Folk Seeds and Seed from Folks

by Ken Greene

Last night's Folk Seeds event, hosted by Poughkeepsie Farm Project and organized by intern Nora Saks, was amazing. The crowd was an interesting mix of young farmers, students, and activists of all ages. I met and talked to a host of new people, and a bunch of Seed Library members as well. The face-to-face small group "solution circle" conversations were inspiring, and our group had an interesting mix of people from all parts of the local food chain-- consumers, producers, buyers, organizers, and, of course, eaters.

Seed returns from 3 different Seed Library members. Seed returns from 3 different Seed Library members.

I was also able to ask some Seed Library members how they fared returning seeds. We have not received seeds from as many gardeners as we had hoped, so I was interested to find out why and see what changes we can make to increase the critical mass of seeds coming back from members. Some gardeners had lousy growing seasons--just as we did here on the farm--resulting in fewer healthy seeds to save. Others talked about losing garden space not due to weather, but to moving. I also heard concerns that seeds from very small gardens, like containers, might not produce enough for the library.

I want to encourage all of our members to try to save seeds, no matter what kind of garden they have. But we also understand when unpredictable or unavoidable circumstances make seed saving difficult or impossible. If you have not yet done your winter cleanup, there may be seeds in need of saving in your garden right now, barely hanging on, hoping your hand will be there to catch them when they fall and carry them to safety before they freeze. With this hope in mind, we are extending the seed return date until December 12th. Check your calendulas and marigolds, your sunflowers and cilantro, the basil, cosmos, and borage. If you harvested winter squash and were only growing one kind from each family, split them open, clean and dry the seeds, make soup or pie or mash and freeze, and mail us those seeds! Not only will you be participating in the eons-old tradition of saving and sharing seed, but you will get seed credits towards your membership renewal which starts in January.