Sunday, June 12, 2016

Waggle Dancing at the Bees + Seeds

Local artists, Cloudface and Al Na'ir painting murals to be auctioned off and benefit the event

GMO-Free New Mexico has been organizing annual events for many years calling on Albuquerque to get up and get out and spend time acknowledging the importance of bees and seeds in our lives while building solidarity within Albuquerque communities to advocate and act for these tiny, yet essential beings. This years 2016 Bees + Seeds Festival was a tremendous event with thousands of visitors. The festival took place at Tractor Brewing Company, occupying their parking lot and interior of the brewery and definitely drawing crowds to drink beer, hang out with friends, listen to music, and have a good time. But what does having a good time and drinking beer, singing and dancing have to do with saving a keystone species and the quickly dwindling biodiversity of plants and seed? I would say many things when we build the capacity as a community to realize that everything we have in life comes from these creatures and all our relations. Perception, mindful attention, love, celebration, and gratitude are the seeds of this revolution.

Mobile Seed Story Broadcasting Station

Throughout the day SeedBroadcast met lots of local gardeners, several seed savers and many people who were looking for a place to share seed and get seed. The Juan Tabo ABC Seed Library was also at the event so we sent folks over to talk with Brita Sauer about their local seed library and how to participate. Here is a Seed Story from Brita about the seed library . This was recorded in 2014 at the opening of the seed library.

SeedBroadcaster, Ruben Olguin talking seed with a group of visitors

There was talk of community garden projects taking place around the city. One in particular is the Veteran Farmer Project where veterans, active service, and National Guard people can take free farming classes and get hands-on experience in vegetable and livestock production. Other gardeners talked about the strange seasons and unusually warm late winter, unusually long, cool spring and many seeds that just did not want to sprout.

Gathering seeds and meeting new friends inside the Mobile Seed Story Broadcasting Station

Kids flocked over to the Mobile Seed Story Broadcasting Station to draw pictures and post them on the bulleting board. Many people sat inside the van and listened to Seed Stories. We also handed out lots of seed with the promised exchange that they would try to save some seeds and pass them on.

Seeds: A Collective Voice mural

The festival also included Seeds: A Collective Voice project organized by artist Jade Leyva who has been working for the last three years on community seed murals to bring attention to seed, bees, healthy community, sustainability, and the environment.
All of theses murals will be shown at the National Hispanic Cultural Center…coming soon.

New Mexico Bee Keepers, honeycomb

Food is Free Albuquerque, seed paper

Many local environmental and social justice organizations were tabling to share information and even something more. The New Mexico Beekeepers Association had honeycombs from a top bar hive to demonstrate how bee architecture brings form and function together to create healthy homes for bees to raise their young, store food as honey, and occasionally birth a new queen.

Also present and celebrating great success was Food Is Free Albuquerque inspired by a national movement to take back our food! The Albuquerque contingent was founded by a group of mothers and kids gleaning every nook and cranny of Albuquerque to bring healthy, free food to everyone who needs it. It was great to meet the crew and see the seed paper and free plants they were handing out. Here is a Seed Story from Erin Garrison, recorded at the Civic Plaza Earth Day Celebration where she talks about the project.

Juntos information

How can we have seeds, bees, and food without clean water, air, and a healthy environment? In Albuquerque, like in many cities across the country, communities of color and/or those in marginalized areas are at the greatest risk of exposure from the toxic plume of dominating culture, i.e. exploitation. This includes water contamination, air pollution, industrial and political bulldozing, and food deserts. Juntos is a newly formed organization bringing together Latina/o youth and mothers to organize for environmental and social justice. Here is their word of intent:
“Juntos organizes and engages grassroots volunteers and leaders, especially Latina/o youth and mothers from the International District, South Valley, and Westgate, in developing the People’s Clean Power Plan, including holding appointed and elected officials accountable for state implementation of an environmental justice inclusive Clean Power Plan, as well as research, visioning and development of a local campaign that addresses air pollution and quality issues in Latina/o communities in Albuquerque.”

You know what.... a giant March Against Monsanto banner

GMO-Free New Mexico did a fantastic job organizing this event. At their main booth they were handing out free seeds, plants, seed balls, and non-gmo sodas. Their intention is to make all of this real as a hive mind. To save the bees, share the seeds, grow gardens and food for all creatures, bring people together, work together, dream, and celebrate. This event and the way GMO-Free NM functions as an organization could be likened to a bee colony. There is no “one” at its center. Instead it is made up of many dancers, musicians, farmers, activists, teachers, beekeepers, artists, storytellers, and more. It is a collective of joyous, compassionate, generous souls coming together to waggle dance for the bees and seeds, each other, and Mother Earth.

Free seeds

Seed balls

Saturday, June 11, 2016

SWAP at EcoZoic Era: plant|seed|soil

SeedBroadcast is honored to be included in the exhibition The Ecozoic Era: plant|seed|soil from April 29 – August 5, 2016 where we are presenting the project SWAP, a hands-on Seed Story germination grow-kit. SWAP, along with the rest of the exhibition, is located inside the New Mexico State Capital Roundhouse in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This is the perfect site to declare seeds as open-source, non-proprietary bodies and beings who participate in the social and environmental well-being of everyone in our communities. It is also the perfect site for individuals to declare through action, their right to save and share seeds and disrupt the corporate domination of seed, food, agri-Culture, and politics of the few over the many.

SWAP is a pop-up, Seed Story grow-kit where visitors can participate in connecting with seeds and honoring their stories through drawing, reading, conversation, and of course swapping seeds. One can also sit down and listen to Seed Stories on headphones. SeedBroadcast is actively using this space as an ongoing recording studio through the rest of the exhibition to record Seed Stories from all participating artists and local residents.

We are encouraging local folks in Santa Fe to bring open-pollinated seeds to SWAP and pick up seeds to take home and grow. Seeds can be dropped off at SWAP, deposited in one of the many envelopes and jars, and labeled with the seed name. You might even want to add a little Seed Story into the jar so your seeds will have relations to share with whoever takes them home. When picking up seed, take only what you can use and be sure to leave plenty for others. There are empty packets to transfer your seed into.

The table and bulletin board are set up for drawing Seed Stories and posting these along with community Seed information on the tack board. SeedBroadcast agri-Culture Journals are also available for your seedy reading pleasure.

So far thousands of seeds have made their way into the Roundhouse and New Mexico’s political center to take a seat and wield their perfect power of nourishment, wisdom, and generosity. As many will agree, these characteristics are really the roots of radical action today. Seeds are our guides, teaching us how to save seeds, grow food, support healthy community, and share this wealth with others.

Thanks go out to all the seed keepers who brought seeds to share for the opening reception and who continue to bring seeds to be included in SWAP for the duration of the exhibition. We hope this project will encourage Santa Fe to organize a year round seed swap, seed library, or whatever might yet be imagined to share seed.

Here are some Seed Stories recorded at SWAP... with more to come!

Bobbe Besold shares her Seed Story at the Ecozoic Era: plant|seed|soil art exhibition

Marion Wasserman tells a Seed Story about life long relationships with seed

Exhibition detail

We would also like to honor the incredible work in the exhibition encompassing both human and the more-than-human love of land, plant, seed, soil, compost, and more. Here is a list of all the artists involved. And as many of these artists point out on their wall labels, there are many more project partners who made all this work possible, both human and other.

Margaret Bagshaw
Bobbe Besold
Matthew Chase-Daniel
Helen Hardin
Jeanette Hart-Mann
Basia Irland
Courtney M Leonard
Jade Leyva
Amy Lin
Sarah Molina
Sabra Moore
Larry Ogan
Ruben Olguin
Chrissie Orr
Halley Roberts
Ahní Rocheleau
Gabriela Silva
Penny Spring
Nancy Sutor
Rulan Tangen
Pablita Velarde
Marion Wasserman
Jerry Wellman
Rick Yoshimoto

Bobbe Besold is not only an artist in the show, she is also the curator and organizer. The exhibition’s title The Ecozoic Era: plant|seed|soil is informed by the following statement:

“Ecozoic: “eco-“ is derived from the Greek work “oikos” meaning house, household, or home, and “-zoic” from the Greek word “zoikos” meaning pertaining to living beings. The House of Livings Beings. We are all, all of us, living in the same house.”

“This biological term was created by the philosopher, geologian, Earth scholar, Thomas Berry.”

Bobbe Besold, Seed Blocks: for building or for gambling

Jade Leyva, Maíz Azúl

Exhibition detail

Penny Spring, Seeds, Stems, Roots and Shoots, fabric collage

Gabriela Silva, Growing Paper
New Mexico True Blue Corn
New Mexico True Pink Corn
New Mexico Black Beans
New Mexico Pinto Beans
New Mexico Snow Peas
The Three Sisters
handmade paper and seeds
Exhibition detail

Sabra Moore, H/EAR//HER/E

The Ecozoic Era: plant|seed|soil exhibition was sponsored by El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe, The NM Capital Art Foundation, the McCune Foundation and dRoberts Realty.