We learned so much talking with Joy Wang during our interview for her New York Times article. One of the most important things I got out of her visit was thinking about who else in the country cares about seeds the way we do. Each time Joy and I talked I thought of a new regional seed saver or organization in California, Arizona, Georgia, or elsewhere, to refer her to. I realized that there is the potential for a network of seed saving groups to share our seeds, knowledge, and work together to change the way we treat and think about seeds as farmers and gardeners. I'm inviting some of these folks to write seedy guest posts. Here's the first one. It's from Bill McDorman who has been teaching gardeners to save seeds for over 25 years. He is president of Seeds Trust and founder of Seed School, a regional (South West) 8-day intensive that is "Teaching Gardeners to Think Seeds First." Thanks Bill!
Imagine this… One thousand years in the future, humanity will have stabilized its impact on the planet in relation to its ecology. Each concentration of humans will depend largely upon the food grown and gathered within walking distance. Gardens of Eden will be integrated into the very structure and design of modern life. Polycultural, perennial food forests if you will. Better, fresh, tasty, nutritious and life-sustaining food. Primary to this garden-centric life will be the art of selecting and saving seeds. Diversity will be the goal. A strong food ecosystem. White-haired masters will pass on the secrets and science of this ancient art. Annual and biennial vegetable and herb crops will be managed for their long-term adaptation to each specific ecosystem. Genetically-diverse disease resistance will be slowly cultivated. The true wealth of any human settlement will be its treasure chest of seeds. It will represent centuries of careful interaction between gardener and ground, the invisible genetic cloud of energy wedged carefully and perfectly between mouth and environment. The industrial storm is passing. Rays of understanding are starting to shine. Regional cultures are gathering again to heal and inspire each other. We are no longer machine people. Local seed exchanges and seed libraries are thriving.
Seed School is a ticket to the future. Leave your padded cells and processed foods. Join our circle and learn about one of the most important paths to true sustainability, seeds. Seed School students learn details about the state of seeds in the world now. They gain a basic understanding of the craft of growing, saving, processing and storing seeds. They will know of the life and works of the simple monk, Gregor Mendel and gain a general understanding of Mendelian genetics. They will have faced the challenge of thinking deeply about their role in helping to conserve and engender our disappearing genetic treasure in this critical transition time. At Seed School, we study hard, eat fresh organic food, dance and sing. Most of all, we connect. We connect to ourselves, to the garden, to the seeds and more importantly to our responsibility. Each school is unique. Each is a convergence of important teachers. Each will be shaped by your own passion as it emerges.