By Charlotte Pulitzer ‘16
Spring is (almost) here! Even though the garden beds are covered in a foot of snow, and the chickens go in their coops for an early roost, the farm crew got a rush of energy this week as we got our first batch of seeds going in the new growth room. Since the growth room is between the painting studio and the environmental science classrooms in the newly renovated Arts and Science Building, we got student and faculty visitors who were equally excited to see a mess of fresh soil and to start dreaming about late spring harvests. So far, we have mixed varieties of cabbage, lettuce, spinach, kale, onions, parsley, and scallions.
When I was starting the seeds, I started thinking about a trip I took last summer with Beth Bridgeman from the co-op office, as well as some other Antioch students to Decorah, Iowa. For three days, we went to the Seed Savers Exchange Camp-Out, where we learned all about the culture and importance behind seed saving, the techniques to properly save and store seeds, as well as about the way seed saving can bring community together. I remember hearing stories about family histories that have been kept safe in seeds; sweet tasting tomatoes but even sweeter stories that through seed saving, are passed down from generation to generation. I heard stories about communities coming together to share seeds through seed lending libraries or seed exchanges at the local community center. By the end of the conference, we were filled with inspiration and awe for every type of seed, and knew we had to start our own seed saving community here on campus. At the end of last summer, we gave a workshop on saving tomato and squash seeds. Walking through the garden, we also collected coriander, amaranth, and cosmos seeds. While we still have a lot to learn about seed saving, it was wonderful to have the opportunity to come together as a community and share our stories around saving our favorite garden varieties.
As I was sorting through the seeds and choosing which types of cabbage to start, I found an envelope with a handwritten label that said, “Antioch Coriander.” Shaking them around, I can’t wait to hear the stories that will come out of those seeds.
Photo credit: Charlotte Pulitzer ‘16