And this they did.
Now the Ówîngeh Tá, Pueblos Y Semillas Gathering and Seed Exchange alternates between an acequia community one year and a pueblo the next.

 This year was the 10th Annual gathering  “Nuestra Madre, Nuestra Cuerpo”  was held at the community center in the small acequia community of Peñasco, which is located on the scenic road to Taos. At the entrance of the community center there was a poster which made it clear that by passing though this portal one would be entering into a sacred ceremonial space.

Please observe the ground rules: 
No political campaigns 
No soliciting
No surveys or petitions 
No issue campaigns except those approved by the alliance
No genetically modified (GMO) seeds
No photos during the ceremony
Yes to native, heirloom, land race and organic seeds! 
Yes to prayer and ceremony 
Yes to family and community connections 
Yes to sharing our food and seeds together and building relationships  

The day opened with a prayer, song, incantations to San Isidro, the patron saint of farmers, a special alabado to the departed by the Hermanos Penitentes and ceremony to honor the water, soil and seeds from the four directions. The south being anywhere south of Española, in case anyone was wondering.
We were asked to feel into the ceremony, to put our cameras, phones and electronic gadgets away, to bring all of ourselves, to be present for the seeds, the nourishment and life they bring to us and to our mother earth. It is best not to write about this ceremony, it is best to just to hold on to the feeling and energy that was evoked to the interconnection between all of us, the ground on which we were standing and the seeds we were holding.

"The leader of the ceremony will call forward the four land and water offerings. Afterwards the people who brought seeds will line up to make their offering. Each seed-saver should have a sampling of their seeds in a basket, which we will hand out. The participants will move through the line and walk around the ceremonial circle to offer their seeds for a blessing
 directed by the ceremony leader".
 From the Ówîngeh Tá, Pueblos Y Semillas program.

Grupo Coatlicue, Danza Azteca-Chichimeca
When the ceremony came to a close the seed swap began and the Grupo Coatlicue held space and continued ceremony with their drumming and dancing. People had brought many varieties of local seeds and were excited to share them and talk about them. Seed-savers are a passionate animated group that love to share their stories along with their seeds and this gathering was no exception. Soon the room was humming with conversation and the expectation of perhaps finding a new variety of seed.  Tewa Women United set up a station to make seed balls with the water, earth and seeds that were brought from the four directions. Kids played with these seeds, made images, got their hands in the soil, splashed in the water and brought a playfulness to us all.

In true Northern New Mexico spirit the sharing of food was an essential part of this gathering and local chef Margaret Garcia, from Taos Real Food and her helpers, provided everyone with a true feast of locally grown food. We all sat around communal tables to continue our stories and deepen our  new connections.

Listen to one of these stories:
Lorraine Kahneratokwas Gray

The day was completed by a panel of wise women who spoke from their hearts about health, environmental issues, and the importance of the reconnection to “la cultura” and to the ceremonies that have been part of this Northern New Mexico landscape for centuries. We were reminded to never forget the power of ceremony and that if held sacred these acts have the power to transform not only ourselves but the world around us.
As the day drew to a close Kathy Sanchez gathered us all in a circle where we held hands with new friends with whom we had shared lunch and had swapped seeds and stories. We all felt for that special moment connected and when we left that truly New Mexican ceremonial space we graciously held part of it in our hearts and in our hands.

A special thank you to the incredible Pilar Trujillo from the New Mexico Acequia Association,  all the women from Tewa Women United and Marian Naranjo, of Honor our Pueblo Existence. It is such an honor to be in your presence.