Organic Seed Growers Conference (after)

 January 25. In the week I was away this place made its yearly transformation to chorus frog paradise. Last week: dry partly frozen ground, frogs quiet and hiding. Ten inches of rain later and I could hear the chorus from several hundred yards down the road as I returned Monday evening. The low corner of land I walked along last week lies under enough water to allow the dog a good swim. A feeling of celebration fills the evening air along with the sound (to hear it, and read more about the chorus frogs, click HERE). The cloud cover broke the spell of cold, too, bringing on a growth spurt in the winter hoop house greens, while the rain released all the scents that make up this fecund spring-in-winter season – astringent oak leaf compost, citrusy fir needles, the promise of mushrooms.

The Organic Seed Growers Conference was a completely over-stimulating mix of equal parts inspiration and practical learning, with hundreds of seed people who traveled through weather the Seattle forecasters dubbed “Snowmaggedon” to converge in Port Townsend, Washington. I met seed growers from Idaho, North Carolina, and Ireland (as well as many from the Pacific Northwest), organic plant breeders from Wisconsin and New York along with many from Washington and Oregon, community organic activists from Los Angeles, Iowa, Hawaii, and South Korea. Lin stayed behind nursing a cold but managed to attend electronically via live-broadcast webinars of many workshops (also attended by hundreds more people all over the world).
Now we’re spending the winter evenings reading out loud from our notes and planning our 2012 gardens. I’ll be speaking about the conference next week at the Laytonville Garden Club (Feb.1st at 1p.m.), and you’ll hear more too as we proceed with early spring plantings. I’m only beginning to digest what I learned, but I can say it was just as transformative for me as the big storm was for the chorus frogs.
Big Picture summary of the moment: The situation is dire (96% of food crop varieties extinct, a similar percentage of the world’s seed controlled by Monsanto) – and the opportunity for creative effective action is immense, and fun, and available to everyone. In partnership with plants, we can grow it back.
Occupy our food supply!

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