We are on lockdown in Maine as we try to ‘flatten the curve’ of the Covid-19 global pandemic. Early on, we recognized the broader impacts of food insecurity that is being faced now and will unfold over the short season in Maine. Over the winter, we grew lots of vegetables in the greenhouse and now it is time to harvest some for our kitchen and more to pass on to our local food pantry. We have made it our goal to share something fresh from the garden every week during food box distributions through the seasons. Last fall, the Blue Hill Garden Club under the leadership of Peter Leonard (Grandpa) started a new public garden on Tenney Hill in the town of Blue Hill. Little did we know just how important this new space will be in providing fresh nourishment for our neighbors. Working with the Downeast Gleaning Initiative, Healthy Peninsula and the Blue Hill Heritage Trust, we are not only growing food for free distribution to the members of our community in greatest need, we are developing a platform for education on seed saving. The run on seeds this season has sparked great interest in saving seeds. We are trying out several ways to share how to save seed, why it is important and provide a platform for exchange and preservation of seeds for future growing season. For now, we are clearing out the greenhouse to fill it with seedlings that will be planted in the public garden later in the spring.
March 19-22: Slow Fish in Durham, New Hampshire
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.
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
The above events cancelled or postponed due to COVID 19
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.
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
Valerian is a calming herb. Traditionally, all parts of the plants have been consumed, and use has been recorded since the ancient Greek and Roman times. The Saxons would eat the roots along with other tubers and the leaves like salad. The 16th century English herbalist, John Gerard describes how the dried root was valued as a medicine by the poor in the north of England and the south of Scotland, so that “no broth or pottage or physicall meats be worth anything if Setewale [Valerian] be not there.” He stated that it was good for bruises and could help with coup, a recommendation supported by the 17th century astrological botanist, Nicholas Culpeper who said the root should be boiled with liquorice, raisons and aniseed to ease a cough.
The Mayo clinic states that many studies have shown that it ‘may reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep and help you sleep better’. However, they recommend developing the aptitude for falling to sleep through lifestyle choices instead of taking supplements. Studies have shown that it takes a regular dosage over several weeks for the herb to be most effective. The European Medicines Agency states that valerian can be used as a traditional herbal medicine to relieve mild nervous tension and to aid sleep. In Connecticut and New Brunswick, Valerian is considered invasive.
Sources: Mayo Clinic, Wikipedia, Please note that material provided here is for informational purposes only and are not to be taken as recommendations for treatment.
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.
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.
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.
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.
1157 Pleasant St, North Blue Hill, Maine 04614,
SEED :: disperse: www.virtualvoices.org,
Native SEED dispersal
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.
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.”
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
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
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.
A visit to SAKALA