Monday, July 30, 2012

Seed Broadcasting at the Vermont College of Fine Arts

Seed Broadcasting on the college green.
Seed Broadcast Mobile Seed Story Broadcasting Station will be at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, in Montpelier, Vt, from July 29 - Aug 2, listening to seed stories and broadcasting these across the greens.  Below are some of the stories shared so far....keep listening for more seed stories and visit the Seed Story Broadcast page to find more.

We ran into MDL, an anonymous VCFA graduate student, on July 17th. MDL talked about her home grown scarlet runner beans and how she uses them in the classroom for experiential learning.

Hunter Neal shares some seed stories from George Washington to Cuban cigar seeds to the tomato seed, Mortgage Lifter, which he hopes to start saving.

Please stop by and visit us, we would love to listen to your seed stories. You can locate us at 36 College St, Montpelier, Vt, on the college green.
July 29 130 - 430 pm
July 30 130 - 400 pm and 830 - 930 pm
July 31 130 - 430 pm
Aug 1   130 - 400 pm
Aug 2   130 - 330 pm

Or call if you would like to make an appointment - 575-512-5740
Or email:

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Seed Broadcast at the Capital City Farmers' Market

Seed Broadcast visited the Capital City Farmers' Market on Saturday, July 30.  We met many visitors to the market along with several local producers.

Kate Milligan, a local medicinal landscaper shared her seed story with us and told us all about the local organized effort to take back health care through using herbs found in our own backyards to treat health issues. The organization she works with is actively saving seed and helping local folks to grow their own medicinal landscapes. For more information on local efforts to acknowledge and practice health care from the earth visit: Vermont Center for Integrated Herbalism.

We also met Arealles Ortiz and Emma Lutz-Higgins who shared their stories about participating in the local Montpelier High School Seed Library.

While at the farmers market we were blessed to meet Carol and Robert Mouck, two amazing seed savers with magical twinkles in their eyes.  They talked about their efforts in Ontario, founding a seed sanctuary, while trying to encourage and help others to save and grow more seeds. They are both passionate about this effort and worried that many people are not yet ready to embark on this mission. One of the most important aspects they feel the world struggles with is the simple gesture of love and generosity. Something that even seeds desire.

Thank you everyone we met for your joy, encouragement, and struggle to keep seeds in the hands of people!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Montpelier Seed Library at the local High School

Montpelier High School Gardens
Seed Broadcast met up with Tom Sabo, teacher and organizer of the Montpelier High School integrative, sustainable curriculum, where students learn everything from Spanish to Biology directly from the food they grow. This High School is also the site of the current public Montpelier Seed Library.
Picking blueberries.
Tom showed me around the High School gardens and greenhouse.  All the food they grow here goes directly to the cafeteria and is eaten daily by the students, giving them all an opportunity to experience the cycle and interconnection of food production, labor, culture, and research. We picked some blueberries and ate them along our walk.

Seed Library Cabinet
This Seed Library is housed in the High School Library.  It is accessible to the public, although the hours are limited to times when the school is open.  Tom said that he is currently discussing the possibility of growing this library and collaborating with the local, Kellog Public Library, so that the seed library will be more available to the Montpelier Community.

This library began when high school students met with local farmers who had been growing local heirloom varieties.  They listened to the stories from these local seed savers, and brought seeds back to school with them to contribute to the seed library. These are now grown at the high school gardens.

Keep listening....we hope to interview Tom later this week....

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Seed Stories From Rutland, VT

Local seed savers, gardeners, farmers, and people who want to learn more about saving seed, stopped by the Seed Broadcast event at the Rutland Free Library on July 17. Several people shared thoughts on saving seeds and also their personal seed stories.
You can listen to these and other Seed Stories from across the country at the Seed Story Broadcast Page.

Sylvia Davatz is a Hartland, Vt seed saver, owner of Solstice Seeds and homesteader. She shared some seed stories and talked about the reason why she saves seeds and loves to grow.

Sharon Turner shares a seed story about her family's lost parsnip seed that she is looking for.

Ed Graves shares a seed story about possibility and seed broadcasting, from the Rutland Seed Library

Carol Tashie of Radical Roots Farm, in Rutland, VT, shares a seed story of the local heirloom tomato, "Prattico," which she grows and encourages others to grow.

Scott Courcelle shares a seed story about the efforts of local growers to collaborate on a seed saving project in Rutland, VT.

Thank you for sharing all your seed stories with us!

Rutland Seed Library - Seed Broadcasting Event, Rutland, VT

Ed Graves, Assistant Director of the Rutland Free Library discusses the creation, organization, and dreams of the Rutland Seed Library.
Mobile Seed Story Broadcasting Station at the Rutland Free Library

Local Seed Savers checking out the Rutland Seed Library and the Mobile Seed Story Broadcasting Station, while discussing local seeds, saving and growing.
Seed Broadcast collaborated on a broadcast event at the Rutland Free Library, in Rutland Vermont on July 17.  We met folks who came from local seed saving projects, market gardeners, and visitors to the public library. We were reminded of why we do what we do, as we headed up New York State towards Vermont and saw the following billboard...

Rutland Seed Library Collection, as people stop by to pick up seeds
Ed Graves, who is the assistant director of the Rutland Free Public Library and who organized the Rutland Seed Library, comes from a background as a market gardener. He was interested in starting this seed sharing project when he moved to Rutland because he had a large collection of seeds that he had been saving. This Seed Library is organized as a annual seed swap, which usually occurs in the spring. He would like to see it grow, as people participate in not only taking seeds home to plant, but returning seeds to grow the library collection.
Ed talks to some local gardeners as they look over the seeds from the library collection

Monday, July 16, 2012

Seed Stories from the folks in and around Accord, NY

The Hudson Valley Seed Library invited neighbors and people interested in saving seed to the July 16th Seed Broadcast event in Accord, NY. These stories are posted below.
You can find these seed stories and more at the Seed Story Broadcast Page.
Peggy is a retired librarian and the past director at the local library where Ken Greene (founder of Hudson Valley Seed Library) began a seed library years ago. They worked together to learn about seed saving and re-grow their local gardens. This seed saving effort encouraged Peggy to find her father's long time saved seed, producing the most delicious baked beans in the area. Peggy shares this story of Hank's Extra Special Baking Bean here...
Doug Muller shares a seed story about a particular tomato seed that was shared with the Hudson Valley Seed Library.

Nicci Hagan shares a seed story about her own beginnings as a seed saver.

Laura Wyeth, a local resident from the area of Accord, NY, shares her thoughts about feeding her family in the future and concerns she has about food security and seed availability. She is active as a forager and wanting to learn more about seed saving.

Ken Greene from the Hudson Valley Seed Library shares a Seed Story about lettuce seed and the NYC pickle festival.

Hudson Valley Seed Library Broadcast from July 16

Ken Greene and Doug Muller from the Hudson Valley Seed Library discuss how their library operates, challenges that seed libraries face, and reasons why this work is so important to the livelihood of us all.
Ken Greene takes visitors on a tour of the Hudson Valley Seed Library farm.
Ken Greene and Doug Muller of the Hudson Valley Seed Library partnered up to host a Seed Broadcast event with local Accord folks. It was a great opportunity for visitors to check out the seed production gardens, learn about seed saving, and discuss critical issues surrounding seed biodiversity and the cultural importance of this practice.
Ken shows neighbors the original design for a new art pack.
The Hudson Valley Seed Library functions as a seed library in several ways. People can purchase a membership, receive a yearly supply of seeds and return saved seeds at the end of the year for reduced membership fees the next year. Or folks can buy regionally adapted seeds directly from the small scale farm, which come in thoughtfully articulated "art packs." The art packs are collaborative ventures, executed by artists, and encouraged by the compassionate, and intimate relationship that Ken and Doug have to the seeds they grow.
Hudson Valley Seed Library Art packs along with an inspiring collection of old seed catalogs filled with the forgotten history of seeds, plants, and food.
Both Doug and Ken have questions about how they will keep this local, small scale venture running and they also wonder how people adopting the strategy of seed libraries will encourage them to prosper in their communities. They cite something we have heard repeatedly from other seed sharing projects across the country.... It is relatively easy to get people to participate in the seed libraries, by taking seeds home to be planted. But when it comes to saving seeds and returning these to the library, very few people actually participate. It seems that most people do not know how to save seeds and they are afraid to try in the face of a community commitment to seed sharing. Ken and Doug ask, how do popular expectations of producing glossy, perfect vegetables and gardens keep people from formulating their own seed stories out of the not-so-perfect home garden that is squeezed amidst the domestic everyday obligations of so many busy people. Ken shared his blog writing on this exact topic titled, Garden Porn...."Every year when the new seed catalogs come out, someone invariably refers to their pile of glossy catalogs as “garden porn”."

Doug questions the evolutionary impact of industrial seed production practices, which typically occur in warm, arid climates, for the purpose of production efficiency. He asks, how does this influence the way that seeds and plants are capable of surviving and adapting in humid, cold climates such as the northeast? How do we promote regionally adapted, place specific, viability in the seeds, plants, and foods we grow?
Listen to the above audio feed, to hear more on these thoughts and questions.

You can meet up with Ken and Doug at the Seed Savers Exchange annual conference on July 20-22, in Decorah, Iowa, where Ken will be giving a talk titled, "The Art of Heirlooms."  They will also be attending the National Heirloom Expo in September, in Santa Rosa, California, where they have found an excellent community to discuss seed saving, seed libraries, and forums for best practices.

Thank you Doug and Ken for sharing all your thoughts about seeds, community, and the future of seed. And thank you for all your generosity!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

One20 Farm and Friends Seed Broadcast in Columbus, Ohio

The Seed Broadcast Mobile Seed Story Broadcasting Station stopped by the One20 Farm in Columbus, Ohio to catch up with old friends, Kellie and Jeromy Gedert.
Here at their urban homestead, they raise chickens, grow fruits and vegetables in a permaculture garden, and raise compost worms, while championing the cause of local, slow food.
We were also joined by Shawn and Gerry who run the City Folk's Farm Shop – providing urban homesteading tools and education for city gardeners and farmers.

Jeromy and Kellie talked about their desire to grow as an urban farm under the limitations of space and the constraints of city ordinances, which prohibit them from having livestock, such as milk goats and ducks.  They would also like to continue experimenting with edible forest gardens by planting more perennial tree/shrub crops such as pawpaws and olallieberies. But, they have to do this strategically, due to the size of their yard. They are struggling with popular expectations that farms are supposed to be rural, large scale operations, instead of inhabiting the yards of urban spaces within walking distances to other amenities such as schools, shops, libraries, and parks. One project they are discussing with neighbors is establishing a local, community garden, which means taking back a public space that has been appropriated by privatized interests.
Worms make..,..
delicioso food
While enjoying  a wonderful feast of flat bread, roasted veggies, pesto and white bean spread – all beautifully prepared by Jeremy, chef extraordinaire - Kellie, Jeromy, Shawn and Gerry all shared some great seed stories with us. Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties, we didn't actually manage to record them. We are going to try to collect their stories over the phone, so please keep posted for story updates from Columbus....
Casie adds some beans to the mural
The whole family joined in the fun, wheat pasting seed pictures to the van. The kids, Milo and Casie, not only plastered the van with seeds, they also shared their seedy drawings of sprout, plants, and a bee on the van's dry erase board.

Thank you One20 Farm and friends for a lovely evening of seed stories!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Seed Story Broadcast from Chicago

On July 12th, Seed Broadcast stopped by the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, at the University of Illinois, Chicago to collaborate on a Seed Story Broadcasting event with the museum, the Hull-House urban farm, and a local farm, Raise the Roof.

While the Hull-House educator and seed librarian, Christian Alfaro discussed the Hull-House seed library and Breanne Heath, of Raise the Roof farm, conducted a seed cleaning workshop, we invited visitors to explore the broadcasting station, copy information from the bulletin board, help wheat paste seeds on the van, and share seed stories. We met a handful of people who were bold characters grounded in an urban uprising of seed saving, community organizing, and broadcast actions. 

Christian Alfaro shows us the seed library which is housed in the Museum gift shop.

The Jane Addams Hull-House seed library includes a catalog of historical seed stories.

These seed stories present multiple perspectives surrounding motivations and desires for seed and food access across a desertified landscape called Chicago. With intentions to rejuvenate the ecology of place and encourage the growth of edible landscapes, each person describes how seeds play a central role in making all this possible. But with one does not happen by simply talking about it. It only happens through the process of action, learning, and experimentation -  through a commitment to the cycles of seed sharing, planting, growing, eating, collection, and dispersal.  

Potatoes growing at the Hull-House Urban Farm.

Chicago-based garden blogger and seed saver Ramon Gonzalez (aka Mr Brown Thumb) with seeds from his collection which he shares with others via the internet. Pictured here are Nasturtium and Poppy seeds. Ramon is also involved with One Seed Chicago, a not-for-profit project of NeighborSpace, Chicago's land trust for community gardens.

Entangled in these personal perspectives are questions about how to engage in the process of the social - that is a social which is ecological and realized as an ongoing praxis, a process of people, seeds, and place.

We talked to Nancy Klhem, urban forager, freelance seed archivist and ecological systems designer about the importance of education and practical, hands-on seed action.

Nancy's Kentucky Coffee Tree seeds and American Persimmon seeds.

Bellow, you will find all the personal seed stories shared by folks from Chicago:

See all seed stories here.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Seed Stories from Don Hirsch, Du Quoin, Illinois

After our broadcast with the Du Quoin Seed Library, Mary Jo and Jane sent us down the road to find some local fresh vegetables at Don Hirsch's farm on Sesser Blacktop. He sells local produce and eggs from his farm and also resells from other local farms.  We picked up delicious peaches, tomatoes, and farm fresh eggs.

Don talked about losing his first and second crop of sweet corn due to the drought.  He said that the soil is cracked so far open from the lack of moisture that you can stick you whole hand in the earth. But despite these hard times his optimism prevails.

There is something about farmers and their desire for growing and being with the land that carries them through the most difficult times. We can learn a lot from listening to their stories.

Thank you Don for sharing you passion for farming and your seed stories.

See all seed stories here.

Du Quoin Seed Library Seed Story Broadcast

The Seed Broadcast Mobile Seed Story Broadcasting Station was just at the Du Quoin Seed Library, in southern Illinois, to find out how the library is developing and to listen to the story of seed savers. The seed library was organized through the joint efforts of Perry County Master Gardeners, Mary Jo Novak, Jane Chapman, Jon McClurkin, and Pam Swallers, working in collaboration with library director Kristina Benson and library assistant Sally Cook. It began, this year, when both Kristina and Mary Jo read the same article in Organic Gardening and got together to make it happen.

Sally Cook shows us the seed library, which is stored in the bottom of an old vacant filing cabinet at the Du Quoin Public Library.
This is their first year as a seed library and they are very interested in seeing this library grow. In fact, they are dreaming of the day that the seed library takes over the bottom two drawers of the old filing cabinet in their public library.

The Du Quoin Seed Library discussing their organizational strategies and why this effort is so important for their community.
They hope to address and take action on critical issues, such as health and the well being of people.  Through eating locally produced, healthy vegetables, while getting people out in their gardens for exercise, this seed library is dedicated to promoting and encouraging abundance and vitality for every generation in their community.  They also feel that seed saving is an essential practice to keep seeds and local food alive for the future.

Mary Jo Novak and Jon McClurkin look through the Seed Broadcast Bulletin Board and copy off seed saving and seed library information to post in their seed library.
Admitting there are many challenges that they face, these seed librarians and master gardeners are clearly committed to see this prosper.  They need more vegetable seeds that are open pollinated, they need responsible and dedicated participants, they need a sorting and storage system implemented, and they need to consider what it means to save seeds in the midst of genetically modified industrial agriculture. They are willing to take on all these challenges as they continue through a major regional drought.

If you live in the area of Du Quoin, Illinois and would like to participate in the Du Quoin Seed Library, head on down to the public library and find out how you can help grow this tremendous effort to save seeds, produce local food, and cultivate abundance in community.  Also, on August 6th, at the library, they will be holding a seed saving workshop. So stop by and find out how to save seeds.  Contact the DuQuoin Public Library for more information: (618) 542-5045

You can hear the personal seed stories of Mary Jo, Jane, John, Pam, Sally, and Kristina here...

Seed Broadcasters - Nina Dubois, Jeanette Hart-Mann, and Seed Librarians - Sally Cook, Jon McClurkin, Jane Chapman, and Mary Jo Novak after meeting for an afternoon of seed stories.
Thank you Du Quoin Seed Library for sharing your seed library and stories!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Seed Stories from Du Quoin, Ilinois

Below are Seed Stories shared at the Du Quoin Seed Library, in Du Quoin, Illinois. You can listen to more seed stories by going to the Seed Story Broadcast page, or following this link.
Jon McClurkin shares his seed story from Du Quoin, Illinois.

Mary Jo Novak shares her seed story from Du Quoin, Illinois.

Pam Swallers shares her seed story from Du Quoin, Illinois.

Jane Chapman shares her seed story from Du Quoin, Illinois.

Kristina Benson shares her seed story from Du Quoin, Illinois.

Sally Cook shares her seed story from Du Quoin, Illinois.

You can listen to more Seed Stories from around the country at the Seed Story Broadcast Page or follow this link.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Mighty Billboards, Mississippi, Rain, and the Seedy Mural

I-70 Billboard
LuLu's Herbs, owned by Pam Bramlett, in Balwin City, Kansas invited us to stay on on the farm before heading to Du Quoin, Illinois.  We hung out with 3 of the farm WWOOF'ers and checked out the herb gardens. Thank you Pam, Sarah, Alan, and Aaron for you hospitality.  You can check out Pam's garden blog here: Lulu's Garden Herbs.

I-70 Billboard

Heading towards Du Quoin, we ran into a huge thunderstorm.  This rain ushers in a new era of moisture for me.  I do not think I have seen this much rain for years. But still, it is dry, even here in the lush, pseudo-tropical, hill country of southern Illinois.

Along the way, people keep asking, "What are you doing?" But, the conversations that emerge are passionate, fascinating, and inspiring. Today we met, Swan the Story Teller in Carbondale, Il. She related information about a mock trial that was recently held here at Southern Illinois University, indicting the corporate hand-hold of people's basic human right to seeds and justice.  Swan said that they will soon be releasing a documentary film about this.

We have finally initiated the Seedy Mural on the exterior of the Seed Broadcast Mobile Seed Station. The images so far include seeds saved from Fodder Project Collaborative Research Farm, Suzanne Coffey, Cathy Kahn, and John and Cindy McCleod. All from New Mexico.  We scanned and photographed these, then scaled them up, printed, and wheat pasted them all over the van.  We will continue to paste the sides with images of seeds as we tour the country.  Please bring a favorite seed to the Broadcast events, we will photograph/copy/print it and you can help paste it onboard.

More Seed Broadcasts from Lawrence Farmers' Market

Miriam Maples, from the Willing Horse Farm, shares a Seed Story about her grandmother's green beans.

John Pendleton describes the operation of his family farm, the challenges of being a full-time farmer, and the flower seeds that they actively save from year to year.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Lawrence, Kansas Farmers' Market

Stephanie Thomas shares a seed story about her Greely Nesting Onions.

We sputtered into Lawrence, Kansas yesterday during the record breaking heat wave. It was over 106 degrees and continues today to be nearly too hot to breathe. We decided to stay overnight, not because we like saunas, but because the oldest Farmers' Market in Kansas is held here every Saturday. The Downtown Lawrence Farmers' Market. And...we were excited to find some local, fresh, fruits and veggies.

Along with the local produce we were hoping to meet some folks with seed stories to share.  As we asked around about local seed saving efforts we were told that the Kaw Valley Seed Project is currently underway, with a spring seed swap, monthly meetings, and intentions to save, promote, and share local, heirloom varieties.

Berrigan Willmott shared his story, emphasizing the role of strong relationships and community.

We met some amazing farmers and ate some fantastic fare. One producer of Purple Hull Beans, shared her fantastic bean salsa with us.  Zingy and Zangy!

Avery Lominska insisted that farming was real work, but not regular.....he emphasized the fact that farmers give everything they have to this commitment of growing food and do not always have the luxury of labor to make space for a practice driven by passion and ethics.

Market producers generously shared thoughts on seed saving and the challenges of doing this while trying to grow for the market.  We also heard seed stories from several people, reminding us of why seeds and local food engenders friendships, memories, and abundance to be shared for a lifetime.

One story was recollected several times among different people....and unfortunately I managed to erase it from the audio sd card....but maybe I can try to recollect it here:

Jessica Pierson, from Red Tractor Farm told us about a specific tomato variety that was grown during World War II at a German Prisoner of War, Internment Camp, in Lawrence, Kansas.  Since then, it has been shared throughout Lawrence and prospered as an heirloom beefsteak type - delicious, hardy, and reminding us of a tragic history which seems so very far away.

We plan on having all these Seed Stories posted in the next couple days, so keep an ear out for our next blog posting and check out the Seed Story Broadcast page, as we continue to compile these Seed Stories from across the country.

Thank you Lawrence Farmers' Market and all the people we met, for sharing your local food and seed stories with us.......and thank you Tom for tending that giant tomato and keeping the skunks from eating it.  We ate the whole thing for lunch!

The Thing in the Garden - a Seed Story from The Museum of Ephemerata

Scott Webel, with The Museum of Ephemerata, out of Austin, Texas recently sent us a thought provoking seed story...from the post, The Thing in the Garden, via their blog, The City of Living Garbage, Do-it-yourself remediation, art environments, and food gardens that thrive on waste.

He recollects the parasitic via a thoughtful parallel examination into the world of mushrooms, soil bodies, and corporate "worldlings" - comprised of glyphosates and genetically modified plants - that we are currently the testing ground for.

Here is the post in its entirely - Thanks Scott for sharing this! 

Thursday June 7, 2012
The Thing in the Garden

Billows of white flesh erupted from the ground. At first the mass doubled daily, then slowed down but kept unfolding. It absorbed other plants, leaving them alive but trapped in its form. It dusted a glass light fixture scavenged from the Cathedral of Junk with its powdery spore. After a few weeks it was a yard across, with shelves of tissue in ripples like a small, solid cloud, an uncanny thing sprouting between the figs and roses in the front garden where the cats poop.

The fruiting sex organs of other fungi have popped up in Ephemerata Gardens. Bird Nests with their tiny cups of spores. Brown umbrellas that open up and rot in a day, bright yellow ones in potted plants and the kitty litter compost. What other cthonic aliens live invisible in the soil? Bondarzewia berkeleyi, the huge Berkeley's polypore, is an edible fungus best cooked when the flesh is young. I learn this on Google and see pics of fungi in dense forests that look like the one in our yard. A museum visitor has a distrubed reaction like the thing scared him, and I realize how fond I am of the mushroom. Something about its unlikely visitation in a "human dominated ecosystem." In a restaurant I overhear a guy reminiscing about his irises. "They died back after we put the fungicide in the yard. Now they're saying iris patches need certain kinds of fungus. They're learning so much about that."

Living soil and its suprises seemed to be endangered. There were reports in peer reviewed journals like Current Microbiology (1) that glysophates, the key ingredient in Roundup and its Chinese knock-offs, were decimating non-targeted soil microbes and mycelia in agriculture fields. Controversy whirled around these texts -- allegations that Monsanto was actively blocking scientific research on its many products' unintended toxic effects while falsifying their own reports, or that the biotech giant was purposefully destroying the biosphere and food security just to maximize its own endless growth, or worse, to kill everyone but "the one percent." Scientific paranoiac visions charged court hearings, public protests, and Occupy Monsanto actions as people tried to get a grip on exactly what the corperation's products were doing to landscapes and bodies. Scientists on both sides of the debate reasoned that lab testing of glysophates and genetically modified plants were always suspect, since things don't work the same in the agricultural fields (e.g., varying in dosage amount, humidity, and the like). Meanwhile the fields themselves were the real experimental labs; the world itself had become the life-size lab.

Like the polypore in our yard this Monsanto worlding turned up in unexpected places. The US Geological Survey isolated glysophates in Mississippi rain (2). Doctors in a hospital in Quebec found BT toxin (produced by a soil bacteria's transgenes in GM corn) in the blood of pregnant women(3). In 2009 President Obama appointed former Monsanto lobbyist and VP Michael Taylor as senior advisor to the head of the FDA. Glysophates and GM seeds drifted to neighboring farms, and GM rice cross-pollinated patented Monsanto gene sequences into organic wild rice in a case of genetic pollution. Because there was no mandatory labeling for GMO ingredients you could hate Monsanto and unwhittingly eat its spawn at the same time unless you can afford all organic. Even then Monsanto corn or cotton might be in everyday objects you touch. You could become obsessed with purging Monsanto, get politically active in an international movement "building a world without Monsanto"(4). Like Climate Change, Monster Monsanto became one of those conspiratorial things you could wrap your life around researching and fearing -- its mafia capital built of commodites that kill, first Agent Orange (to kill people, a commissioned product sanctioned by the state military's monopoly on violence), then DDT, now Roundup and corn (to kill pests, no state sanction required). The corporation's living garbage, polluting the minutia of ordinary life, is facilitating cosmopolitan publics of concern, outraged people who could only come together around a trashed world and its remediation.

Besides their ability to manifest in unlikely spots, mushrooms and Monsanto have another thing in common: they eat the death of other beings. They cultivate certain kinds of landscapes by kickstarting a chain of ecological relations by tinkering with forms of death. Mushroom species are living machines, medicinal or toxic to certain life forms. A few lots down from Ephemerata Gardens they might be cutting back oak trees to build a new house. I need to buy some oyster and shitake mushroom plugs and beeswax. The rainbarrels are full of (glysophate?) rain to keep the logs sodden. Maybe a year from now we'll be eating succulent stir fry.

The polypore's mass has yellowed and is no longer tender. I couldn't dismember and eat the thing anyway. Its mysterious autonomy. Plus it's growing in cat poop.


(1) Clair E, Linn L, Travert C, Amiel C, Séralini GE, Panoff JM. "Effects of Roundup(®) and glyphosate on three food microorganisms: Geotrichum candidum, Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris and Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus." Curr Microbiol. 2012 May;64(5):486-91. Epub 2012 Feb 24.

(2) Chang, F. C., M. F. Simcik, et al. (2011). "Occurrence and fate of the herbicide glyphosate and its degradate aminomethylphosphonic acid in the atmosphere." Environ Toxicol Chem 30(3): 548–555.

(3) Aris A, Leblanc S. "Maternal and fetal exposure to pesticides associated to genetically modified foods in Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada." Reproductive Toxicology (2011), doi:10.1016/j.reprotox.2011.02.004

(4) Combat Monsanto website ( See also GMWatch (

Friday, July 6, 2012

There's No Place Like Home

For the last several days, we have been slowly cruising across the back roads of Kansas agri-cultura, via State Route 24.  On first observation, I note an extreme contradiction in the fields of corn we pass. They come in two forms. Green, robust and above the knee for the 4th of July or otherwise scrawny 6" specimens of patchy zea maize with extremely crispy, brown, rolled leaves. It is obvious from the roadsides that this landscape has not seen moisture for quite some time.  This drought has swept across the west, with soaring temperatures and winds gusting across the prairies, harkening an epic reminder of the dust bowl days.

Several farmers I spoke to were dreaming of clouds, rain, and relief.

The green monoliths surviving this lack of precipitation, owe their vitality to the center pivot irrigation systems, running a circular track round and round, driven by massive generators, while spraying mists of water droplets onto the surface of the plants. This makes me wonder how much ethanol really costs to produce, while we also ask the perpetual question, "How long will the Ogallala Aquifer really last?"

"Giants Sunflower Seed 2 For $3 -"

I have been searching for a garden, as we drive through these stretches of corn, soy, wheat, and alfalfa fields.  Along the 437 miles that Kansas stretches, I have only spotted one, in a town called Hoxie.  It was a pleasing site to behold with the squash, corn, and beans growing vigorously in the middle of a tiny, modest, grass lawn. Have gardens disappeared from our rural landscapes, only to be replaced by the manicured lawns, formal hedges, suburban architecture, and massive fields of capital commodities? What are the chances that one of these fields grows saved seed?

Thank you J & T Repairs, in Hill City, Kansas, for helping us re-weld our exterior swivel broadcast speakers!

A nighttime shot of the Broadcast Station, camping out at Sheridan Lake, Kansas