Friday, August 14, 2015

Truth or Consequences with Seed

Charlotte Jared tending her corn circles in Truth or Consequences

Charlotte Jared contacted us back in the spring about partnering for some seed action in her town of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. It took us a while to wrangle a date that worked amongst the chaos of spring and summer planting and SeedBroadcast tours already planned. But we agreed on the date of July 25 in partnership with the Sierra County Farmers Market, which was planned for that Saturday. It was going to be hot, hot, hot. But it would also be prime summer harvest season with farmers sharing their generosity through their labor of love and food.

Driving into Truth or Consequences (or TrC as it is locally known) does not seem extraordinary. It seemingly inhabits a barrenesque low desert shrub terrain until your car pops around the bluff and travels down into a small marshy shelf along the Rio Grande where hot mineral springs bubble up and share their healing waters with all manner of creatures.

Along this route I had my first encounter with TrC in a very local and global sense. As I was driving down the street a man sitting by the curbside with kayak on one side of him and inflatable raft on the other began pointing at the Mobile Seed Story Broadcasting Station van driving past and laughing hysterically. Actually it was a little beyond hysterical… But this struck me as a moment not to be underestimated, a thoughtful, emotional, and critical expression, which we may all need to embrace in our times of solidarity, crisis, and seed. A lot of laughter and a little madness might go a long way.

During the Saturday Farmers’ Market a good number of vendors arrived to set up tables under the shade of big canopy trees in a local city park along the Rio Grande. The shade lifted the heat and cooled the park making it a pleasant space to hang out with friends and family. Unfortunately there was very little produce available. Three weeks earlier the entire region had been hit with an unseasonable hailstorm that damaged and destroyed much of the summer harvest. That which survived was random and in little quantity. So, making it to the market this Saturday were small peaches, green apples which had begun shedding from trees, a few squash and melons, figs, onions, and greens.

Small, delicious peaches from Truth or Consequences

One farmer came bearing seeds and a farm to sell. It was just too much for her. But she laughed heartily and rejoiced in the fact that some young energetic farmer could take over her life-long work and move it forward. This was not a failure. It was the cycle of generations passing on their seeds and responsibility to labor, love, and live in a blessing of these cycles. Again there was a lot of laughter and a release from the burdens of worry. The seeds must go on.

And then the seeds began arriving in baskets, bags, bundles, and pockets. Local gardeners and farmers arrived bringing their generosity and care for community and a grand ceremony for every kind of seed they could share. There were medicinal herbs, indigenous annuals, flowers, vegetables, and careful selections of resilient varieties that folks have been working with for years. This is the family of agri-Culture here, a combination of people, plants, land, and animals working together for the joy of life and the need to be sustained. This crew was also quite jovial, with a laugh and twinkle in the eye, with kids jumping in to help with seeds and Seed Story drawings.

With this group of seeds also came a recognition that some folks were connected and many were not. The question arose, how do we stay in touch and how can we build this seed sharing network? By the end of the day everyone was talking about getting together again and organizing around the common interest in seed, and the needs we all have (seeds and people alike) to cross-pollinate, learn, and grow from one another. And of course share.

By the end of the Market the laughter and jovial madness had been sung and all the seeds had been passed among hard working hands. Rosalita a local farmer came by to give us a parting gift of quelitas, the best spinach ever. Thank you Rosalita and thank you to all those farmers and gardeners that give us sustenance.

Rosalita with her gift of quelitas

But the maddness was not over yet. Something unusual was still to happen involving an unbelievable story and something of a Zen Koan of Dadaist anti-matter….something that one cannot explain with the linear/rational mind. Take a gander and see where this story takes you…

a rada dada Sunflower

rada dada shares a Seed Story about the saloon he is transforming into a farm and the spare change that keeps growing from his vegetables.

Yet, madness and the deep arts of laughter are not really the anti-social of our times. They are the normalcy that we should embrace in our everyday lives allowing each of us to question our thoughts and actions and qualify them within our beliefs of beauty, spirit, and generosity. To stretch our laughter together through our many hiccups and laugh together for our many accomplishments. Maybe something the seed can guide us through to be asked, “what would a seed do?”

Charlotte Jared corn variation from Glass Gem Rainbow Corn

This is the path forward that two other generous spirits shared with SeedBroadcast as their Seed Stories. They were both inspired by Flordemayo and the Seed Temple in Estancia, New Mexico. Listen together and let us listen closely to our seeds.

Jia Apple tells her Seed Story about discovering seeds with the Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers and the path this has led her on to remember kinships and work towards a future sharing seeds.

Charlotte Jared shares her Seed Story about discovering a familial connection with corn and the magic and depth it has brought to her life and her relations.