It's scheming, planning and assessing time for farmers once the hard freeze comes, as it did on 9 December. Your humble Urban Farmers haven't been totally idle during these shortest of days: I got a darn good idea. I've spent the last few weeks fleshing it all out and securing the necessary support from the other farmers to make it happen. The SE Seedbank Project will involve folks in ways that go way beyond keg parties w/ the 2010 Perpetual Seed Kit. This came out of an idea of Calliope's called the Neighbourhood Foodshed Alliance, where we go even further to reduce travel distance for food by connecting folks w/ their neighbourhood farmer.
But, that's neither here nor there! So....
If you know anyone who is thinking of putting a garden in SE this year w/ their Xmas money or will be keeping an existing garden going, they might just be interested in helping support the SE Urban Farmers and getting involved in our Seedbanking project. I wrote up a little blurb on it here: link to sellwoodgardenclub.com . Please do pass this along to anyone you know who might be interested. We really want all the neighbourhoods to be represented among our growing partners to get as much seed out there as possible for increase.
For $20 ($30 for big kits) or whatever one can afford to pay (on Nikki's 100% sliding scale), a collection of 10 (or 16) packets of seed, selected for the conditions in each SE Neighbourhood, allows for eating well from all plant families and easily saving seed. For each type of seed a farmer gets back (cleaned or not), each growing partner receives as many new varieties back, for free, forever. Each participating Urban Farmer collects the seed from our growers, cleans it (if need be), sorts it, shares it among participating Urban Farmers, and then the seed collected is rolled back into our individual breeding programmes to created well-adapted seed to our area and methods.
Most of the seed in the collection pool right now has been saved by myself and Nikki of the Riverhouse, but there will be another infusion of variety in the near-term from the other farmers once they get it all sorted out in the next few weeks. I've got a tentative list for each neighbourhood made up now - I'm just waiting to hear from Farmer K and a few others before making them all full-on public - let me know if you want to see what is planned for your neighbourhood so far. The Brooklyn list is up on the website ( http://sepdxseedbank.wordpress.com/seed-kit/ ) as an example only.
Of course, not everyone wants to garden, and there will always be a need for yards for folks like me to barter. But, for those hearty souls who do want to get started in their own garden this year, this might be a cool, Southeasty way of doing it.
Thanks for all your help and support in 2009 -- 2010 is gonna rawk on w/ the next generation! I look forward to talking to you soon, now that I'm just getting out of the computery-hermit phase of the year.
Marie of the Sellwood Garden Club
Charter Member of the SE Portland Seedbank Project