Monday, June 22, 2015

Bees + Seeds: Time of Action and Solidarity for Food Justice.

March against Monsanto

In this time of major shifts in our world around the injustices of access to healthy food and seeds there is such a need for action. We cannot allow these inequalities to continue and for major corporations to govern and determine the rights to own and distribute our seeds. This is a human right and has been part of our traditional agricultural system since we humans started our relationship to seeds and plants. This is a relationship based on reciprocity and without the balance and without the understanding that we are not the controllers we are heading to a disastrous tipping point.

Saturday May 23rd 2015 was a global day of solidarity and action sponsored by  March Against Monsanto and GMO- Free New Mexico .
Groups from all over the world held their own events, marches and educational activities to highlight the need to take back our food systems and promote positive solutions for local food growing.

 It was a call for action for:
  • Solidarity against Monsanto’s predatory business and agricultural practices 
  • Reject “ substantial equivalence” of GMO crops 
  • Promote organic solutions 
  • Expose the cronyism between big business and the government 
  • Address poverty, the real cause of global hunger 
  • Support food and seed sovereignty 
  • Support local farms, bees and biodiversity 
  • Labeling of all food that contains GMO’s 
Local sustainability activist Anna Maldonado

SeedBroadcast was invited by Chris Perkins to take part in the Albuquerque event called Bees + Seeds. This started with a march from the Downtown Growers Market to the Bees + Seeds Festival of music, speakers, bee and seed art, local action groups and food. This festival provided the space of people to speak out and to engage in animated conversations around many GMO issues.

Jade Leyva with her Seed Mural project

The SeedBroadcast Mobile Broadcasting Station was active and alive with visitors exchanging seeds and information about the ins and outs of growing and saving seeds in the dry southwest. Squash seeds arrived from local seed saver, Raven. He has been growing these seeds out for over forty years and were originally given to him by the great Hopi leader Grandfather David . Grandfather David was the teacher and mentor to John Kimmey, who he entrusted with the Hopi Prophecy. Kimmey  ventured further afield to sensitively spread this prophecy. In the seventies Kimmey joined with local activist Seth Rothman (Green Fire Times) to start the Talavaya organization. Talavaya was established after talking with elderly Indian and Hispanic farmers and discovering there were only a few left who still planted the old seed strains of their ancestors. It became one of the first seed banks in the southwest to save and distribute local traditional seeds. 

Raven with his Hopi squash seeds
 So forty years later the seeds were returning with their held stories and the resilience to retain their essence of purity.  They returned to remind us that we need to protect them as these strains of seeds are rapidly disappearing taking with them the traditions that are at the heart of many cultures.
We cannot let this happen.
 So let this day of action against Monsanto spark more actions, and more actions.....Please do not keep silent, raise your voices, seek those local varieties of seeds, put your hands in the soil, plant them and pray and sing for their survival…….

“There's really no such thing as the 'voiceless'. There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.” Arundhati Roy

The following are some of the voices that spoke out:
Anna Maldonado shares her story of GMO'S
Sarah Jones talks about her love of seed bombing Yvonne Cunningham talks straight up about Food Justice Timothy Gallardo talks about applying real science to food production Sally-Alice Thompson talks about food justice and sings a song about the right to know Robin Seydel talks about justice and fairness from the soil upwards
Bryna Stalarow talks about injustice of food Marian West talks about Food Justice

Ways you can take action:
  • Call or meet with your local officials
  • Plant Bee-friendly flowers
  • Boycott food companies that use GMO's and pesticides
  • Plant a vegetable garden
  • Grow food
  • Grow a garden with your neighbor
  • Vote with your fork
  • Buy organic and local sustainable foods
  • Save your lace race seeds
  • Speak out, sing out, dance out
  • Listen to our planet

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

SeedBroadcasting at the Albuquerque Museum of Art

SeedBroadcast will be parked out in front of the Albuquerque Museum of Art to Celebrate Fathers and Food.

Sunday June 21 from 12 - 4pm
Albuquerque Museum
19th and Mountain Rd NW
Albuquerque, NM

Bring seeds and stories to share!
SeedBroadcast is always free and open source. Come find us out in front of the Museum!

Celebrate Fathers and Food at Community Day

Celebrated Chefs, Seed Sharing, and Music

ALBUQUERQUE, NM –Explore ways to sustain New Mexico’s rich food traditions during Community Day on Sunday June 21st from 12 - 4 p.m. at the Albuquerque Museum. Learn about the ways you can preserve and share the community’s local food culture through a variety of activities throughout the afternoon. Bring your food-loving dad along and he receives free admission to the Museum!

Get inspiration to cook with local, in-season produce from celebrated local chefs, Jason Greene, Executive Chef and Owner The Grove Market and Café (pictured here), and Jonathan Perno, Executive Chef at Los Poblanos and James Beard Nominee. Chef demonstrations are generously sponsored by Edible Santa Fe and La Montanita Co-op.

Swap seeds and stories in the mobile van provided by SeedBroadcast, a nonprofit that encourages communities to keep local food and culture alive. Share recipes and create food-inspired art with participants from Vecinos Collective.

Enjoy the sounds of Sina Soul and Rodney Bowe SWEETLIFE in the amphitheater. Led by Rodney Bowe, (veteran vocalist, master musician, multi-genre, multi-instrumentalist,) alongside multi-lingual, multi-genre vocalist/musician, Sina Soul the band offers a dynamic selection of funk, soul and jazz music. Cash bar available.

Community Days are developed in conjunction with Albuquerque Museum’s new exhibition, Only in Albuquerque. These programs are designed to make connections to the exhibition’s main themes, Spirited, Courageous, Resourceful and Innovative. Community Days take place on the 3rd Sunday of the month through September.

This event is free with general admission....but SeedBroadcast is always free and open source. Come find us out in front of the Museum!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sign the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) right to save and share seeds!

Did you know that in the United States it is illegal to save and share seeds, even if you are doing it non-commercially?

Can you believe that! It's true.... Last year we saw the crush of this legal rhetoric threatening the shut-down of non-commericial, public seed libraries all over the country which serve backyard gardeners, community gardens, and open/free-source networks of seed savers and seed SHARING.

Please help change the laws by adding your name to the letter of support that will be presented at the annual Association of American Seed Control Officials’ (AASCO) meeting!

DO IT NOW! Time is running out.

Here is what you can do to help change the laws and ensure our legal right

The Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) will be lobbying for an amendment to the Recommended Uniform State Seed Law (RUSSL)
which will be updated at the Association of American Seed Control
Officials’ (AASCO) annual meeting this July. AASCO is an organization
of seed regulatory officials from the United States and Canada. The
members meet annually to discuss mutual concerns of seed law
enforcement, to be updated on new developments in the seed
industry, and to update RUSSL, which the organization developed and
maintains as a “model” law for states and federal programs. This law
affects every seed library - and so we are asking every seed library to
support SELC’s proposed amendment, which will exempt non-
commercial seed sharing from the labeling and testing requirements
under the model law.

Help support SELC’s effort in amending RUSSL to exempt seed

If you represent a seed library, please complete this form to add
your name to the letter of support
that will be presented at the
upcoming AASCO conference. To read the full letter, click here.

If you do not represent a seed library but you still want to send in a
letter of support, please download the attached letter of support
template, fill it out, and send it to SELC intern Carolyn at Seed librarians, please share this letter of request with your allies in the food justice, climate action, food security and other relevant movements. We'll be presenting these letters at AASCO's July meeting. We'd love to get the letters by June 19th.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

SeedBroadcasting at Lunch@SFAI

We will be SeedBroadcasting with the Mobile Seed Story Broadcasting Station along with presenting our |UN|silo|ED| Food Justice hub, a collection of projects by SFAI residents and others, drawing boards where you can write your own thoughts on food justice, an audio story-scape, open-pollianted seeds, and seed saving resources. Please come by and participate in this working process.

This event is open to the public, but you must rsvp!
RSVP here:

 June 20th, 11AM-3PM @ SFAI, located on the SFUAD campus at 1600 St Michaels Dr, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Join the SFAI community as we celebrate the work of Food Justice @ SFAI! Connect with our gifted artists in residence, committed community partners, and fellow collaborators over lunch catered by Street Food Institute. The event will include a reception, open studios, artwork created within the Food Justice theme, & workshops with artists & organizations. Doors open at 11am and events take place until 3pm.

DETAILS: June 20th, 11AM-3PM @ SFAI, located on the SFUAD campus at 1600 St Michaels Dr, Santa Fe, New Mexico

11am-12pm Reception

12pm-130pm Lunch

130pm-3pm Workshops, Current Residents Open Studios, Information Tables


Starting in August 2014 SFAI brought nearly 40 artists from more than 25 countries as well as across the United States to work with local individuals and organizations dedicated to issues around Food, Food Security, and inequities in our food systems. Projects ranged from creating urban gardens to working with local farmers to collaborating on permaculture food system design. Residents led workshops with diverse communities on topics such as fair trade to seed saving to food access in prisons. Please join us in exploring their work.



Street Food Institute

Alexis Elton

Christie Green Radicle

Rodrigo Guzmán de San Martín

Hakim Bellamy

Jessica Frelinghuysen

Erik Banjamins

FICTILIS: Andrea Steves & Timothy Furstnau

Marie Dorsey

Tina Rapp

Hye Young Kim Currents New Media Fellow

Amy Malbeouf Canada Council for the Arts Fellow

Friday, June 12, 2015

Creatively Re-Storying our Seeds at |UN|silo|ED| SeedBroadcast

Drawing boards and seed swap in SeedBroadcast |UN|silo|ED hub at SFAI
One of our goals for being a part of the Santa Fe Art Institute’s Food Justice Residency program is our desire to literally unsilo the creative potential of people and seeds as they come together in a dance of interdependency to nurture one another. In this, we want to take the long view. To step back and recognize not the specifics of each piece in this puzzle, rather, to take a gander at what is in between, what is shared at the edges, and what is generated when the unexpected becomes "the between" and enacts forms of food justice.

The title of this in-process project has been |UN|silo|ED and so far it has been extraordinary as we have had the opportunity to share the incredible wealth of what we do SeedBroadcasting, as well as invite many others to jump in and contribute their own projects, processes, thoughts, and ideas at this critical moment of climate change and global/local food crisis....and we'll have more on this in an upcoming blog.

May 16th workshop with Rowen White in the SeedBroadcast |UN|silo|ED hub at SFAI

As part of our residency we decided to create an event that would bring together seed keepers, locavores, activists, performers, artists, and agri-Culture junkies to celebrate seeds through ritual. By using the word ritual we mean to acknowledgement that having a relationship with seeds, food, and each other IS about becoming deeply planted in a daily practice of knowledge and action. There can be no one without the other. We each must plant a seed, harvest its generosity, and perform this with others. This is ritual.

With this in mind on May 16th, in collaboration with Rowen White of Sierra Seeds, Rulan Tangen of Dancing Earth, and Santa Fe Art Institute, we organized an event to celebrate this seedy process. The day included a Seed Saving workshop, potluck lunch, series of performances, seed blessing, and seed swap.

Seeds and food to share

The morning workshop, led by Rowen White, brought seed people in from all over the region, from Fort Sumner, Aztec, Mancos, Truth or Consequence, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, and Santa Fe. Rowen is a Mohawk seed keeper, teacher, farmer, and writer and she brought all these together to share with the group as a space to cultivate the creative re-storying of seeds in our lives. She began where all things begin, in the seed and in her inspiration to become a seed keeper with both deep cultural ties to Mohawk traditions and a bioregional commitment to an indigenous permaculture rooted in place of the northern California mountains. Beginning with intention, her presentation took us from the personal to the political and back again, where she reminded us that “seeding the revolution” means changing the paradigm of our relationship to life through growing familial connections of reciprocity and mutual benefit to rebuild and cultivate an ethic within a living context. It is all about seeds.

Rowen White during the seed saving workshop
Seed naming game

Rowen and her incredible seed assistant, Maize (her daughter), then led the group through a naming game, where we each enjoyed holding seeds and making guesses as to their names. This game brought everyone together to look and listen with a seed geeks pleasure at all the diversity of shape, color, size, and potential. We then shifted gears and walked to the SeedBroadcast space in the Lumpkin room to shout out intentions for seeding our own revolutions. Here is the incredible list generated as we wrote these words down on the Justice board and declared our thoughts on Food Justice:

Our right as humans to have access to food that is nutritious and able to sustain a healthy life
Return Home
Hunter/Gatherer Instincts
Loss of Biodiversity
Solidarity with our home
Art of Germination
Back to our roots
Reclaiming diversity
food as medicine
returning home
no pesticides
no Monsanto

After a very fruitful morning discussing the origins of sustenance we had the tremendous pleasure to share the cycle of seed as a glorious bounty of nutritious, delicious, diverse, and reverently rooted food. POTLUCK! There is something very special in cooking for others and then sharing this process through the ritual tasting of life. Like so many shouted out, this is an act of love. During this time together we sat huddled in circles and spent time learning about and cherishing one another while seed dances and music filled the space.

Potluck straight from the farm...Photo by Genevieve Russell
Blessings of seed, the proof is on the plate. Photo by Genevieve Russell

This love just keeps on giving, but it does not come without reciprocity. Commitment. During the remaining time Rowen returned to the idea of what each of us has to do in order to take part in seed saving and take part in the wonderment of botanical processes. And, if you didn’t know it before, you are going to know it now, and you might blush, cause it’s all about sex and as Rowen puts it, “the kinship of plants.” But she also pointed out something crucial. It’s not just about the plants in an intertwining closed-loop of intimate desire. This process is also about us and the living context that we stimulate in our gardens and on our farms, as well as, the ever-changing environmental conditions that we have no control over. If we truly want to grow bioregionally adapted seeds and rebuild a resilient local foodshed that can take on the challenges of global climate change, then we need to be committed. Even in the smallest way, committing to one type of plant, we need commitment to do it and do it ritually year after year, reclaiming the ways of not so long ago. The results are brilliant.

Demonstration on the ease of putting your foot down and cleaning beans!

What are we swapping for these magic seeds? Time and thoughtful action… and most probably many failures and successes along the way. To really root our seeds at home and cultivate familial connections. Rowen calls this the 7th Generation. Usually we hear this term as it pertains to the future and our commitment to make decisions and act on them because they will affect our children’s children’s children. But what she is talking about is another sort of time. Not the future, rather the present past, the living past as it is growing year after year in the cycle of life preparing for the present. Every year a seed is saved and replanted it grows its own memory, which engenders it with strength, knowledge, and a desire to be at home. By the 7th generation of saving, planting, growing, and harvesting these seeds they have come home. At home in place and prepared to be a part of this particular dynamic econiche. This is where our stories merge with the stories of the seeds.

Photo by, Genevieve Russell

Stories are the creative expression of these relationships, of coming home, being rooted, struggling for survival, and cycling back again into the earthly depths of the soil. During our closing circle of the workshop Rowen taught us to sing an Anishanaabe seed song. She pointed out that many seed songs come from birth songs. They are tied to the cycles of life.

The re-storying of our relationships with seeds involve each of us in our own creative ways. There is no one story to follow, there are only stories to be grown, shared, and realized in context with life. Following this desire in the power of seeds to inspire, the day was concluded with an amazing series of creative performative responses curated by Rulan Tangen of Dancing Earth Contemporary Indigenous dance Creations. Below are images and statements from these artists, discussing some of their working concepts and processes.

Corn Maiden, performance. Photo by Nicole Davis/SFAI

Video Projection ( 12:49:04) with Performance by Rulan Tangen
Collaboration Marion Wasserman + Rulan Tangen © 2014

"A video and dance collaboration about the ancestry of seeds and the lineage of corn. Generations have planted these seeds providing food and nourishment in the high desert for thousands of years. Numerous rows of dancing corn have been cultivated each keeping the genetic information, the nourishment and the ritual alive. This dance and video reflects this legacy as a rhythm of life and the repetition of cycles weaving life and culture and prayer."

Tohil Fidel Brito Bernal and María Regina Firmino-Castillo. Photo by Nicole Davis/SFAI
B’eluval Aama (Ajmaq): Performative response by Tohil Fidel Brito Bernal and María Regina Firmino-Castillo
B’eluval Aama (Ajmaq): Performative response by Tohil Fidel Brito Bernal and María Regina Firmino-Castillo. Photo by Nicole Davis/SFAI

B’eluval Aama (Ajmaq)
Performative response by Tohil Fidel Brito Bernal and María Regina Firmino-Castillo

"B’eluval Aama is the name of the day in the Ixil Maya ritual calendar: B’eluval (9) is the number of the day, and Aama is the name of the energy (yooxhil; tichiil) that corresponds to the day. It is a propitious day to reflect on one’s responsibility for wrongs committed against one’s family, community, and the Earth and the various entities with in it with which one must live in rec- iprocity and mutual care and respect. The action was enacted with this in mind. It was an op- portunity for us — performers and “audience” — to reflect on our relative levels of complicity and responsibility for the destruction of ancestral maize and the often simultaneous genocide of peoples of maize; in other words: indigenous communities from South, Central, and North Amer- ica who have cultivated maize for millennia."

"An important element in the performative action was a round mirror upon which the Mayan glyph representing the day Aama was drawn. Holding this mirror, Tohil, through the Aama in- scribed in the mirror, saluted the 6 directions (each cardinal direction, plus Earth and Sky). Tohil greeted each of these directions in Ixil Maya while María performed movements which both re- flected and embodied the characteristics of each direction."

"Tohil then turned to the South, the cardinal direction associated with the day Aama, and recited an invocation of the day in Ixil. Then María, turning to the South, read aloud translations of the invocation in Spanish and English before giving Tohil the text she read from."

"The following part of the performative action consisted of María reciting 13 names of genetically modified corn, one by one, while presenting the mirror before the faces of audience members. Audience members face the mirror with the glyph Aama, taking a moment to reflect on their re- sponsibility in the face of the disaster represented by the biotech industry. They also see their faces transformed by the glyph; the day’s yooxhil and their own yooxhil merge, as it were, in the performative moment of encounter."

"After an audience member gazed into the mirror, Tohil approached, reciting a name of maize in an Indigenous language, and offering ancestral seeds to the audience member. He repeated this action 13 times, reciting 13 Indigenous names of maize in response to each GMO corn that María named."

After these actions, María fixes her gaze onto the mirror. With a macaw feather, Tohil interrupts her gaze and they rise up together. Tohil cleans the mirror with the macaw feather while María recites a text written by Jakaltek Mayan poet and anthropologist Victor Montejo during Guatemala’s genocidal war:"

“a pesar de que se intente olvidar sus nombres
poco a poco,
yo sé que flores silvestres siguen brotando diariamente de sus huesos clandestinos,”
alla en barrancos y montanas.”

“Even though they try to make us forget their names, little by little,
I know that wildflowers
continue to grow from their clandestine bones over there, in the mountains and gorges.”

The mirror is then gifted to Seed Saver Rowen White for the work she conducts to preserve the vitality of ancestral seeds and our peoples…."

Molly Rose and Karina Wilson, honoring the water
Trey Pickett
Molly Rose and Suzanne Teng,
microbial growth/embracing the mystery/northern energy,
with recitation of "In the Beginning", a Poem by Jahan Khalighi
Israel Fransisco Haros Lopez
Echo Gustafsen
Cami Leonard, SEED, an interactive installation

At the very end of these performances, Madi Sato led all in a seed blessing, singing an ancient Japanese Seed Song as we gathered in two concentric patterns circling left and right and dancing together to honor seeds. After this the seed swap began!

Seed Swap. Photo by Nicole Davis/SFAI
Seed Swap. Photo by Nicole Davis/SFAI

We would like to thank everyone who came out to join us for this amazing day celebrating seed and also thank Rowen, Rulan, and all the performers. We would also like to thank Santa Fe Art Institute, McCune Charitable Foundation, and every anonymous donor who made this logistically possible.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

SeedBroadcasting from the Celebraćion de Culturas - Estamos Aqui, Peñasco, New Mexico. UPDATE!

Mural Image by Alberto Castagna and Robert Brenden

SeedBroadcast will be at the Celebraćion de Culturas in Peñasco, New Mexico on Saturday June 13th from 10am to 4pm. We will now be located at La Jicarita Harvest, 14082 St Rd 75  across from the St. Anthony's Catholic Church.  Site 5/6.  La Jicarita Harvest is a local business of home made jellies and bischocitos run by Natalie Lopez.  Sounds like the perfect place for us.

See you there.

Bring a seed story to share and seeds to swap.

Friday, June 5, 2015

SeedBroadcasting from the Celebraćion de Culturas - Estamos Aqui, Peñasco, New Mexico.

Mural Image by Alberto Castagna and Robert Brenden
High Road Community comes together to share traditions.

SeedBroadcast will be at the Celebraćion de Culturas in Peñasco, New Mexico on Saturday June 13th from 10am to 4pm. You will find us at Site I, the Rio Lucio Community Center, 1264 SR75.
Bring a seed story to share and seeds to swap.

Peñasco is one of the largest culturally diverse communities along the "High Road to Taos" scenic route and for the first time ever, people from all parts of the community are coming together to share what makes this place so special. The event runs from Friday evening June 12th through Sunday June 14th 2015.

The weekend kicks off with a dance and music provided by Cipriano Vigil.  Cipriano is a native of near by Chamisal, has a PHD in Ethnomusicology and a life long passion to preserve and share Northern New Mexico music. He has been honored as a Living Treasure.
Friday June 12th, 6pm,  Peñasco Theater.

Poetry readings by Levi Romero , the New Mexico Centennial Poet Laureate. Levi's poems are immersed in the regional manito dialect of Northern New Mexico and have been published internationally.
Saturday June 13th 7pm, Peñasco Theater

Presentations and exhibits of family history, including genealogy, stories and photographs.
Saturday June 13th and Sunday June 14th , 10am- 5pm Peñasco Theater

Throughout the weekend residents of Peñasco and nearby communities will open their homes to demonstrate traditional skills and crafts, such as willow basket weaving, soap making, story telling, retablo painting, wood craving and turning, pottery, posole and chico making, adobe brick making, and plastering, weaving, wool felting, colcha embroidery and much more.

This is a weekend not to miss so please come out and support this vibrant New Mexico community and remember to look out for the Mobile Seed Story Broadcasting Station.  See you there.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Iskashitaa: Harvesting Hope Empowering Dreams

We met Barbara Eiswerth while she was attending the International Seed Library Forum. She is the founder and director of Iskashitaa Refugee Network whose mission is to empower and help build local relationships for refugees in Tucson through unique programs such as harvesting, food preparation, sewing and crafts, English as a second language, and advocacy.

Barbara Eiswerth at International Seed Library Forum

At the opening Seed Library event, Barbara and Iskashitaa staff person Sherrell were handing out slices of gigantic local grapefruit and talking to folks about the work of Iskashitaa. They were also trying to wrangle up volunteers for the weekly harvest of fruit and vegetables from underutilized food resources around Tucson such as backyard and streetside fruit trees. Like the many crates of grapefruit being handed out at the event, the quantity of fruits and vegatables that go unused and thrown in the landfill is astonishing. Iskashitaa gathers together refugees, volunteers, and homeowners to harvest this food and then redistribute it. They also sell at the local Farmer’s Market.

Iskashitaa headquarters

The next harvest would take place in a few days while we were still in Tucson. This would be the perfect opportunity to tag along and glean with the best of them.

glean, verb:
to gather or collect (something) in a gradual way
to search (something) carefully
to gather grain or other material that is left after the main crop has been gathered

On Wednesday, May 6th, I drove out to the Iskashitaa headquarters and met Chloe the Harvesting and Farmer’s Market Coordinator, several volunteers and the three refugee harvesters who I would be working with, Adam from Aljendae, Darfur, Marim from Mt Nuba, Sudan, and Kali from Butan. We would be heading out to a gated community in the Catalina foothills to pick grapefruit.

Sherrell and Cindy prepping for Market
Grapefruit harvest

The view was picturesque with lavish yards and landscapes filled with abundance. Barbara pointed out many different fruit trees, bushes, and edible flowers. Many were exotic citrus filled with ripe branches of sweet tartness. The tree we headed for was moderate in size and the grapefruit large, thick skinned, and mild.

Pineapple guava flowers a sweet melt-in-your mouth insanely wonderful edible flower.

The harvest works based on an equal exchange of labor, food, and generosity. Here’s how it works… home owners or businesses contact Iskashitaa when they have fruit or produce available to be gleaned. Then the harvest team swoops in to pick the food and carry it off to be redistributed through the group. It is that easy.

Catching the fruit

While we are picking, Adam warns us to be careful in case some of the fruit falls. No one wants to get beamed in the head because it would likely knock someone out. We cautiously use fruit pickers to pluck the fruit from ground level while others climb into the tree and hand pick directly. After about 30 minutes all the fruit has been picked, crated, and loaded into the van with a total of about 5 crates filled with grapefruit. This team effort makes for quick gleaning and fun as we chat during our work together.

This is a fundamental aspect of Iskashitaa and all of their programs. For its not just about the food, the gleaning, or the service. It’s really about relationships, empowerment, and healing by giving refugees a safe place to learn and become a part of the Tucson community. And this in no one-way street. Many come from land-based traditions and carry an incredible wealth of knowledge about farming, foraging, and cooking. They have much to teach us of edible landscapes and maximizing resources in culturally powerful ways.

Kali from Butan
Marim from Mt Nuba
Adam from Aljendae
More fruit!

Here are Seed Stories post-gleaning from Adam Abubakar and Barbara Eiswerth:

Adam Abubakar talks about his life from farmer in Darfur, Aljendea to gleaner in Tucson, Arizona.

Barbara Eiswerth talks about how food justice and refugee resettlement go hand in hand.

Stay connected, volunteer and help support Iskashitaa Refuge Network at:

Monday, June 1, 2015

Seed Stories from the International Seed Library Forum, continued

The following are the 2nd series of seed stories that were shared with SeedBroadcast at the  International Seed Library Forum that was held in Tucson, Arizona in May 2015.

Greg Schoen shares a seed story about the Glass Gem Rainbow Corn
Karen Fasimpaur shares her  seed story about growing food and cultivating a community seed library
Martha Retallick talks about the cherry tomatoes she is growing from the Pima County Seed Library Michelle Perales talks about growing seed knowledge and learning as you go Scott Chaskey talks about the Cornwall cliff meadows and his mentor Edgar Wallis Jim Veteto talks about the seeds that have influenced his work as a cultural anthropologist

Seed Stories from the International Seed Library Forum

The following are the first series of seed stories that were shared with SeedBroadcast at the  International Seed Library Forum that was held in Tucson, Arizona in May 2015.

Gary Nabhan shares the story of his poem "The Seed of a Song"
 Cecelia Montoya shares her story of growing Green Chile at Isleta Pueblo Elena Acoba shares her story of food, seeds and culture Rebecca Newburn talks about seeds, seed libraries, the commons and the concept of "Face Place Story" Besty Goodman talks about her journey with seeds and her work to bring back agricultural traditions Mark O'Hare shares the story of Padre Kino and the white sonoran wheat Cindy Conner talks about cherishing the gift of seeds Jessica Suda shares her seed story about relationships across nature
Jacob Kearey-Moreland talks about seedy culture and his inspiration for positive action

International Seed Library Forum, May 2015, Tucson, Arizona.

International Seed Library Forum Seed Swap
“If you can look into the seeds of time 
And say which grain will grow and which will not, 
Speak, then, to me, who neither beg nor fear Your favors nor your hate.” 
Macbeth Act 1 Scene 2

Thirty-one years after the first national grassroots seed conference the city of Tucson, Arizona again led the way in the seed sovereignty and food security movement as the host to the first International  Seed Library Forum . This forum was organized by Gary Nabhan (Gary along with Mahina Drees and Cynthia Anson organized the first seed conference), Justine Hernandez and the staff of the Pima County Libraries.
The intent of this forum was “to further coalesce efforts by public libraries, non- profits, universities and food banks to increase the quality, accessibility and diversity of community seed resources and also assist all those involved with seed libraries to collectively address recent regulatory challenges."

Rebecca Newburn of Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library
 In recent years seed libraries have been sprouting all over the nation. Chris Shein and Sasha Du Brul started The Bay Area Seed Interchange Library in 2000 and this action influenced Rebecca Newburn, who in 2010 created a replicable model in the Richmond Grows Seed Library . This model launched a huge movement not just here in the US but internationally and there are now well over four hundred active seed libraries with many more in the planning stages. This grassroots action has evoked demands from some state regulation boards, which threaten to limit public access to local open pollinated seeds. (You can find your states seed law at  American Seed Trade Association ).

 So for three days at the beginning of May many seed enthusiasts, farmers, activists, public librarians, ethno-botanists, civil rights lawyers and curious individuals met at the Joel D. Valdez Public Library to participate in the open sharing of seed wisdom, local lore and best practices in the radical world of seed-saving, propagation and dispersal. The forum was a mix of panels, keynote addresses, a vibrant seed swap, film, poetry and seed stories and the participatory creation of a seed library resolution. Speakers included Justine Hernandez, librarian and seed activist; Bill McDorman of the Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance; Rebecca Newburn of Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library; Gary Nabhan, author and food and farming activist; Scott Chaskey, farmer and the author of Seedtime; and Cary Fowler of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault/Special Advisor to the Global Crop Diversity Trust. These speakers eloquently rooted us in the history and mission of seed libraries, crop and seed diversity issues, effects of climate change on agriculture, importance of sharing not only our seeds but the stories they hold, the ethos of seed sharing, the idea of the commons and the importance of coming together to create a resolution for the seed library movement.

 SeedBroadcast was invited to be part of this forum by our friend and librarian Justine Hernandez who has been instrumental in the formation of the extremely successful seed library system for the Pima County Libraries. Justine, along with many of the librarians that attended this three day gathering hold the belief that open access and democratic sharing of knowledge and resources is essential and by adding local varieties of seeds to the library borrowing collection is an obvious community service that fits within the libraries missions.

SeedBroadcast rolled into Tucson just in time to set up for the seed swap that was held in the patio of the Loft Cinema. Seed swaps attract a wide diversity of seeds and people and this was no exception. Many of the nation’s seed libraries were represented by their unique seed collections along with Greenhorns, Seed Savers Exchange and local Tucson seed enthusiasts.

Pinole popcorn grown by Evan Sofro and Gary Nabhan

Local seed saver and his seed collection

Seed swaps create a feverish excitement with the potential to discover a new seed variety such as the special pinole popcorn or the purple fava bean with the cracked open strip revealing its white flesh that attracted me. I carried this one around in my pocket for days I could not help but pull it put now and then to show its beauty to a new seed-loving friend. Cary Fowler told me that this was called “pocket breeding”. We met Cary last year while SeedBroadcasting at the Telluride MountainFilm Festival and it was a delight to reconnect. Cary was at the forum to present the film Seeds of Time and to keep us informed of the many varieties of seeds that are being lost and the devastating impact this will have on our access to food in the future.

 For the duration of the forum we set up the Mobile Seed Story Broadcasting Station in the plaza outside the main library and juggled our time between the many panels and discussions, plotting with our seed-loving friends, and recording seed stories from attendees and local people that had heard we were in town and came by to share their seed stories.
Justine Hernandez and city workers visiting SeedBroadcast

Jacob Kearey-Moreland from the Toronto Seed Library
 The panels addressed a mixed variety of issues from seed library challenges, such as the state regulations, oral story banking, how to develop a mission for your seed library and many informative topics to help establish deeper roots for the seed library and food justice movement. Throughout the gathering Neil Thapar of the Sustainable Economies Law Center & Neil Hamilton of Drake University’s Agricultural Law Center, lead a participatory process to create a joint resolution. This resolution was invoked to help the seed movement address the regulatory challenges and to allow the movement to stand in solidarity around why seed libraries exist and why they stand outside the current seed legislation.

Bill McDorman presenting the Seed Library Joint Resolution
The invocation by Bill McDorman of this resolution created a celebratory collective finale for this gathering.
It was a packed few days full of shared graciousness and seed wisdom. Everyone holding the same deep love of true agricultural practices with a determination to make a stance to save our culturally relevant food systems and to create new democratic ways forward into a world that will be fit for our children’s children. It was a time of reconnection to seeds and people, the discovery of new connections and a renewed activation to keep this seed sovereignty and food security movement alive and healthy.

 “What are we doing that will be relevant in a thousand years”, asked Justine Hernandez on the first day of the forum. Many of us carried those words back home in our hearts. This was an amazing time of collective connectivity to what matters most in our lives.

There was no admission fee to this conference thanks to support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Amy P. Goldman Foundation, and the Arizona Library Association. This event was presented by a collaborative effort of: Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, Edible Baja Arizona magazine, The Friends of Tucson’s Birthplace’s Mission Gardens, The Loft Cinema, Mercado de San Agustín, Native Seeds/SEARCH, Pima County Public Library, and University of Arizona. Additional co-sponsors included Greenhorns, the National Young Farmers Association, the Seed Library Social Network, Seed Savers Exchange, and the Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance.

SeedBroadcast would like to thank Justine Hernandez, the staff at the Pima County Libraries, Gary Nabhan and all the people who made time to share their stories with us.

Seed Stories from the International Seed Library Forum will be published in the next blog so stay tuned.