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:  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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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:

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


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     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: , 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  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:  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:

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, 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