2020 SEED engagements

March 19-22: Slow Fish in Durham, New Hampshire

March 29th:
SEED Swap & Scion Exchange
MOFGA Common Ground Education Center, 10am – 4pm
Installation of the SEED Sensorium & dispersal of Native Grasses
Join us for the 3rd year of installing the SEED Sensorium, pick up seed saving information and native grass seed to support habitat for pollinators. Find us in the alcove, next to the exchange.

April 4th:
Master Gardener Symposium: Gear Up for Gardening
Moore Center, 12:30 – 4:30-5pm
Creative Frameworks for SEED Dispersal ~ Lee Lee
Working at the intersection of art and ecology, Lee Lee will present her methodology in cultivating creative frameworks for public engagement around wild land restoration. Material will include cultivating networks of living SEED libraries, SEED Sensoria, HugelCULTURE and following seasonal rhythms to respond to specific attributes of place in culturally relevant ways. 
Other workshops include: Grow your best Veggies by Marjorie Poronto of the Master Gardeners Extension program, Grow your best raspberries by David Handley, UMaine, Biodiversity by Reeser Manley, Creating a community garden, Edible Millbridge, and Improving soils by Paul and Karen Volkhausen of Happytown Farm.

April 4th: Sweetgrass talk with Carol Dana
Part of the Blue Hill Heritage Trust’s winter lecture series

May 9th 1 – 3pm
Garden Day at the Blue Hill Heritage Trust
Learn what native seeds may be sown in spring and collect native grass seeds to take home and plant for pollinators. A workshop on composting will be presented by master gardener, Zabet NeuCollins.

May 23rd 9am – noon
Blue Hill Public Library Plant Sale
Find SEED under the apple tree as we disperse spring sown native grasses and wild mint along with sipping tea and drawing pollinators who benefit from these meadow plants

May 23rd 2-4pm (rain date May 24)
Mapping the Labyrinth Meadow workshop at Tapley Farm
As a community, we will map out the geometric path that will be maintained at Tapley Farm in Brooksville as a collaboration between the Tent Project, the Open Air Arts Initiative and SEED :: disperse. The labyrinth will offer a platform on which to creatively explore our relationship with the meadow landscape. Challenging the dominant local mowing practice of severing this important part of local ecology, this event kicks off a series of workshops to educate people on how to maintain meadows in ways that best support the pollinator and bird communities that are essential to healthy natural systems.

May 30
Alewife Festival at Pierce Pond
Join the Penobscot Alewife Committee, the Blue Hill Heritage Trust & SEED to celebrate the maturing landscape around the restored fish ladder into Pierce Pond. Learn about the plants that make up shoreline communities and the network of life supported by them.

July 11 – 27th: SEED Barn Artist in Residence: moira williams
Learn more about moira’s walking based creative practice:
I-Park Kicks off Seventh Art Biennale in East Haddam

July 25th 2-4pm (rain date July 26)
Embodying the Landscape: Walking the Labyrinth
We invite the community to walk the labyrinth with intention as we explore the plant communities that make up the meadow at the Tapley Farm. We will speak of how important it is to hold off on mowing our meadows until November by paying attention to the teaming life that fills the maturing meadow. We will think about the localized movement of pollinators as they weave their way through the landscape and think about the shelter provided by tall grasses for seed dispersers who call the meadow home. Open source images of the network of life that abounds in meadows will be available for creative exploration through words, movement and drawing.

August 22nd 10a-4pm
Blue Hill Maritime Festival
Discover the colonial medicine chest and tea gardens at the Pendleton House with the establishment of a new SEED library dedicated to preserving these heirlooms brought to Maine from across the sea.

October 3rd 2-4pm (rain date October 4)
Meadow Restoration workshop at Tapley Farm
We will look at techniques for restoring meadows for the final event in the Labyrinth series in collaboration with the Tent Project and the Open Air Arts Initiative. Thinking about the transformation from flower to seed, we will look at the community of seed eating birds who are supported by mature meadows as they migrate south for the winter. We invite people to wait until November to mow so as not to disrupt this important food source for the birds. Autumn is the best time for planting plugs and we will share techniques on how to best introduce native plants to meadow environments to broaden the diversity of what is growing around us.

October 8-12th: Terra Madre

Seaside Goldenrod

Monarchs sip nectar from September blooms of Seaside Goldenrod to prepare for their long autumn migration. After several generations of Monarchs have made their way north to Maine, this last generation flies the entire return trip to the alpine forests of central Mexico, where they will over winter.

While Milkweed is essential food for Monarch caterpillars, a diversity of late blooming plants offer important nourishment for migrating monarchs. It’s important NOT to mow fields until much later in the season so the flowers may continue to offer nectar…and then seeds to migrating birds!

Tansy

Tanacetum vulgare

Bombus on Tansy
Bombus loves nectar from the button shaped yellow flowers of Tansy

Tansy was a part of the Acadian medicine chest and was considered necessary in a garden by the British. It is used to repel insects, particularly flies, and to guard against worms. Acadians used it internally to expel intestinal parasites, and in New England it was added to coffins to guard against the dead being consumed by worms. It was used this way so much in the colonies during the 19th century that it became associated with death. Bruised leaves were placed on meat to keep flies at bay, and it was kept strewn about in homes with dried elder leaves to repel other insects. Colonialists would wear it in their shoes to guard against insect born illnesses. It is said that infusions of the root, flowers or seed can be a strong antidote for gout. The Irish would bathe in infusions of tansy and salt to ease joint pain. Up until the 1940s, diluted tansy oil was added to fleabane & pennyroyal to make a popular insect repellent. More recently, Swedish scientists have found it fairly effective at repelling ticks. The leaves and flowers are toxic if consumed in large quantities.

In addition to the way settlers used the plant, indigenous populations found this herb to be effective in addressing a broad range of ailments. Pulverized blossoms & leaves were infused by Cheyenne to improve weakness & dizzyness. Chippewa found that a weak infusion aided earaches, and that the roots either brewed or chewed were effective against a sore throat. Many tribes used it against stomach disorders and fever reducers. Micmac and Malecite used it as a contraceptive and Cherokee would tie it around the waist of a pregnant woman to avoid miscarriage during pregnancy. The Shoshoni used it as a warm anaseptic wash and Ojibwe would include it in a blend of dried plants that was burned to attract deer.

Tansy had culinary uses that are not generally practiced today. Because of the toxicity, some people react to consuming even small amounts. New leaves emerging in spring were used as an herb to add to omelettes or puddings, and paired with caraway when making biscuits and ‘tansy cakes’. Today it is only known to make a particular type of blood pudding in Cork, Ireland. The flowers are cultivated for aesthetic purposes and may be used to make a yellow or green hued dye. It is still used as a companion plant for non-chemical pest control, demonstrated to be highly effective against the Colorado potato beetle. When planted alongside cucurbits like cucumbers, melons and squash, or with roses and berry plants, it repels pests like ants, cucumber beetles, Japanese beetles and squash bugs. Beekeepers will sometimes add dry tansy to the blends they use to smoke out beehives.

Sources: The Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens on the Acadia University campus, Nova Scotia, Wikipedia, A Modern Herbal by Mrs. M Grieve and Native American Ethnobotany by Daniel E Moerman. Please note that material provided here is for informational purposes only and are not to be taken as recommendations for treatment.

Bagaduce Alewife Celebration


Join the Penobscot Alewife Committee, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, Blue Hill Heritage Trust and Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries for the 2nd Annual Bagaduce Alewife Celebration!

Saturday, May 18th, 11am – 3pm
Pierce Pond in Penobscot


Learn about the native plant restoration work being done at Pierces with the SEED Barn & Blue Hill Heritage Trust.

Demonstrations on sowing native seeds, transplanting seedlings and providing habitat will compliment an art installation of cast paper butterflies. The public is invited to participate in this community restoration project by learning about the ecologies along the land water interface. Add your voice by composing messages to wildlife who use this passage, and bring home an assortment of native grass seeds to plant in your own yard!

Guided tours of future restoration locations will take place on on Parker Pond (9:30am)  and Walkers Pond (1pm)


Explore the Water!
Catch alewives to make observations, view a freshwater fish observation tank, taste smoked fish, and much more! There will even be a Virtual Reality set up so you can “swim with the fishes” through Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries!

For more information, please contact Blue Hill Heritage Trust at 374-5118 or info@bluehillheritagetrust.org

Participate in the Community Restoration of Pierce Pond through March by sowing native seeds specific to the river and lakeshore plant communities observed around Pierce Pond and gathered from the research in the Natural Landscapes of Maine guide published by the Maine Heritage Fund. Seeds are best sown at home, and we invite community members to establish some in their home gardens and sow some to share with the restoration project.



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.

Hugel CULTURE demonstration

The first season at the SEED barn involved a lot of work taking down invasive plants and folding them back into the earth in a Hugelkultur fashion. Mid way through the season, the Blue Hill and Brooklin Garden Clubs visited the grounds in a demonstration on how we are using available materials to build Hugelkultures. Conversation on why it is important to address invasive plants ensued since many invasives are initially introduced as decorative garden plants. Bringing attention to the fact that many nurseries, especially in the big box stores, continue to sell invasive plants is important to know for avid gardeners.  Below, we see an example of a Hugelkultur bed in the second season as new plants become established. An introduction to the SEED Library offered members new ideas on what native plants could potentially be worked into the landscape. The tour ended with a description of how to tie in an aquaponic system into the small scale terracing approach developed by grandpa in the new greenhouse.