OPEN SESAME: The Story of Seeds – movie comes to Taos on June 14th!

Open Sesame Kit Carson June14th7PM

 

This awesome documentary comes to Taos for a one-time screening, at Kit Carson’s Board Room: click on the link above to see the flier, or read below. Also, you may visit: http://www.opensesamemovie.com/

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Open Sesame: The Story of Seeds – one time screening!

At Kit Carson Board Room 118 Cruz Alta Road , June 14th 7:00 PM

Donations welcome!

Taos, New MexicoOpen Sesame – The Story of Seeds is a feature length documentary about a tiny part of the food chain with a big impact: SEEDS. Directed by award-winning filmmaker Sean Kaminsky, the film looks at the exceptional challenges that face seeds and our food supply.

According to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN), approximately 90 percent of the fruit and vegetable varieties that existed 100 years ago are gone. Heritage grain is near extinction. Meanwhile, GMO crops threaten traditional varieties via cross-contamination and patents prevent small farmers from breeding new varieties. Yet seed diversity is essential to provide food for a growing population in a changing climate.

Most people unless they garden or farm aren’t aware of the risks facing our seed supply and kitchens. This film seeks to change that by empowering people to take seeds back into their own hands in ways both small and large. After visiting Seed School at Native Seeds/SEARCH, Kaminsky decided to begin his own small seed company. “I came to Seed School to make a movie, I left wanting to start my own seed company”, the New York based filmmaker explains.

The one night only Taos screening will feature a Q&A via Skype with movie director, and local seed experts. We hope to see you there!

Contact Marleny Alfaro: moragrows@gmail.com or (575)776-3183

Notable Subjects: (these folks are easy to Google for more info)

Emigdio Ballon (Four Bridges, New Mexico)

Micaela Colley (Organic Seed Alliance, Washington State)

Matthew Dillon (Seed Matters)

Charles Eisenstein (Author of ‘Sacred Economics’)

Jim Gerritson (Organic Seed Growers Trade Alliance, Plaintiff ‘OSGATA v Monsanto’)

Jere Gettle (Baker Creek Seeds)

John Glavis (BoTierra Biodiversity Farm, California)

Ken Greene & Doug Muller (Hudson Valley Seed Library, New York)

Jeanette Hart-Mann (Seed Broadcast, New Mexico)

Eric Herm (Author ‘Son of a Farmer’ Texas)

Frederick Kaufman (Author ‘Bet the Farm’, New York)

Josh Kilmer-Purcell (Star of ‘The Fabulous Beekman Boys”, New York)

Jack Kloppenberg (Open Source Seed Initiative, Wisconsin)

Tabitha Langel (Tall Grass Prairie – Canada)

Pamm Larry (LabelGMOs.org)

CR Lawn (Founder, Fedco Seeds)

Sophia Maravell (Brickyard Educational Farm, Maryland)

Nick Maravell (Nick’s Organic Farm, Maryland)

Bill McDorman (The Rocky Mountain Seed Project/Seed School)

Frank Morton (Wild Garden Seed, Oregon)

Gary Nabhan (Acclaimed author, Arizona)

John Navazio (Organic Seed Alliance, Washington State)

Chrissie Orr (Seed Broadcast, New Mexico)

Diane Ott Whealy (Seed Savers Exchange. Iowa)

Lorrin Pang (Hawaii)

Nancy Redfeather (Kohala Center, Hawaii)

Walter Ritte (Hawaiian Activist)

Eli Rogosa (Heritage Grain Conservancy, Massachusetts)

Percy Schmesier (Saskatchewan farmer who sued Monsanto)

Vandana Shiva (Navdanya)

Jeffrey Smith (Institute for Responsible Technology)

Madhavi Sunder (Author ‘From Goods to a Good Life: Intellectual Property and Global Justice’)

Ira Wallace (Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Virginia)

Rowen White (Sierra Seed Cooperative, California)

William Woys Weaver (Acclaimed Food Author)

Rachel & Dave Zuckerman (Full Moon Farm, Plaintiffs ‘OSGATA v. Monsanto’, Vermont)

 

 

El Dia de San Isidro

El dia de San Isidro

Please click on El Dia de San Isidro link above to find out more about our whole day of celebration, and events, on May 15th, in Mora County. You may read the story of St. Isidore, patron saint of farmers, below this post.

Some of the topics will cover beekeeping, intro to Keyline Design: restoring soil health in broad scale farms by increasing your soil’s natural absorptive abilities, while deepening root growth, and slowing down water flow. Olla irrigation, including a live demonstration of olla-making, and possibly ollas for sale. If you are not familiar with ollas, read this blurb and watch the video below:

An OLLA is an unglazed clay pot fired at a low temperature. This allows the pot to remain porous. The OLLA is buried in the ground with neck exposed and periodically filled with water. The water seeps into the soil at a rate that provides adjacent plants with a constant water source at the roots.

The olla method is an ancient technique of low tech, low cost irrigation used in various environments around the world. Clay pot or OLLA irrigation has been the subject of university research documenting the highly efficient use of water and increased plant yields.

OLLAS can be utilized for vegetable, landscape, and container gardening. OLLAS are especially useful in arid climates but can be used any time a steady and efficient water source is needed. Once in place, the OLLAS will typically require refilling a couple times per week depending on soil and weather. Using OLLAS, leaves the soil surface dry resulting in fewer weeds and no soil compaction, a significant drawback of surface watering.

 Chicken fertility, value added products, intro to small scale vineyards, the importance of a healthy watershed, and much more will make for a day of learning and fun.

Contact Roger, the master mind behind the event, at: rogeragonzales@yahoo.com

We hope to see you there!

 

St. Isidore
(the patron saint of farmers)   
Saint Isidore (San Isidro)

Saint Isidore (San Isidro)

 

St. Isidore was a simple man of the earth, who attended daily Mass and demonstrated love of people and animals by his many acts of kindness and mercy. Below is a short history of St. Isidore and his wife, St. Maria. His story has been provided by several sources cited at the bottom of the page.

St. Isidore was born around 1070 near Madrid, Spain, into a peasant family. He was baptized Isidore in honor of the famous archbishop of Seville. His biography was written about 150 years after his death. Much of it deals with miracles associated with his name. He made God and practicing virtue a part of his workday. St. Isidore the farmer, as he is sometimes called, is remembered to this day.

He was a day laborer in the service of Juan de Vargas on a farm in the vicinity of Madrid. Every morning before going to work he used to attend Mass at one of the churches in Madrid. Everything was going fine for Isidore until one day his fellow-laborers complained to their boss that he was always late for work in the morning because he attended early morning Mass each day. When charged with his offense, he did not deny it and explained to his employer: “Sir, it may be true that I am later at my work than some of the other laborers, but I do my utmost to make up for the few minutes snatched for prayer; I pray you compare my work with theirs, and if you find I have defrauded you in the least, gladly will I make amends by paying you out of my private store.” His employer said nothing, but remained suspicious, and, being determined to find out the truth, rose one morning at daybreak and concealed himself outside the church. In due course, Isidore appeared and entered the building, and afterwards, when the service was over, went to his work. Still following him, his employer saw him take the plough into a field, and was about to confront him when, in the pale, misty light of dawn, he saw, as he thought, a second plough drawn by white oxen moving up and down the furrows. Greatly astonished, he ran towards it, but even as he ran it disappeared and he saw only Isidore and his single-plow. When he spoke to Isidore and enquired about the second plough he had seen, Isidore replied in surprise: “Sir, I work alone and know of none save God to whom I look for strength.” Thus the story grew that so great was his sanctity that the angels helped him even in his plowing. It was characteristic of Isidore’s entire life. Isidore is also said to have brought back to life the deceased daughter of his master and to have caused a fountain of fresh water to burst from the dry earth in order to quench the thirst of his master.

In such simple tales we find reflected the spirit of Saint Isidore, who never ruled a diocese or was martyred for his faith, but who truly served God in the fields. He was a simple plowman. His speech was clear and direct. His conduct was honest, and his faith pure and steadfast. He shared what he had, even his meals, with the poor. He often gave them more than he had for himself, with a good and generous heart, and with such sympathy and good will that his gifts seemed doubly blessed. He could not neglect doing a kindness to man or beast. One snowy day, when going to the mill with corn to be ground, he passed a flock of wood-pigeons scratching vainly for food on the hard surface of the frosty ground. Taking pity on the poor animals, he poured half of his sack of precious corn upon the ground for the birds, despite the mocking of witnesses. When he reached the mill, however, the bag was full, and the corn, when it was ground, produced double the expected amount of flour.

Isidore married Maria Torribia, who is also a canonized saint and is venerated in Spain as Maria de la Cabeza. This veneration stems from the fact that her head (Spanish, cabeza) is often carried in procession especially in time of drought. She was a devout person. She helped the poor and sometimes shared her meals with them. The couple had one child, a son. One must not get the impression that Isidore and his wife had no sufferings. They knew tragedy. On one occasion their son fell into a deep well. The parents, having no way of reaching him, prayed and the water of the well rose miraculously to the level of the ground, bringing the boy up alive and well. In thanksgiving for this intervention of God on their son’s behalf both husband and wife made a vow of continence and to serve God. They lived in separate houses. Later in their life their only son died in his youth.

Isidore died in 1130. Forty years after Isidore’s death, his body was transferred from the cemetery to the church of St. Andrew. He is said to have appeared to Alfonso of Castile, and to have shown him the hidden path by which he surprised the Moors and gained the victory of Las Nevas de Tolosa, in 1212. When King Philip III of Spain was cured of a deadly disease by touching the relics of the saint, the king replaced the old reliquary by a costly silver one. He was canonized by Gregory XV, along with Sts. Ignatius, Francis Xavier, Teresa, and Philip Neri, on 12 March, 1622. St. Isidore is widely venerated as the patron of peasants and day-labourers. The cities of Madrid, Leon, Saragossa, and Seville also, honour him as their patron. His feast is celebrated on 15 May. His saintly wife survived Isidore for several years.

Saint Isidore’s feast is celebrated in Madrid, Spain, with ringing church bells and streets decorated for a procession in his honor. In art, Saint Isidore is portrayed as a peasant holding a sickle and a sheaf of corn. He might also be shown (1) with a sickle and staff, (2) as an angel plows for him, (3) giving a rosary to children by a well, mattock on his feet, water springing from the well, (4) striking water from dry earth with an angel plowing in the background, (5) before a cross, or (6) with an angel and white oxen near him. In Spanish art his emblems are a spade or a plough (Tabor). He is the patron of Madrid, Spain, farmers and farm laborers, and the U.S. National Catholic Rural Life Conference.

St. Isidore and his wife are examples for us today of a married couple that sanctified their daily duties. May they intercede for us to do likewise.
San Isidro and wife, Maria

San Isidro and wife, Maria

Mora Seed Swap. SEEDS-The Local Revolution.

Here is a repost of the Seedbroadcast folks’ account of the seed exchange, and beginner seed saving class. I could not have said it better myself!

Please consider attending the premiere of Open Sesame: The Story of Seeds movie:http://www.meetup.com/New-Mexico-Conscious-Movies/events/171013372/  Our own seed library is featured!

 I appear dead before I am alive

Although often quite small, inside my skin a tree can live
I can survive hundreds of years without food or water
I can be as small as dust or as large as a foot ball
Humans and animals eat me
I can fly, swim and hitch a ride
I can survive freezing, fires and intense droughts.
                                                                                                                 What am I?
High Elevation Corn donated by Bevan Williams, of Rocky Mountain Seed Source

High Elevation Corn donated by Bevan Williams, of Rocky Mountain Seed Source

The 2nd Annual Seed Swap and Gathering was held on April 6th, 2014, at the St Gertrude Parish Hall in the center of the small but vibrant village of Mora, New Mexico.  It was one of those spring days with flurries of snow and cold winds but the local community brought a warmth and resilience into their gathering place by the sharing of precious seeds, local wisdom, food and gratitude.
community
After Sunday morning church services people slowly arrived with their carefully hand-packaged seeds, food to share and knowledge. The day was convened by Marleny Alfaro of Mora Grows Seed Library http://moragrows.wordpress.com and Rodger Gonzales of Los de Mora Local Growers’ Cooperative. Marleny is a native of the island of Cuba and has land she and her family farm in Mora. Roger is a native of Mora, is the president of Los de Mora, and is a mover and shaker in his home community.
joseph
Marleny and Roger lead an opening to evoke into the room each of the 50 or so community voices.  We heard from bee keepers, cattle growers, community members wanting to learn a new sustainable way to live their lives, a young couple from Cleveland, who have started a small company to promote healthy living in their village, from Casa de Cultura http://www.casadeculturalvnm.org/ about anupcoming Las Vegas Seed Exchange, from Small Family Farm and about new food growing initiatives for Mora County.
The Mora County watershed includes forested uplands, pasture lands and lowland valleys with a high water table that have been utilized for traditional agricultural practices. So this highlands valley has a history of growing and was at one time in the early1900′s known as “the bread basket of New Mexico” for its unique variety of wheat.  The present day community came together to sit with this historical knowledge and looked to the future of contemporary growing practices with a collaborative vision.
nick
Throughout the day there were discussions, informative workshops on the importance of bee keeping, seed-saving, soil conservation, use of hand tools, permaculture and encouragement to support the re-emergence of a local economically viable growing community. The Mobile Seed Story Broadcasting Station was parked outside the parish hall and became the educational attraction for the younger participants.
kidwala
marleny
Marleny opened her presentation on seed-saving with a loud and clear voice,  “Seed-saving is one of the most important things we can do. To encourage a new economy we must think from a seeds perspective.”The Mora County Community is surely doing this by looking towards each other to learn, to collaborate and to share. They are holding the seed of their dreams and listening. They are making waves and taking action. They are forming cooperatives, they are planning a new main street, successfully fighting fracking and they are making a difference.

We can all learn from this unique New Mexican Community. To listen to unique seed stories, please visit: http://seedbroadcast.blogspot.com/2014/04/seeds-local-revolution-mora-seed-swap.html

The Mora Grows Seed Library Schedules its First Seed-saving Class!

New-Seeds

The Mora Grows Seed Library is now scheduling seed saving classes for 2014: seeds rock!

Beginning Seed Saving:

Story of seeds
Germinating seeds
Selecting seeds
Processing seeds
Keeping seeds
Avoiding cross-pollination
Modern threats to seeds
Seed saving as a business: seed-saving cooperatives

We will also be hosting our annual seed swap on this day: it will be ongoing throughout the day. Bring your best seeds and info(dates, place, growing requirements, etc.), seed tips. Show your wares, and share your homemade salsas, jams, jellies. Connect with others and learn from each other. This will be a potluck! The http://seedbroadcast.org/     folks will be here again, supporting our work, and recording your seed stories!

Marianna Lands and Nicholas Morrow have a presentation for us where they  will be sharing tips and techniques for growing food and saving seed at high elevations. They have been growing food and saving seeds for many years in their Cleveland farm, in spite of our short growing season. We are fortunate to have this skill level within our own community.

We will also have a presentation from a member of the Albuquerque Beekeepers: http://abqbeeks.org/ , Raymond Espinoza. He would be helping us imagine successful gardens that attract pollinators by offering observations derived from his experience, as well as his understanding of Langstroth and Topbar beehives. An update on the state of bees and what we can do for them included. He will also be sharing with us the many uses of honey: yum! We are delighted that this is coming to pass, as keeping bees guarantees a bountiful harvest. Raymond is a Mora native, although he has spent the greatest part of his life in Albuquerque. Welcome home, Ray!

Some permaculture tips will be shared at this event: Nalina Uehlein, owner of http://circleoflifeseeds.com/  will be sharing with us how to deal with perennial seeds. She lives in Guadalupita and we are excited to hear what she has to say, as she has just returned from a workshop with one of the great permaculture teachers of the world: Sepp Holzer.

We will be watching the trailer for the movie Open Sesame: The Story of Seeds, by Sean Kaminsky, which will air on Tuesday, April 22nd, at the De Vargas Mall Cinema 6, in Santa Fe, located at 562 N Guadalupe. If you can support this showing, please do so here: http://gathr.us/screening/7599  We need to find 82 more movie-watchers in order for the showing to go through. Our own seed library in Mora is featured on this film. Please visit Sean’s page and encourage him: http://www.opensesamemovie.com/

We are trying to pack this event with relevant info – come ready to take it all in. You’ll have 15 seconds to introduce yourself, your project or dreams: bring business cards, or brochures with any information you are trying to get out there. This is more than a seed-saving event: it is a way to re-connect global community members. We all want to know what you have been up to and how we can support you!

When: Sunday, April 6th

Seed swap: 12:00 – 1:30 pm  Ongoing potluck  starts at noon- bring a dish! Bring your own china and utensils, please. We are aiming for zero trash – a lofty goal, we know!
Seed saving class: 1:30 am – 5:30 pm
Tea provided: bring a mug!

Where: St. Gertrude’s Parish Hall - Junction of Hwy 518 & Hwy 434, in Mora County, NM

What to bring for class:
-2 wide-mouth glass jars with lids, 1 plastic 1-gallon jug, neck cut off.
-A sense of humor!

How much:

A donation of $10 is welcome: money will go to printing expenses, fresh vegetables for seed-saving practice, and seed packets for library.

Write to moragrows@gmail.com, or call Marleny at (575)758-1782 to register- April 2nd last day. See you there!

“Seeds have the power to preserve species, to enhance cultural as well as genetic diversity, to counter economic monopoly and to check the advance of conformity on all its many fronts.” 
― Michael PollanSecond Nature: A Gardener’s Education

Plants Will Not Grow Near a Wi-Fi Router

Student science experiment finds plants won’t grow near Wi-Fi router: Teens involved in plants and cellphone experiment, Hjallerup Skole

Team_Karse_til_dr-dk

Ninth-graders design science experiment to test the effect of cellphone radiation on plants. The results may surprise you.

Cress Collage
Photo courtesy of Kim Horsevad, teacher at Hjallerup Skole in Denmark.
Five ninth-grade young women from Denmark recently created a science experiment that is causing a stir in the scientific community.

It started with an observation and a question. The girls noticed that if they slept with their mobile phones near their heads at night, they often had difficulty concentrating at school the next day. They wanted to test the effect of a cellphone’s radiation on humans, but their school, Hjallerup School in Denmark, did not have the equipment to handle such an experiment. So the girls designed an experiment that would test the effect of cellphone radiation on a plant instead.

The students placed six trays filled with Lepidium sativum, a type of garden cress, into a room without radiation, and six trays of the seeds into another room next to two routers that according to the girls’ calculations, emitted about the same type of radiation as an ordinary cellphone.

Over the next 12 days, the girls observed, measured, weighed and photographed their results. By the end of the experiment the results were blatantly obvious — the cress seeds placed near the router had not grown. Many of them were completely dead. Meanwhile, the cress seeds planted in the other room, away from the routers, thrived.

The experiment earned the girls  top honors in a regional science competition and the interest of scientists around the world.

According to Kim Horsevad, a teacher at Hjallerup Skole in Denmark where the cress experiment took place, a neuroscience professor at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, is interested in repeating the experiment in a controlled professional scientific environment.

Mora Grows Seed Library is open!

As we arrived at the Mora Valley Spinning Mill, many others were pouring from their cars, ready to help set up tables, organize seeds into categories, keep the fire going, and display the food. The SeedBroadcast Station crew and their retrofitted bread van were already there! Some came from Las Vegas, others from Taos, Anton Chico, and Santa Fe.

Many came and went through the day, yet the feelings of warmth and excitement lingered in the air. We learned ancient, forgotten planting techniques, we listened to each other’s intentions and dreams for the world, we shared food and hot herbal tea from La Sierra Farm: their home-canned goods were a total success! We had a couple of prizes to give away. Barry Doucette, from Taos, took questions about permaculture, and Nalina shared about her new organic and heirloom seed company: http://circleoflifeorganicseeds.com/ She talked to us about the importance of the anti-fracking movement for farmers, and gardeners. There was a feeling of playfulness, and human warmth that we did not anticipate.

Unfortunately, the movie was not shown due to a lack of a sound system. We will schedule a time for this showing in the future. We are committed to spreading the news about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and the ravages associated with such foods.

Everyone left with pockets and bags filled with seeds, some local, many organic, quite a few were heirloom varieties. Many are writing, expressing their gratitude, telling us that they felt rejuvenated, and honored to be a part of such a wonderful group of individuals.

Ruth Fort came and she took some photos of the event: she has written an article for The Optic that will be published this week! Thank you, Ruth! Make sure to look at the SeedBroadcast website, for they will have your interviews and seed stories up very soon! http://seedbroadcast.org/ Thank you, SeedBroadcast! We are very grateful to everyone for showing up, for your support. We are also grateful for the Mora Valley Spinning Mill and Tapetes de Lana’s willingness to host our seed library.

We are planning a “start swap” in four weeks from now: keep an eye out for fliers around town, and e-mails will be sent out. There will be another seed swap at the Sangre de Cristo Livestock and Garden Growers Association, on the 13th of April, at the Mora Independent Schools administration building. The meeting begins at 10 am, and there is always good food afterwards – potluck style.

Upon Marleny’s return from Seed Saving School, April 7-12th, we will schedule seed saving classes. Make sure to send us an e-mail if you are interested: moragrows@gmail.com.

As we were getting ready to leave, an employee from the Mora Valley Ranch Supply store came with hundreds of packets of seeds – a loving donation that is already being put to good use. Thank you Mora Valley Ranch Supply!

Grow your plants, save some seed: at the end of the season we could have a celebration and return seeds to the library, or you could just return them to our box at Tapetes when you are in town. Ideally, we would return twice as many as we borrowed: this would make our library into a rather plump one! Any excess seeds we could donate to sister seed libraries, or help other towns start their own. The Mora Valley, with its fertile earth, and clean water, deserves to become the seed production capital of the Southwest. This is one way to create heaven on earth!

Spring is around the corner!