Saturday, February 20, 2016

2nd Annual ABC Seed Library Seed Fest.

Seeds for the seed swap

It is that time of year again, the days are gradually getting longer, the weather is slowly warming, buds are beginning to come alive on the trees and there is a green tinge emerging in the landscape.  All of these signs tell us it is time to wipe the dust off our seed stashes and bring them out into the changing light.

The 2nd annual ABC Seed Library Seed Fest was held at the beginning of February and was SeedBroadcast's first event of 2016.   This annual festival of the seeds is coordinated by Brita Sauer who has spearheaded the seed library movement in Albuquerque by starting the ABC Seed Library at the Juan Tabo branch.

This years event was held at the main downtown library on a unseasonably warm Saturday. The day started with a seed swap which brought together a huge crowd of people from all walks of life and of all ages. Many varieties of seeds in many varieties of containers were arranged on tables, hand written labels explaining each variety of seed enticed us to delve into the wonder of what we might discover.

Seeds bring out the best in people, and so this was a time of open generosity, swapping seeds and  connecting through our mutual attraction to the potential that these seeds hold.  People met each other for the first time and shared their stories of planting practices, their anticipation of finding a new seed and their hopes for the coming growing season.  There was an air of excitement and expectation to find a new seed and a new story.

This annual seed fest also provides a time to learn more about seeds and local growing practices for the unique climate of the southwest.  Sean Ludden from the Bosque Seed Collective kicked off this section with a workshop on saving vegetable seeds. Many people were activated to ask poignant questions to deepen their knowledge so they could expand their seed saving for this coming season.

 After his presentation Sean graciously shared this seed story with us:

The next presentation was by Ruben Olquin who spoke about the history of indigenous seed collecting and the development of the tradition of storing seeds in seed pots. These seed pots are an essential part of the Southwest Native American culture. These pots not only store seeds but also the  deep-rooted cultural history. Seed pots can keep seeds viable for years, as we know from the seed pot that was found on First Nations Land. Inside this closed pot were an ancient variety of squash seeds that were over 800 years old. Students at the Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg successfully revived this seed and now are growing out this unique bright orange squash and are  re-distributing the seeds.

Ruben leading his seed pot workshop

The benefits of storing seeds in these clay pots are that the clay can breathe, it wicks the moisture away from the seeds and the pots are designed to let in the least amount of light.  After Ruben's presentation he led a seed pot workshop, showing us how to mix and shape the clay into a perfect storage container.  Hopefully at next year's seed fest some of these seed pots will emerge at the seed swap and be among the envelopes and prescription drug containers.

We are delighted to announce that Ruben is now a member of the SeedBroadcast Collective and he will be joining us on our many 2016 events.

The following is a seed story Ruben shared :

Dara Saville  of Albuquerque Herbalism continued the presentations by speaking on seeds as medicine and food. She activated a lively conversation around wild crafting as opposed to harvesting and at one point a young girl raised her hand and in a sweet but powerful voice said "Please make sure that you ask the plant permission before you pick it."

Dara's presentation on seeds as medicine and food

While all this activity and wisdom was being shared inside the library we were activating  conversations and seed and seed story sharing out on the street with our Mobile Seed Story Broadcasting Station.

Inside the Mobile Seed Story Broadcasting Station

Here are the seeds stories that were shared with us:


These seed and wisdom exchanges are some of the most genuine and powerfully connecting times.  There is a palpable reciprocity and reverence with the seeds, with each other and the world in which we live. We come away from these days full of the heart-felt stories that people have been willing to share with us, new seeds in our pockets and a tangible feeling that this seed movement is ever growing and will not be stopped.

Our hope for the future

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