Expanding our April visit across the Four Corners region, we partnered up for the second year in a row with the Mancos Seed Library. This year we made it to their spring Seed Swap and the yearly celebration of Montezuma School to Farm Project called the “Spring Hoedown.”
Mancos is a small town in southwestern Colorado with high-range grasslands, subalpine foothills and canyon bottoms. It is a region with a long history of agriculture reaching back thousands of years into Ancestral Puebloan hands. This land of old seeds still speaks through traces of the past and gives promise for a present movement emphasizing community care through healthy food from seed to seed.
The Seed Swap was held at the Mancos Public Library in the Community Room. The public library is also where the Mancos Seed Library is housed. The seed library has been at it for the last 5 years, providing a place where local seeds can be organized, distributed, and stored. It is a hub of educational resources and community networks based in freedom to know and access to all. Gretchen Groenke, Ingrid Lincoln, and Shaine Gans are the local facilitators and librarians for the seed library and also organizers for the swap.
Listen here to Gretchen’s Seed Story, Feed the Future which she shared at the Mancos Seed Swap:
This poem was originally published in the 2014 Autumn SeedBroadcast agri-Culture Journal, see page 18: http://seedbroadcast.org/SeedBroadcast/SeedBroadcast_agriCulture_Journal_files/SeedBroadcast%20Autumn%202014%20Web_1.pdf
During the swap several tables were set up where folks dropped off their seeds and looked through others to take home. With the mantra of take a few and pass them on, people took a few seeds and repacked them in envelopes, while talking to other seed keepers and gardeners about seed culture and the season to come. Over the course of three hours the bags, envelopes, and jars of seeds continued to grow, covering the surfaces of all the tables. Seeds came from around the region to participate in the swap and during this time many discovered the Mancos Seed Library which they had not yet learned about.
|Good Mother Stallard Beans from Buckhorn Farm, CO|
|Beans, Peas, Corn, Onions, and Native Grape seeds|
A group of farmers and seed savers from the Southwest Seed Library, based out of Durango came to show their support and participate in the exchange. A huge assortment of beans and peas came from a young grower who had farmed in Mississipi and Montrose, CO. Many other domestic vegetables were also available, as were many collections of native wild edible, medicinal, and habitat plants, trees, and vines.
|Turtle Farm seed saver with her special box of seeds|
|Farm Hopscotch out front of the Spring Hoedown|
While in Mancos we had the good fortune to also spend time with a large portion of the community during the biggest event of the year, the Montezuma School to Farm Project: Spring Hoedown! People came from all over the area to usher in spring and celebrate this nationally recognized program that employs agriculture, gardens, and farming to enrich learning and hands on curriculum at public schools. The Spring Hoedown is a chance for all these students, parents, and supporters across the county to gather together, have a party, and generate funds for the coming year’s School to Farm programming.
Everyone was encouraged to come out in their best “Western” attire and woop it up at the historic Mancos Opera House. Local bluegrass bands, comedy skits, spoken word, and announcements filled the evening while party goers ate local food and played their hand at a silent auction a’la local services and goods. Many of these were rural in nature such as ”4 hours of Tractor Work” or “5 lbs of tomatoes.”
Here is a Seed Story performed at the Spring Hoedown by Kayla Tallmadge, Hazel Smith, and Taylor LaRose: https://soundcloud.com/seedbroadcast/kayla-tallmadge-hazel-smith-and-taylor-larose-sing-a-seed-story-about-an-apple-seed
The School to Farm Program is wide reaching, serving public schools in Dolores, Cortez, and Mancos. Sarah Syverson started the program and currently directs it, but it would never be what it is today without massive community involvement, many local volunteers, grants, fundraising, and yearly Americorp Vista Volunteers. By the end of the Spring Hoedown over 300 people had attended and Montezuma School to Farm had generated over $9000 to support 2015-16 programming.
During the event the Mobile Seed Story Broadcasting Station was parked curbside in front of the Opera House door. All night people popped in to check out the van and listen to Seed Stories. On several occasions the space became a hub to make connections, network, meet new people, and generate ideas around local seeds.
Here are Seed Stories from the Spring Hoedown:
Kelli Meeker shares a Seed Story about fun, seeds, and public education from the garden: https://soundcloud.com/seedbroadcast/kelli-meeker-shares-a-seed-story-about-fun-seeds-and-public-education-from-the-garden
Tyler Hoyt shares a Seed Story about teaching and learning with amaranth: https://soundcloud.com/seedbroadcast/tyler-hoyt-shares-a-seed-story-about-teaching-and-learning-with-amaranth
Mari Mackenbach shares a seed story about her grandmothers zinnias
Thank you for joining us in Mancos and sharing your Seed Stories!