Sunday, March 13, 2016

Seeds, murals, and a potluck at the 4th Annual Anton Chico Seed Exchange

The 4th Annual Anton Chico Seed Exchange has grown over the last years into a wonderful community event bringing people, seeds, food, and fun together for a day of sharing. 2016 was no exception. There were many seeds to exchange, a seedy art area, and a potluck lunch of the local best. Seed keepers came with their seeds to share and others came to gather seeds to start their gardens and begin trying their hand at saving seeds.

Many from the Anton Chico 4-H group came by to take part in the day and learn about seeds and growing. Most of these young country kids are busy with their livestock such as rabbits, chickens, lambs, and horses and many looked skeptical about planting anything from a seed. But when their parents began looking through the seeds and talking about all the different flowers and vegetables they wanted to grow, then these young gardeners began asking what they might grow too.

There were many different seeds from the Anton Chico valley and even seeds brought by a wildcrafter from Sapello on the east side of the Sangre de Christo mountains. Seed keepers included Pat, Merle, Delfinio, Marianna, Bill, Jenn, Chloe, Aldo, Isaiah, and Erika. SeedBroadcast also shared seeds that had been given to them from around the bioregion including several corn varieties, squash, beans, and more. There were also tubers and bulbs brought from Fodder PCR Farm and from Albuquerque. Seeds these are not, but rather old style ready-made varieties that propagate from the bulbs and roots. These were potato onions, shallots, sunchokes, and tiger lilies.

An old-timer, Luis Sanchez who had attended all the past seed exchanges wanted to create a list of plant varieties that he had not seen in ages. He felt these were missing parts of Anton Chico community as well as lost crops that were well suited to the climate and produced valuable food. We made a list together and these included maíz méxicano (a very hard white Mexican flint corn), colates calabasa (a hard shelled sweet fleshed squash), and tea (a tickseeded flower that grew all over the acequia banks and was used for tea).

While seeds were being exchanged a seedy art area was underway at one of the other tables. SeedBroadcaster, Chloe Hart-Mann, was working with kids and adults alike to make magnetic seed mural magnets out of old non-viable seeds from her farm. As she said, “It seems like the best way to keep sharing these seeds, just look at how beautiful they still are.”

Here’s what you need to make your own:
1. Ball jar lids
2. White glue
3. Seeds
4. Magnet
Glue the magnet on the back. Then glue the seeds in patterns on the front.

Ultimately, food is the treasure that all these seeds share. So we ended the Seed Exchange and Gardening Get Together with a potluck lunch of local favorites. Many of the best cooks in Anton Chico brought a special dish made from local garden and farm ingredients. Marianna brought beans and rice, Cindy brought red chile, Pat brought fresh greens and garnishes, Bill brought chicken posole and cornbread, Aldo brought spicy goat cheese, and Terry brought her infamous sopa (bread pudding).

Many thanks to everyone who helped to organize and make this possible including:
Delfinio and Marianna Valesquez
Jenn, Bill, Chloe, and Aldo Hart-mann
Pat Minor and Merle
Tina Aragon and the Anton Chico Community Center

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