For some reason it seems particularly appropriate to me to be talking about seed saving and cultivating community as an idea as well as an entity on the weekend of the Winter Solstice. The winter solstice marks the return of light, the lengthening of days, the point in our annual journey where we being to work toward the next growing season instead of away from it. Seeds and community speak to me of a similar hope, of the future, of the life-affirming cycles of ebb and flow, dormancy and expansion.
This weekend, we hear from Katrina Djeberov, Workshop Coordinator and publicist for Cultivating Community North Valley. Cultivating Community is a project focusing on building education and capacity in the local food system and working to encourage the learning about and growing of good food, locally and on small, home garden and community scales with a long-term goal of improving health in the North Valley. At the end of January 2014, in partnership with one of our local seed breeders, Kalan Redwood of Redwood Seeds, CCNV will kick off a 6-part seed-saving series for cool and warm season edibles in the home-scale garden.
According to the Cultivating Community website, the initiative is “a multifaceted project supported by a 2011 California Department of Food and Agriculture Specialty Crop Grant and awarded to CSUC Research Foundation. The project aims to increase food security by serving the Specialty Crop food economy and system needs of low-income residents, local growers, and service agencies.” Photo: Re-sourced signage at the Bidwell Community Garden, supported in part by Cultivating Community and its partnering organizations.
After more than two years of workshops held toward these goals, the 6-part seed-saving series is the culminating event for the final 6 months of CCNV’s grant funding.
Why? Well, as Katrina explains, to focus on seeds and how to grow for them and save them in order to grow more or share with others is to take part as a producer in the food chain sustainably and potentially in perpetuity. “Teach a person to save seed and feed them for life,” she pointed out.
CCNV’s final focus is multi-branched and includes wanting to really “highlight and bring forth the Chico Community Garden Network, the abundance of our regional gardening resources, and to provide the conceptual framework and methodology to the public for seed saving! In this way, we will use our final season to guide people through the entire process of how to start a garden with seed saving in mind, including some greenhouse skills, seeding, transplanting, and saving seeds from cool and warm season crops for this coming growing season.”
“Through this hands-on experiential learning, we will provide skills and knowledge that can be shared and built upon. This garden network can only grow from here!”
Another aspect of CCNV’s final focus is to “support and grow awareness too of the Chico Seed Lending Library, which opened in October 2013. The CSLL is co-organized and managed by Stephanie Ladwig-Cooper, of the Chico Permaculture Guild, and co-owner of Gaia Creations, a permaculture landscaping business. It’s a library of seeds. It’s free. Anyone can donate seeds, and anyone can take seeds. The catch is if you “check out” seeds, you “return” the seeds from the plants which you grew out from the seeds you borrowed. It’s so cool and one of the most political and powerful things anyone can do! Chico is so lucky to have such an amazing resource, and it is accessible by everyone!”
The seed-saving series begins on January 25th and ends on August 2nd. People can sign up for individual classes or they can register for the whole series on-line now at Cultivatingcommunitynv.org.While priority will be given to low-income-eligible participants, there is plenty of room for all. The series will include two seeding, two transplanting and two harvesting workshops for each season – warm or cold. Classes will be held at the Grub Greenhouse on Dayton Road or they will be held at the Chico Grange. Each class will include both informational aspects with take-home resources as well as hands-on elements in order to get a strong feel for the tasks being learned.
PHOTO: Kalan Redwood in a greenhouse at Redwood Seeds’ home farm near Manton.
Seed Saving Series 1 of 6: Seeding Cool Season Crops
January 25, 2014
Seed Saving Series 2 of 6: Transplanting Cool Season Crops
February 22, 2014
Seed Saving Series 3 of 6: Seeding Warm Season Crops
March 22, 2014
Seed Saving Series 4 of 6: Transplanting Warm Season Crops
April 26, 2014
Seed Saving Series 5 of 6: Harvesting & Winnowing Cool Season Crops
June 28, 2014
Seed Saving Series 6 of 6: Harvesting & Water Processing Warm Season Crops
August 2, 2014
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In a North State Garden is a weekly Northstate Public Radio and web-based program celebrating the art, craft and science of home gardening in Northern California and made possible in part by the Gateway Science Museum – Exploring the Natural History of the North State and on the campus of CSU, Chico. In a North State Garden is conceived, written, photographed and hosted by Jennifer Jewell – all rights reserved jewellgarden.com. In a North State Garden airs on Northstate Public Radio Saturday mornings at 7:34 AM Pacific time and Sunday morning at 8:34 AM Pacific time.