I think I have to start this Yak by stating that today was the best day I have had in a very long time. The sole reason for this being that we got to visit a seed saving center called Native Seeds Search! I have been very interested in seed saving for as while now and today only furthered that interest.
It has been very cold for the past couple of days so today when we woke up and got in and out of the van (Steve) as we do everyday we were not expecting the dry 80 something degree heat that we were faced with. We were promptly greeted by our lovely guide for the day, Joel. Joel shared with us a bit about Native Seed Search and their mission to gather and redistribute native seeds from the greater southwest region. Then we did some work creating paths in the garden and putting wood chips in between plant beds. After that we got a bit of time to talk to a few of the people that work with native seed saving and got some more insight into what seed saving means in general and what it means to native people in this region.
Seeds are something that a lot of us overlook or take for granted. Seeds are the heart of so many important things we need to survive. If you think about it seeds are like snowflakes. Meaning that every single seed is a tiny bit different than its predecessor. Seeds also hold significant cultural importance. They are used in ceremony and celebrations all around the world and mean different things to each culture they enter. Seed saving to me is like being able to hold onto all of these little pieces of the past and they let us see how, as the world changes and evolves, so do the seeds that grow out of it .
The cool thing about native seed search is the fact that they redistribute these seeds along with storing them to preserve their original biology. Native seed search encourages the farmers that receive their seeds to start saving seeds of their own and give seeds to friends to increase biodiversity and make farming better for overlooked farmers. Agricultural regeneration and sustainable agriculture in general has a tendency to overlook the achievements of farmers and sustainable growers who are people of color. Native people used practices of permaculture and seed saving long before Eurocentric farming was brought to the Americas. Actually Eurocentric farming is part of the reason that the land needs to be regenerated. We live in a culture where mass farming means planting the same crop over and over again until all of the nutrients in that soil are sucked dry or until we have to use artificial nutrients to keep the soil viable to plant in. Regenerative agriculture is essentially the practice of removing the damage done to the land and it is propagated by white men. Today more than ever, I have come to understand that marginalization is not only in obvious settings and familiar systems, it is also ingrained in the way that we do everything and that even the language of food and growth can be tainted with this erasure that people of color feel in all aspects of life.
Anyways, that was kind of a tangent but we learned a lot about seeds and how to treat the land and be good stewards. Quick shout out to Eli and Ceelie for listening to me rant about seeds for most of today. Also Jesse has been trying to cook these beans we got for like two days and its just not working out for him. On to our next adventure!