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 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 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:

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