Saturday, April 27, 2019

Keeping The Seeds Alive

I have this quote from Martin Prechtel as a footer on my emails. It is from his book "An Uneasy 
Peace at Cuchumaquic," an amazing book which took me about a year to read. I kept fighting
with his reality when it didn't conform with mine. In the end, surrendered to what he 
was saying and I believe this message is the most important, and eye opening, message 
from the book: 

This is what is at the core of keeping the seeds alive and 
must be done physically for years to comprehend and make 
happen. It cannot be thought into reality; it can only be done 
with work. And because “seed” culture has been discarded 
from the “progress” -oriented  world, keeping this kind of seed 
consciousness alive in one's life can look somewhat like 
planting olive trees in an active warzone, a psychological war 
going on within ourselves, where like olives that don't bear for 
a long while we must nevertheless continue to cultivate with 
the faith of seeds that we are actually planting for a time 
beyond our own.  
– Martín Prechtel, An Uneasy Peace at Cuchumaquic

These last few years, with so much divisiveness in our public lives, without a common 
discourse from the Left and the Right, affirms Prechtel's words, that "we must nevertheless 
continue with the faith of seeds." 

The concept that we we are planting seeds not for us, but for future generations can be an 
intellectual exercise, but Prechtel, is concise when he says we must do the "work" of saving
seed, over and over and over again until we can know what "saving seed" means. Our little 
work in our little seed library is dwarfed by this understanding. 

It is very important that we do this. We will know we are making progress when we can hold
a seed in our hands and think of future generations, in that time beyond our own," blessed 
with the nutrition and flavors that we refused to let die.


Sunday, April 21, 2019

A Look At The History Of The Seed Library of Los Angeles

For the sake of history, here is the initial request for folks to come out and start the Seed Library of Los Angeles. More to come!!
November 29, 2010
From: David King,
To those addressed:
This informal mailer is being sent to folks who have expressed interest in starting a seed library. This is not a mailing list, although we will hope to have one soon. If you are a list keeper, please circulate to anyone on your list you feel would love to be a decision maker in forming a vibrant and viable seed library for the citizens of Los Angeles.
Our first planning meeting will take place at The Learning Garden of Venice High School, December 4th at 2:30 PM (until about 4:00 PM) - dress warmly although we hope to be inside, all of our buildings are poorly heated!
***If you have thoughts about what should be addressed, please send them to me ASAP for consideration.****
This is a foundational meeting to lead us to an ideal seed library. What is your vision of a seed library? Do we charge for membership? We will be a not for profit under the umbrella of The Learning Garden - or do we want to be our own organization just located at The Learning Garden? Or do we have a better place to be? What items need to be a part of our database? What do we do when someone fails to return seed? We can start where we are and change things as we go... But help us get started!
What is a seed library?
A seed library is a depository of seeds for the members of that library. Members come to the library and borrow seed for their garden. They grow the plants in their garden and at the end of the season, they leave a plant or two to 'go to seed.' From those plants, they collect seeds and return the same amount of seed (or more) as they borrowed at the beginning of the growing season. No cost for seeds.
What are some of the benefits of a seed library?
1. Seed can be kept fresh by many people growing it out rather than one person who could not grow out a large variety of seeds every year.
2. Over time the plants will change slightly in response to our local climate and soil and gradually through generations will become better seeds for our area.
3. You cannot collect seeds from hybrids or Genetically Modified Organisms because they won't come true to type thus insuring a food supply that is reproducible and uncontaminated with unproved technology and is independent on non-local inputs.
4. Participants in a seed bank become more attuned to and in tune with the natural cycle of the earth and find relief from the regimentation of an industrial society that has no respect for ebb and flow of a natural life that is cyclical and not linear. We protect our seed supply from intervention from Monsanto and other large corporations who wish to control most of our food supply and we cooperate with nature in carrying on valuable genetic material for future generations. We become engaged in the full-cycle of gardening and life.
Our Seed Library of Los Angeles (SLOLA) wish list includes:
1. a computer capable of running something like Windows XP (we have a keyboard and monitor attached to a W2K computer). Breaking news: We have been donated a Netbook computer that will serve all our needs!
2. license to a viable database program - I have been using the free Open Office Base to create a database prototype, but I'm no database person and I have no idea if this is flexible and powerful enough to handle all our needs. Much gratitude to Sarah Spitz for making this happen!
3. some kind of storage cabinet (actually several) or shelving (The Learning Garden is going to provide us with our first shelves.)
4. coin envelopes
5. some one with some database experience to help set up the database
6. Volunteers to give a Saturday afternoon a month to put all of this in place.
Seeds aren't going to be a problem, The Learning Garden will supply us with many, and we will have access to many more. Our initial collections will include vegetables, California Native plants and healing herbs from several different healing traditions (Chinese, Ayurvedic, Native American and Homeopathic).
This is a very unique and exciting opportunity for our community moving it towards genuine resiliency and durability. We will need volunteers and we would like to have you!
About this website
What is a seed library? A seed library is a depository of seeds held in trust for the members of that library. Members come to the libr...