The New Mexico Land Office hosted a special planting celebration for Earth Day in April. This event brought together the State Land Commissioner, Ray Powell, Tesuque Pueblo, Agricultural Director, Emigdio Ballon, Jade Leyva and the Community Seed Mural, SeedBroadcast and the Mobile Seed Story Broadcasting Station, and over 75 fourth graders from several Santa Fe Public Schools. This cross generational spectrum would spend the day sharing the knowledge of ancient seeds, cherishing the beauty of seeds, making sound waves with local seed stories, and in general and with specific intention planting these seeds of wisdom for the future.
During the event, Camilla Romero, who works at the Land Office in Accounting, was spending her day outside in the circular landscape beds along the building. She worked with all the fourth graders to create a healing garden of culinary herbs, medicinal herbs, and local vegetables, while discussing the uses of these plants and their history. This demonstration garden is meant to inspire curiosity about plants and our relationship to them through acknowledging the botanical culture which heals, nourishes, and brings such diverse beauty to the world.
Here is Camilla’s Seed Story:
Seed: A Collective Voice, Community Seed Mural completed in 2013 was on view in the Land Office Gallery for all to view, while at the front of the building the newest seed mural was underway with students helping to secure seeds to the color coded boards.
Right along Old Santa Fe Trail, the main street in front of the Land Office, a small rectangular urban garden was underway with the three sisters, which is an indigenous polyculture of corn, beans, and squash. Leading this project was Emigdio Ballon who is a plant geneticist and teacher. He spoke with the students about the importance of these ancient food crops and their cyclical relationship with people from seed to seed. The students then worked with Emigdio to plant the small rows of blue corn and squash.
SeedBroadcast had a particularly special time with the groups of students during this whirlwind Seed Story shindig. These kids were filled with great ideas and a knack to tell stories. Many contributed fantastic drawings of seeds, favorite plants, gardens, and botanical ecology to the SeedBroadcast bulletin board, while others put down a few notes on the marker board inside the van.
Seeds were the highlight of the day.
There is something special in the air when you ask a kid if they would like to take seeds home to plant and they mob you with gleaming eyes of excitement, ready to head home with a handful of seeds and get to work in the dirt. Beans, corn, melons, peas, sorghum, cilantro….and others ended up in the pockets of fourth graders to be planted somewhere in a Santa Fe backyard and be shared in bounty through a child’s love of possibility. Many of the students chose varieties or types that they liked to eat, but several had a discerning eye towards something more…there was something about the seed that spoke to them and said take me home.
A very special thanks and shout out to Max Otwell who came by to help out in the Mobile Seed Story Broadcasting Station. Without you it would have been extreme seedy madness. Thank you!