Last week The Living Seed Company hosted Seed School in Marin 2011 featuring veteran seedsman Bill McDorman. It was a five day intensive, where we were taught the seed industry from its inception as a form of currency, to our current global state where 10 companies own 75% of the world seed stock! Since 1903, almost 96% of the commercial vegetable varieties available to to us are now extinct. We are here to change that by planting those varieties that are rare, while empowering everyone to grow their own food and most of all to save their seeds. This are beautiful times where we are being offered the opportunity to turn some of these statistics the other way, so that our children and our children’s children can see our generation as the one that regained control of our most innate daily ritual – eating.
We were honored to have Bill walk us through this new path, he is the Executive Director of Native Seeds/S.E.A.R.C.H and having founded Seeds Trust/High Altitude Gardens he holds over 30 years of experience in this industry. With a beautifully positive attitude and the wisdom of this industry he offers a light for those of us working to inspire everyone to rise up to this historically moment in our lives.
Last week the folks that attended Seed School 4, not only joined the age old tradition of seed saving, but we began to understand that the strength of our ecosystem is in our diversity. This tradition is the very thing that allowed for mankind to create and succeed in building civilizations. And it will be the very thing that will allow us to thrive and emerge from these times, once again with a diverse seed culture. We were visited by Rebecca Newburn, the brilliant shape shifter that created the Richmond Seed Lending Library in conjunction with the Richmond Public Library, they offer free seeds and education about growing and saving seeds. It is their hope that seed library patrons will return some seeds from their harvest to make the library self-sustaining.
Later in the week, we took a field trip to visit International renown permaculturist Penny Livingston at her farm at the Regenerative Design Institute, as always it is a treat to visit Penny and James in their slice of coastal paradise in Bolinas. We learned about the varieties that thrive in this foggy climate, tasting their honey, touring their natural buildings while also witnessing two of their seed gardens in full creation!
Personally, I have been unveiling the magic of seeds and participating in this course gave me the tools and the understanding to be able to ask the right questions. I will continue to formulate the tapestry of this mystery embodied in a seed.
Check out our trailer for a peek on seed school Marin!
“The greatest service which can be rendered to any country is to add a useful plant to its culture.” Thomas Jefferson