birdSEED: Explore! Outdoors

Following the ecological rhythm of the seasons, SEED programs engage a network of schools and land stewards at the intersection of art and ecology to promote long term restoration. Building habitat for birds and pollinators through providing accessible platforms for community participation develops a sense of our relationships with the natural world, which we feel is essential to the effectiveness of conservation work. Drawing inspiration from the ancient art of weaving practiced in the area, we will gather in August to weave winter homes for birds and weave together native plant communities cultivated in the SEED network of steward gardens. In so doing, we weave together communities of people in the act of ecocultural restoration. In collaboration with Explore! Outdoors and the Blue Hill Public Library, we intend to create a woven sculpture immersed in the landscape of the SEED Barn meadow, using only materials found on site so that the works may disintegrate back into the landscape. The act of creating these woven structures allows us to think about traditional relationships with the land while exploring the animal species who could potentially use the shelter while overwintering nearby. Summer visitors are particularly encouraged to attend so they may return home to apply this method in more urban areas.

SEED Barn Maine - birdSEED
Participants fill the moist meadow of the SEED Barn to gather materials to integrate into our habitat sculpture.
SEED Barn Maine - birdSEED
The structure echoes the perpendicular lines between the fallen trunk, branches and ground, creating a framework into which were inserted small scale, nest like sculptures.
SEED Barn Maine - birdSEED
SEED Barn Maine - birdSEED nest
Nest inspired sculpture made of natural materials during the workshop.
SEED Barn Maine - birdSEED
Nest forms woven on a larger scale in the meadow.
SEED Barn Maine - birdSEED
SEED Barn Maine - birdSEED winter
The nest inspired sculpture settles into the landscape over the winter.

¡Pollinate! Artsweek at GSA

Pollinator sculpture hung from the trees

Broadening perceptions of HOME to include outdoor spaces beyond our walls helps cultivate an understanding of the interrelationships between humans and pollinators. As for humans, good homes for pollinators include plenty of food, safe access to water and shelter, and enough space to raise the next generation. Developing the awareness of what is available beyond our fencelines, we may fill in the gaps to support movement of pollinators through our own spheres. The movement of pollinators like bees, butterflies, beetles & moths is highly localized. During the spring we think about the ways that pollinators navigate our gardens, filling in gaps in bloom time with native flowers and ensure there is enough tufting grass to provide protection. In this workshop, students from the George Stevens Academy constructed pollinator homes out of hollow stems, drilled holes in dead wood and sculpted stacks of branches in the staghorn sumac grove above Wardwell Pasture during their Artsweek creative workshops. We used material from a tree that had needed to be cleared because of the proximity to the road by which it had fallen because we don’t like to disrupt in-tact ecologies by taking out materials that make up existing systems. Our tools included a drill, hacksaw, twine, hammer and a single nail. The sculptures persisted through the seasons, slowly melting back into the landscape over time.

Quiet stirrings of Spring

Pussy willow blossom

Spring arrives quietly in Maine. In lieu of colors that burst forth vibrantly in more southerly parts of the country, spring arrives through smells emerging from the sea, the softening of ground and a gentle ease as the freeze starts to thaw. Sap starts running as trees prepare to set forth their leaves, and there is a subtle shift in the palette of the landscape as the tips of branches bulge in buds and the first soft fuzzy blooms speckle the Pussy Willow trees. Providing essential nutrients for Bombus as they start to wake up from winter hibernation, the trees are considered keystone species in these northern woods. Surprisingly, the fuzzy grey nubbins are actually flowers. If you tear them open and put them under a microscope you will find they contain flaming fuschia and lime hidden within their furry coats. The closer we look to the plants outdoors, the more surprises we find in tiny bursts of life setting forth.

It is a time for planting seeds in the greenhouse! Vegetable seedlings start filling the terraces in their little pots. We also sow native bunching grasses to give them a strong start through the belated spring. We will then plant the grasses as plugs in the late spring and early summer to provide shelter for pollinators and late fall forage for migrating birds.

The greenhouse is warm despite late snow storms

SEED the Untold Story at the Halcyon Grange

SEED: The Untold Story is a documentary that follows passionate seed keepers who are protecting a 12,000 year-old food legacy. In the last century, 94% of our seed diversity has disappeared. A cadre of 10 agrichemicals companies, including Syngenta, Bayer and Monsanto, control over two-thirds of the global seed market, reaping unprecedented profits. Farmers and others battle to defend the future of our food.

www.seedthemovie.com

Following the film will be a discussion led by Lee Lee, founder of The SEED Barn in Blue Hill.  Drawing inspiration from the Slow Food approach to activism expressed around a shared table, Lee Lee has initiated The SEED Barn as a platform for cultivating a local network of seed stewards that include trust lands, farms, regional schools, public libraries and private land holders. She is also instigating a parallel project in Haiti, which shares a dual focus of heirloom preservation and wildland restoration.

Free event. Donations accepted.
Family friendly, all are welcome.

 

SEED Sensorium
Bridging art and science, these activities engage all of the senses in learning about the remarkable world of seeds and their utmost importance in our lives. Participants are encouraged to look through the lens of the seed to explore their personal connections to the natural world.

SEED matters :: Heirloom seed EXCHANGE
With seeds granted by the Seed Savers Exchange as part of the Seed Matters heirloom preservation program, we are building a foundation for a community seed library based in the SEED Barn in Blue Hill. Bring seeds you have been saving to contribute to the library as we gather seeds that hold significance for this community. Browse from a variety of crops to take home and grow out over the next growing season. Get tips on saving vegetable and fruit seeds. http://seedmatters.org

SEED dispersal: Native grasses and spring sown wildflowers
Learn how we may use our land to enhance pollinator habitats while sharing ideas on how we invite into our spheres the pollinators essential for growing food. Take home seeds for your own garden and help augment pollinator habitat across the peninsula.

SEED Saving Workshop, Children’s activities & Film Screening

Thursday, February 22nd
4:30 pm: Family friendly seed sensorium and dispersal

Stories and hands-on activities for children inspired by the remarkable world of seeds.

5:30 pm: Soup’s on!
Family meal with soups, mac ‘n cheese & homemade breads

6:00 pm: Film screening of SEED the Untold Story

Followed by a discussion with Lee Lee, founder of the SEED Barn.

Halcyon Grange
1157 Pleasant St, North Blue Hill, Maine 04614,
www.halcyongrange.org
SEED :: disperse:
www.virtualvoices.org,
207.374.2947, lee-lee@virtualvoices.org

SEED Senorium at the grange
SEED Sensoiurm activities at the Grange
SEED Sensorium: Smell me
Smell me seeds made up of culinary spices as part of the SEED Sensorium
SEED dispersal
SEED Dispersal – wildflowers and native grasses to support pollinators
Pine Cone Bird Feeders
Supporting birds in winter with local lard mixed with peanut butter & seeds! Other festive seeds that may be used (and dispersed by the birds) are staghorn sumac and wild rose. These festive berries add a flash of red to the feeders.

Sow Dry Seed

SEED Barn Maine
The community gathers to collect wildflower seeds and sift through the heirloom seeds donated by Seed Matters.

Native SEED dispersal

Workshop demonstrating how to sow native plant seeds to grow pollinator pathways.
Take home sown seeds for your own garden and help plant a few to establish a native plant nursery for the Blue Hill Heritage Trust. These gardens, along with a network of regional school gardens, will be used to restore wildland ecology across the Peninsula.
http://bluehillheritagetrust.org

SEED matters :: Heirloom seed EXCHANGE
With seeds granted by the Seed Savers Exchange as part of the Seed Matters heirloom preservation program, we are building a foundation for a community seed library. Bring regional heirloom seeds you have been saving to contribute to the library as we gather varietals specifically of this area. Browse from a variety of crops to grow out over the next growing season. Get tips on saving vegetable and fruit seeds. Learn how we may use our land to augment pollinator habitats while sharing ideas on how we invite into our spheres the pollinators essential for growing food.

Seed Matters: “Seed is the first link in the food and fiber chain. And the chain is only as strong as its weakest link. The Clif Bar Family Foundation created Seed Matters to improve the viability and availability of organic seed to ensure healthy, nutritious and productive crops. Together with our partners and folks just like you, we’re making a noticeable difference – from seed to farm to table. Simply put, our three main goals are:

Conserve crop genetic diversity.
Promote farmers’ roles and rights as seed innovators and stewards.
Reinvigorate public seed research and education.”
http://seedmatters.org

Seed Savers Exchange: “We conserve and promote America’s culturally diverse but endangered garden and food crop heritage for future generations by collecting, growing, and sharing heirloom seeds and plants.” https://www.seedsavers.org

SENSORIUM Crafting

Drawing from the strong handworks movement maintained on the Blue Hill peninsula, makers are invited to participate in the creation of an open sourced set of educational tools. The SEED Sensorium is a multi-sensorial exploration of seeds. Bridging art and science, this series of activities engage the senses in learning about the remarkable world of seeds and their utmost importance in our lives. The activities draw inspiration from the Emilia Reggio philosophy of immersive education which promotes student led, experiential programs as the most engaging way to cultivate understanding of the world around us. Participants are encouraged to look through the lens of the seed to explore connections between art and science and their personal connections to the natural world. We would like for the material to be regionally specific, so invite creatives of all ages to contribute to the making of the works.

More information on the SEED :: disperse project: www.virtualvoices.org
The SEED barn is open in winter by appointment: 207.374.2947

Wildflower SEED display at the SEED Barn Maine
Wildflower seed display for dispersal of native plants at the SEED Barn
Planting native seeds for community restoration
Instructions on sowing native wildflower seeds are important as many people feel it is effective to cast the seeds into an established space. However, native flowers are slow growing and need to gain a foothold before being introduced to the field.
The greenhouse is the ideal winter workshop.
Greg Cradick SEED photography
Installation of Greg Cradick’s photographs of urban weed seedheads
Bayberry seeds
Native bayberry seeds are waxy and were used by colonists to scent candles. The leaves are a pot-herb and called ‘bayberry’ for the similar taste to European Bay leaves.
SEED library
A reference library includes a collection of books addressing food justice issues.
Milkweed seeds & Monarch butterflies
A dispersal of several varieties of milkweed native to the area is complemented by an accordion book showing the transformation of monarchs in relationship with the milkweed plant.
Heirloom seeds at the SEED Barn Maine
Heirloom seeds donated by Seed Matters & collected from the MOFGA seed swap were offered to participants to simply try their hand at saving them.

Jardin Katelyn

Katelyn Alexis in her garden
Katelyn stands in her garden, with medicinal Vervain growing on the left & a local spinach on the right.
Tropical vervain
Tropical variety of Vervain.
seed saving
Saving seeds from the local spinach
Papillon by Katelyn Alexis
Papillon by Katelyn Alexis 2017
moira williams installing lambi peau
moira williams prepares the back area of the Garden after installing the banner created during the feast for Azaka in Lakou Claude.
moira williams in the garden
moira williams installs ‘lambi peau’ painted earlier during a workshop led by Kombatan. This symbol of freedom marks the young moringa & mango trees.
Atis Katelyn Alexis
Katelyn works on pollinator blocks with her son.
pollinator blocks
Community made Pollinator blocks for the SEED Sensorium
baby moringa
Young moringa trees arrived from the nursery at Sakala
moringa
Planted with care

Lakou Jean Claude Santillus

Jean Claude Santillus
Figures sculpted by Jean Claude Santillus watch over the engagements
SEED Sensorium - Pollinate
Observational drawing is paramount to learning. Open source images of indigenous birds and pollinators guide the drawing workshop in Lakou Claude.
Workshops are run alongside a feast prepared with lots of vegetables, from which we save seeds.
Lee Lee demonstrates seed saving techniques for various vegetables
The biggest, most beautiful beans are preserved for planting
Papouche with chili seeds.

Lakou Basile

Basile Wesner
Basile Wesner’s sculpture of a doctor installed next to a newly planted mango, under the medicinal trees that make up the canopy of his garden.
Lakou Basile
Young moringa and mango planted in a pocket garden in the woodcarving community that make up Lakou Basile. The woodcarvers here are able to supply woodchips that have been broken down over time under their lathe operations. This is the site that hosted the first wood block carving workshops of the 2019 Ghetto Biennial: Revolution

SEED :: disperse | Haiti

2017 Ghetto Biennale

Two years after installing pocket gardens in the previous biennial, we examined the gardens of the Grand Rue to assess which plants thrived. We used what we learned in growing plants in a heavily populated area of the city to apply what worked to the areas that did not fare as well. We found that trees fared the best, and that joumou (the local pumpkin) can easily trail along rooftops. At our workshops, we share a meal with joumou, then plant seeds with the youth who in turn tend the seedlings and in time have a product to sell or trade which supports food security. In response to an aggressive program to hybridize Haitian heirloom seeds, we started weaving a network of SEED Stewards across the urban areas of Port Au Prince in order to preserve open source access to traditional seed stock while providing a continued connection to the natural world for urban youth. The Biennial installation included the development of a SEED Sensorium created in collaboration with local youth as well as a collaborative installation with Jean Claude Santillus curated from seed related art works created by members of the Atis Rezistans collective.

Explore:
Jardin Katelyn

Lakou Basile

Lakou Claude

A visit to SAKALA

Jean Claude Santillus, Haiti
Lakou Jean Claude Santillus: Left – Claude plants a banana tree as part of the 2015 Ghetto Biennial, photo by Rossi Jaccques Casimir – right: a year later the tree is thriving, intertwined with his moringa. photo by Richard Arthur Flemming