Tuesday, March 24, 2015

SeedBroadcast Spring Tour: Silver City.

Mobile Seed Story Broadcasting Station in Silver City
 We set off late in the afternoon, the SeedBroadcast collective coming together from all our different directions. We met in the south valley of Albuquerque, packed our minimal clothing for the week, loaded food in the cooler, bedding in the overhead cupboard, checked that we had water and set off for our seed expedition. Following behind us was Cleo, a passionate young woman from Greenhorns http://www.thegreenhorns.net/who offered to help us for part of this trip.

Cleo sorting seeds
 The Mobile Seed Broadcasting truck is old, the engine a little newer, it is carefully looked after but it is always an adventure when we set off on our yearly spring tour. We have an itinerary, communities are expecting us and we are curious and excited to meet the people we have only encountered through telephone calls and the internet. Our first stop was Silver City, a small town in southern New Mexico of ten thousand people. Historically Silver City is known as a mining town but as the gateway to the Gila wilderness many people, seeking an alternative way of living, have congregated in this area and have diligently established a vibrant local food growing community.

Food Policy Council
  In the seventies and eighties wanderers found land along the Gila River and started to live their dreams far away from main steam America. It was during this time that Seeds of Change started their business of growing out and researching local heirloom seeds. The company has changed since then, as it is now owned by Mars, but many people who were drawn to work on that first Seeds of Change farm are still in the area, tending the seeds and growing their own food.

As Carolyn Smith a local activist and board member of the farmers market said, “We are sixty miles from the nearest interstate, ninety miles from the nearest city so if the trucks stop coming we would only have a weeks worth of food to survive on”.

The Farmers Market runs from May to the end of October and as a way to raise money the board organize a Home and Garden Expo once a year at the Silver City Convention Center. The expo brings the community out of their homes and gardens to talk, share, listen to music, learn about local high desert growing practices and to reconnect with each other.

High Desert Organic Gardens Seed Swap
 Community organizations and individuals set up tables and booths to share their goods and knowledge. The new Seed Library had a booth with information, New Mexico’s Fig Man sat on the floor surrounded by his beloved figs and told stories to those that wandered into his space, the Food Policy Council, mapping the historical ranches and oral histories, High Desert Organic Gardeners set up a very popular seed swap, Yo Kalisher displayed his Liquid Compost, the Farmers Market created an active educational area, and there were solar vendors, antique dealers, and real estate agents.

This assortment of purveyors attracted a steady stream of inquiring visitors from families new to the area to the old timers.

The SeedBroadcast Journals were dispersed, seeds exchanged hands, and new connections were made. We learned allot, not only about the food growing practices of the area but also the names of the surrounding mountains, the myths and legends of the “Sleeping Nun”, and we were directed to the best mechanic in town.

More stories from SeedBroadcast visit to Silver City will be posted in our next blog.

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