Awesome Intern Post: Seeds + Art + Friends

by Ken Greene

On Saturday morning we left the Seed Library in two vehicles, bound for New York City.  One hundred miles and four hours(!) later we arrived in only the smaller of the two vehicles, having had a van casualty along the way.  A lot can change between Ulster County and Manhattan, and we couldn't have tackled those changes without good friends (and some masterful car-packing)!  Our artist friend Ryan Cronin and Melanie Cronin came to our rescue when our borrowed van broke down on I-87; we stuffed our seeds in Ryan's SUV alongside his paintings, uniting seeds and artwork once again!

Seeds, art and friends were a main focus of our block of booths at the Festival of Ideas StreetFest.  We had a great day meeting creative city-gardeners and molding seed sculptures with the youngest among them.  Ken and Doug imparted their best advice for container gardening, May seed-sowing and the importance of a regional, resilient, non-GMO seed supply (Doug gave such a thorough explanation that a woman lost her child during the conversation… whoops!).  I'm not planting a city garden this season, but I took mental notes for my future fire-escape-greenscapes (Alison's container-gardening blog will also be a great resource).

My five weeks on the farm have already impressed the wonder of seeds in my mind (and poison-ivy has left it's itchy-impression on my body!).  Even on the farm, the art and friend aspects of our work are not lost.  The friends are sometimes more feathered (Eastern Bluebirds, Orioles, etc. making their first appearance of the season), and green and brown are the brightest colors on our palate so far.  We spend most of our time turning green swaths of quack grass into brown, soil-y beds and coaxing green sprouts from brown soil-blocks.  It takes a lot of physical work, but the scenic setting and companionship are also invaluable (and complementary) parts of this internship.

I came to the Seed Library thinking about this quote from Wendell Berry: "There is an inescapable kinship between farming and art, for farming depends as much on character, devotion, imagination and the sense of structure, as on knowledge. It is a practical art."  It's true!  And, it's great to discover that this kinship I've discovered in Accord (population 600+) can also be found 100 miles away in the most-populated city in the US.  It was just a bit exhausting to switch from birdwatching to people-watching among the crowds we found in NYC!  P.S.  The aforementioned lost child was found in the crowd.