I have worked in the nonprofit world for the last ten years. I used to joke about first coming to The Learning Garden and finding out it was non-profit. I would quip, "Well then, I'm your man, I've never made a profit in my life!"
The Learning Garden has had several donors and we've been awarded a some wonderful grants that have helped us to meet our payroll and our expenses. It hasn't always been easy - there have been months that have been quite scary, but we've somehow always pulled through.
We all have to make decisions about where to put our money. I listen to public radio and I even listen through the pledge drives. Sometimes I have been able to donate, often times not. But for over ten years, I have made annual donations to two organizations for some time and I am adding a third.
I have paid for membership in Seed Savers Exchange for longer than I can remember. I used to say 'ten years' in an off-handed manner, until I realized I've been a member since sometime back in the mid-1990's. SSE has been doing seed saving work from the 1970's, predating almost every other organization's efforts in this field. They are the grand mommy organization of all seed saving ventures and their collection is probably the best in the United States. Their farm in Iowa is like Mecca for savers of heirloom seeds; a journey to their annual summer meeting with Greg Brown performing has been on my 'bucket list' for at least seven years, when I was first introduced to Greg Brown's music and found a man I can sing along with comfortably. At $45 per year, membership in SSE is more important to me than any other optional expense.
As the Seed Library of Los Angeles was being cogitated, I found the Organic Seed Alliance in Oregon and instantly felt I had found another organization whose focus lasers in on the crises I feel we are facing in food production in this nation. These are people who are doing the work to breed the plants that will be our salvation when the industrial agriculture model breaks down. It only recently dawned on me that trials for new vegetables made in our existing plant breeding environment are not good for most of our gardens because so many of us (reading this blog) are organic growers and most of the seeds are bred in agricultural stations that are saturated with pesticides of all types and chemical fertilizer. The seeds produced in that environment are not ideal for our organic lives. It's like having a Big Mac to get the energy to grow organic salad greens - something gets lost in translation. OSA is the organization leading the effort to breed the organic vegetables that are essential for an organic life. I flip them a small amount annually. If I were richer, it would be more. It is essential work!
And now that we have the Seed Library of Los Angeles, I have been making donations right down the line - a little money, some seeds, office supplies, whatever comes up because the mission of the seed library is one of the most important issues of the Los Angeles area. We are talking about being able to feed the population of Los Angeles at some time in the near future with seeds grown in Los Angeles by a cadre of trained Los Angeles gardeners who know how to grow food in Los Angeles and how to save seeds for future harvests in Los Angeles.
Take a moment right now and join Seed Savers Exchange, surf over to Organic Seed Alliance and drop them a couple of bucks, or go online to PayPal and send a tax deductible donation to SLOLA. Make your world a better place, and this blog will return to our regularly scheduled programming in the next post... You can feel good about enjoying your food knowing someone is working on keeping the food flowing no matter what the bozo's in Washington and Monsanto do in the future.