Monday, March 11, 2013

The Culture of Seed Saving and Backyard Gardening with Paul Navrot.

Paul is a Santa Fe native who still lives in the house where he was born. He remembers the first set of small gardening tools that his father gave him and digging around the huge tree in the front yard. The tree is still there guarding the entrance to the house and holding those memories.

Paul contacted SeedBroadcast a couple of months back to share some of his passion for backyard gardening and seed saving so we made a plan to visit his Santa Fe garden to share our stories.
The morning we spent together was clear and bright, the birds where in full song and the bells from the local church resonated throughout our conversation.

Paul is an environmental architect, he gardens for the kitchen, he saves seeds as he saves cultural memories and his eyes light up when he talk about working with adobe. His garden is divided into various areas of container gardens and a small hand built waffle garden. The smaller container gardens help to conserve water, one of the biggest challenges to growers in this area. He places a smaller container in a large one and packs in between with leaves and mulch.

He has just finished planting some cold weather crops and is still harvesting seeds from the basil he grew last year.  He stores his seeds in a  dark storage shed at the edge of the garden. He proudly opens the door to the shed and pulls from the darkness boxes full of seeds that he has saved over the years.  He carefully lifts the lids off the old worn shoe boxes to reveal rows of exquisitely made earthen containers each holding a different type of seed. Some hold seeds from last year's garden, some hold those from his neighbor that recently passed and some hold the cosmos that his Great Aunt had given him over twenty- four years ago.

For Paul seeds are cultural and historical currency, they hold memory as Paul's family garden holds the cultural memory for him. He invites us all to reignite the ancient wonder and reference of seeds.  Lets listen to this call.

Here is the link to Paul's recent TEDx Talk on nurturing agricultural diversity through backyard seed saving.

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