We see the light in the trees beginning to change, signaling the coming of fall. The air is still hot, the sun still peers down with great intensity upon the land, and the earth is unbelievably parched and dry….but we feel the seasonal shift, the turning of the wheel, as we turn more towards harvest…
We have had the great honor and privilege of hosting another circle of our Seed Seva education; 21 open hearted seed stewards gathering here on our land to learn from the Cycles of Life, to reconnect to an ancient ecology of indigenous wisdom. I am deeply touched by the commitment of these souls who are writing their way back into the grand story of the dance between plants and people; who are finding their way back to their true Nature and indigenous roots by following a thread of sustenance, relationship, reverence, story and nourishment. We all opened up to an experience of inviting in and re-establishing relationships, a rekindling of ancient memories that sit at the very center of our being, learning how to take care of the ancestral foods that we are all made up of.
Here are a circle of our participants from the Seed Seva Immersion gathering fragrant Tulsi seeds, and then playfully inspired to roll around and inebriate themselves with the Divine Aromatics!!
An integral introductory part of this immersion experience is getting to know the origins of our foods, so we cultivate a full sensory experience of reawakening our relationships to food and seeds, and the ancestral memory of stories that fed us in heart and body.
To begin the weekend, we pulled out dozens of seeds from the Earthen Seed Kiva, and she truly shared her diverse treasures with us all. This Kiva is truly an Earth Apothecary, each jar and vessel holding generations of encoded wisdom and expression, sustenance and story. We had the great good fortune to build this living seed temple from mud, sand, straw, stone and wood from our watershed last season. It has been an answer to many prayers, and has inspired us to deepen our work with re-establishing relationship with these treasured ancestral seed relatives. We have built them a beautiful home, which keeps them cool, dark and dry, and also inspires us to gather and meditate, sing, and also to replenish and reconnect to source when the busy days have us feeling lower energy. The seeds rejoice to be honored in this way, and our Living Seed Bank is a chorus of cultural memory that we hope will nourish many generations beyond a time of our own.
You see, as my work with seeds deepen, I see that just as we want to steward and care for seeds within an evolutionary context, we also need to see that the stories and cultural memory that accompanies these seeds are just as dynamic, adaptive and evolutionary. As a part of our seed stewardship approach, we look to selecting and cultivating vibrant seeds year in and year out upon this very land, so that the seeds are able to be responsive to the changing conditions that each year and season presents. In this way, we cultivate a collection of seeds that has high pranic intelligence, with a Life Force that is inherently resilient.
The beauty of recognizing and honoring our seeds as living breathing relatives, is that we see the stories, cultural memory and wisdom they carry is also alive, and it is our honor and privilege to steward these stories in a way that honors their inherent dynamic nature. We pair old ancestral foods in new ways with contemporary foods our ancestors would have delighted to have in their larders and pantries. We invoke new songs to sing to our plants, inspired by the strands of seed songs we have the good fortune to carry with us. We do our best to gather and remember what we can about these varieties, and realize that too we are intertwining ourselves into their story. I am a modern day Mohawk seed keeper who is now raising her children in California. These seeds shape and shift to meet the needs of this new landscape, and we share their abundance with other caring stewards who recognize the value of diversity and landrace nutrient dense foods. We are writing ourselves back into the story of the sacred dance between humans and plants that is dynamic, evolutionary and resilient. In so doing, we are seeing how our hands and lands can transform these seeds and sprouts into heirlooms of the future.
Our Seed Seva Immersion and full season internship is our prayer for what we hope to see for the future of our food. By empowering community members to reawaken seed stewardship in their lives, we are seeding hope for more sustainable and beautiful agro-ecological foodways. A part of our vision is to see the Restory-ing the Grace and Beauty in our Daily Life and ways of growing food… That sustainable and organic agriculture can evolve again to be Exquisite and magnificently beautiful and offer us truly sacred nourishment…….We can nourish farmers and SeedKeepers so that they can continue to nourish beauty and our deep ancestral connections to food and tradition, For then food and seeds can truly be our medicine. We dream of a time when the farmers and Seedkeepers of the world will truly be valued in the highest order in our communities as the keepers of life….
By bridging both practical hands-on skills with indigenous knowledge and reverence, we are cultivating a way of seed stewardship that is based upon service to life and seeds. Finding ourselves again by rekindling a relationship with our food that is mutually beneficial, and truly honors the seeds for all that they continue to share with us. Seeds are sacred. By saving these seeds, we re-engage with a powerful lineage of Seed Keepers. I honor this responsibility from the center of my heart, and hope to share with you the deep, heart-opening aspects of these Seed Keeper traditions. Using an indigenous ecology of education via story, handiwork, and connection to place, we re-kindle our connection to our these ancient traditions.
In all their shapes, sizes, colors, the seeds have granted us sustenance, flavors, art, craft and most importantly story and song. The life giving mystery in a handful of seeds has inspired the many stories and songs that create the sacred dance between people and plants. These seeds share insight on the alchemy of transformation of sunlight to food, one kernel into many. In the Seed Seva programs, we are humble disciples of these teachings of the seeds. We look to create gardens and methods of seed stewardship and plant breeding that strengthen the inherent life force within plants, and ensure that the seeds that we carry on to our next generations are selected for low input, whole organic systems.
In this time, it is a joy to be a part of the great re-awakening; seeing these ancient stories and connections within us come alive again. Our ancestors, who have faithfully passed us this incredible gift of life, are re-birthed through our connections to these seeds; these are their songs, their stories. It has only been a few short generations that we have seen these connections slip away; in the big wheel of time, only a few fleeting moments where we saw ourselves become distracted from the great mysteries by some of the false promises of technology and convenience.
These seeds are the diverse expression of life itself, ever hopeful, renewing, and sustaining. I invite you to walk this path with me, to find those tiny little sparks inside your heart that yearn to be re-kindled. These seeds, these tiny capsules of life and witnesses to the past, they speak to me in my dreams. The message that is sent to me again and again is simple, yet deeply nourishing; Take care of the seeds, and they will take care of you.
Feeling the sweet honeycomb inside my heart, dripping with gratitude for the seeds of hope that I see being planted at the beginning of this Seed Seva Immersion. In 8 full educational days over 4 months, students will have reawakened a deep and potent relationship to the seeds, our precious collective inheritance. Becoming seeds themselves, they will carry the responsibility of seed stewardship into their lives in diverse and creative ways.
Ultimately it is such a gift to walk this path with my students, and have the honor to share stories, seeds, and witness again and again the transformative and healing nature of working with seeds and our beautiful Mother Earth . The ancestors truly are rejoicing to see a new circle of humans caring deeply for our seed relations to nourish those children beyond a time of our own. The Seed Satyagraha is alive, thriving and growing.
If you are interested in joining us on our next round of Seed Seva Education, we are hosting a Full Week Intensive from October 18-23, 2015, and we would love to see you there. We will be offering our 4 month program again in 2016 along with a Seed Seva Teacher Training, to fulfill our mission to see more teachers of this heart centered seed stewardship modality flowing out in to the world. If you are interested in learning more about our Seed Seva programs in general, please sign up for our Newsletter above, or email us at email@example.com and we would be happy to send you more information.
Also please view this video, which was produced by the folks at Symbiosis Gathering, highlighting a bit about our Seed Seva on farm internship program and a bit about our philosophies at Sierra Seeds. We will be facilitating a workshop at Symbiosis Gathering in September about Seed Stewardship.
I will leave you with these cherished words from my mentor, Martín Prechtel, who nourishes the sprout inside our hearts that remembers a truly beautiful and exquisite food and seed culture is completely possible and just at our fingertips.
“In some forgotten part of us all there yet towers the roofless ruins of a neatly made, tiny earth- and- timber palace of unconscious memory in whose thick walls these amazing ancestors have left for us to find a pot of precious seeds, indigenous seeds of still- viable knowledge and living vitality, seeds that could resprout into view the organic articles of the original treaty we humans promised long ago to uphold between ourselves and the wild natural world at the time we first began to cultivate the earth, her plants, and animals through agriculture and working with the seeds. Mudded into these forgotten ramparts of our Indigenous Souls, these seeds of how humans are meant to live have been passed unnoticed like recessive spiritual genes in our souls from grandparent to grandchild for millennia, waiting for each generation to consciously rediscover them, replant them into welcoming ground, and once again cultivate into view a real, livable viable array of ritual seed cultures worth descending from.” -Martín Prechtel, The Unlikely Peace at Cuchamaquic