Latin name Papaver orientale is also known as breadseed or opium poppy. The long, slender stems are topped with delicate, papery petals that give way to enlarged seed heads filled with edible blue seeds.
The breadseed poppy is most likely native to the Eastern Mediterranean. Images of opium poppies have been found in ancient Sumerian artifacts dating to 4000 B.C.
- Pollinator attractor.
- Mature seeds are edible poppy seeds. Beds, borders, containers, cottage garden, cut flower garden, cutting garden, wildflower mixes.
- Opium poppies are extremely popular with honeybees. You will often see multiple bees on each bloom at the same time, loading pollen grains onto their sacs.
- Seeds germinate in 14-21 days.
- Surface sow seeds and gently press into soil, as light aids in germination.
- Keep seeds moist until germinated.
- Ideal germination temperature is 65 F.
- Prefers full sun and moderately rich, loose, well-drained soil.
- Direct seed in early spring.
- Space plants 8-12 inches apart.
- Deadhead spent flowers to encourage continued blooming.
- Aphids can be a minor problem with this generally pest-free plant. Treat aphids with organic insecticidal soap.
- Mostly self pollinating; however, small flies and honeybees may cross pollinate closely planted varieties.
- Often self sows, but you can also harvest seeds when capsules turn brown.
- Save seed over winter in a cool, dark, dry place.
The following is a transcript of a talk given by Bevin Cohen at the Spring Planting Festival on May 8, 2022.
How nice is it to be back in Missouri back at Baker Creek for the Spring Planting Festival! How long have we waited -- far too long. It is so nice to be back here. I'm telling you. I want some more applause for everybody that's here today. You guys are fantastic. So we're going to talk a little bit about seed swaps and seed libraries. We're gonna talk a little bit about seed banks. I'm going to talk about the difference between these three things, what they mean, how they work, how you should participate on in them and why they are so important. I'm going to try to leave a little time for q&a at the end.
So first we have to understand what a seed is, right? Webster's Dictionary would define a seed as the fertilized and ripened on fuel of a flowering plant containing an embryo and capable of germination to produce a new plant. Well, right. That makes sense. That's scientifically sound. Webster's Dictionary doesn't mess around. Right. But, and seed savers and gardeners we know that seeds are so much more than that. These seeds are connections to our ancestors. And each seed is the fingerprint of every generation of growers that have planted that seed store that seeds, save them and pass them down from one hand to the next inside of every seed ensures food security, right for you, for me and for all people. When we save and share our seeds. It is one of the most significant things that we can do.
Let's illustrate this with the Almond Joy candy bar. What are the three main ingredients of an Almond Joy candy bar? Feel free to yell them out. Chocolate, I heard chocolate, which comes from a seed, coconut, and almond. All three of which are seeds. Right? But I do hear people yell "and sugar." More specifically high fructose corn syrup, which also comes from a seed. The Almond Joy candy bar is 95% seed, as a matter of fact. Without seeds, the Almond Joy candy bar would not exist. So maybe the great takeaway today could be that one thing right when you leave here and you go about the rest of the festival when you go about the rest of your weekend, maybe even in the next week. Look at things from the point of view of seeds. And you will see that seeds are in every single thing that we do. The shirt that I'm wearing right now cotton, just the dispersal mechanism for that seed. That coffee I was drinking before the presentation. Oh thank goodness for those seeds! Without people on the planet, seeds would be fine. They would thrive as they always have for 1000s of years. But without seeds, people would cease to exist. Every time we save and share our seeds, it's that significant. So why do we want to save?
First and foremost, community, right? When we save and share our seeds, we do our part to promote our communities, to support our communities, to help our communities grow. No man is an island unto himself. We can only go so far as individuals, but as communities is how we prosper. Right? There's some bullet points. When you save seeds amongst our communities, we get a local and reproducible food supply. Local right?
Fact of the matter, right I'm gonna tell you right now food is only as local as the seed that it grows from, period. Local seeds grow local foods, reproducible food supply. When we grow these wonderful heirloom seeds, (when) we save them and grow them again the next year, we can predict what they're going to grow. We can reproduce the food that we enjoy year after year.
You only save the seeds from the tastiest tomatoes, you only save the seeds from the biggest melons, the juiciest peppers, whatever it might be. Wherever the traits are that you prefer in your gardens. You save the seeds for that and you'll continue to get those same traits year after year. And that gives us the ability to maintain a seed bank. And we'll talk about what a seed bank means specifically here in a minute.
But I'll tell you a quick story. So I'm from Small House Farm, which is a little tiny house in Central Michigan. It's a very small house. It's essentially a box that when we bought this box of a house, it had two bathrooms in it one on each side of the building. One of them was like the master bath, I suppose. It had a hot tub, one of those kind of Jacuzzi things, whatever is going on in there. And much to my wife's chagrin, right after we bought the house I tore all that stuff out. I needed a roof for the seeds you know, boxes and bins and barrels and baskets of seeds. If there was ever a situation where my community did not have access to seeds, I got all the seeds that anyone will ever need. I have 300 different varieties of beans in my collection right? I got plenty of seeds, more seeds than I probably need. But you guys don't need to do that. You guys keep your hot tubs and your Jacuzzis and whatever you got going on at your house is no problem at all because we can create seed libraries in your communities.
Raise your hand if you're familiar with what a seed library is. That is not a lot of hands. Okay, by the end of this presentation, I'm gonna ask that same question and I expect everybody to raise their hands. And when we say I'm gonna share our seeds amongst our communities, it gives us self reliance. That's my last bullet point right there but not as individuals as communities as communities.
When we save and share our seeds, we do our part to promote diversity. Beautiful diversity. I mean, look at these beans, beans, that's what's in this picture here. The common bean is what they call it. Phaseolus vulgaris, to be specific. There's nothing common about that gorgeous. But diversity is more than just the physical appearance of these plants. We're also talking about the genetic diversity that we preserve over 1000s of years indigenous North Americans, indigenous Africans, right people from all over the world that save the seeds in all sorts of different climates, high altitudes, wet cold areas, deserts, whatever it may be. They preserve these seeds that performed in those climates, those genetics are crucial to food security. Right? And when we say even share our seeds amongst our communities. It's that significant. How many times have I said that? I'm gonna keep saying that. It's that significant.
When we save and share our seeds, we do our part to preserve history. Right? You guys dig Baker Creek and you love the heirlooms right? You guys understand an heirloom is a seed that has been saved to pass down for 50 years or more. Does the seeds need to be heirloom to save it? No. It'd be open pollinated for us to predict when it's going to grow. But if someone has been saving the seed and passing it down for 50 years or more there's probably a reason we want to consider saving it. I was just talking in Pikeville, Kentucky. I met a family there. They had been growing the same bean in their holler for over 100 years. 100 years! What about if it's just to tastiest thing I've ever had so that's why we've always saved it. That's cool. We got to squash that we grow at Small House Farm that was said to have been grown by Abraham Lincoln himself. Can we prove that? I don't know. But we did work with some folks in Indiana, the Abraham Lincoln Boyhood Home and Museum, and they've got a written description of the squash that any word for word describes the squash that I got that's all I needed to hear. That's a great reason to want to save those seeds, right? A preservation of history is one of the most important things that we could do. In my book over here, one of my books From Our Seeds and Their Keepers. It's a collection of stories from seed keepers that I've met. One of the stories in there is a lady named Sylvia. Sylvia was an older lady that I met actually when I was in Kentucky one time. She had this interest in corn. I was fascinated with this corn. We wanted to find the history of it. We worked with the University of Kentucky we traced the history of corn back like people were covered wagons moving so it was really, really fun stuff. But what got me was one day I was talking to Sylvia and she says, "Bevin, it means so much to me that you appreciate the stories. My family has no interest in this. My kids don't want to hear about this corn. Nobody seems to get excited about corn like you do." And it hit me" if I wasn't there for her to tell these stories to, she would have nobody to tell these stories to and they'd be lost. Serious responsibility. When we pick up those seeds and we put them in the soil, it's like signing a contract if you will, making a very solemn agreement that will we will do our part to share that story to in essence, we become a part of the story.
Here's the story. guys are probably familiar with the Cherokee Trail of Tears black bean, right. Pretty common, and you could probably get it in your Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company catalog and it gets its name and to commemorate the moment in history when the Cherokee people were forced from their homeland and made to march against their will all the way to Oklahoma. I'll say it again. For us from their homeland, for us to march against their will all the way to Oklahoma. And a guy named Dr. Wyche in the seven years decided he wanted to commemorate that moment history so we'll never be forgotten right.
Now we all know that that's not really the name of that being that's not what the Cherokee people would call that been when we frame our history quite often from that moment of European intervention. But for 1000 years before that happened, there's been had a name, who Nagi is what it was called simply the Cherokee word for Black. Right? Understanding that is very important. But I have a much more jovial story to tell. Out of all the beans, this is my favorite. I have a sentimental connection to this being I'm not Cherokee. I don't even live in that area by any means, but it's the first seed that I ever saved. And I'm going to tell you guys that story real quick. Many, many moons ago, many moons. I was visiting a historical garden where they grow produce similar to what people would have grown white people would have grown in this area in the 1800s they say, and this was one of the beans heirloom. I didn't know what an heirloom was guys a garden but it necessary to seed. So I asked the guy a lot of questions. What's this all about? I've been through the 1800s There's no way you're growing seeds that old? No, no, they're heirlooms. You know, we've been able to trace them back through history. The guy could tell I was a little slow on the pickup and says I gotta explain this to him a different way and he reached up and grabbed a handful of dried pods and he pulled down on those vines and he stuck them in my hand. He said Bevin you take your seats all you grow them out when you save your seeds and you share them with your friends. That's what I did. I took those beans home I kept my winter in a little box plan and rouse on my bedroom window the next year it's like a watch and I got our critters we live out in the country you know it's like a watch these things to this day. I've never grown beans so adoptive like vines on the roof. of my house. I'm on the roof of my house and pickled beans. This is a small house but still you know. I didn't eat one beam that year. I saved them all. Every beam saved them all. That's what he said to do. So I had a big old jar of beans. That was step two. Now step three is sharing with my friends so I gotta get some friends. You left this if I'm joking. It's funny because it's true. Right? So anyway, so we organized the seed swap never been to a seed swap before but we did the seed swap. lifetime ago I just organized music festival so it was similar enough right people came I distributed these beans out to everybody on the condition. You save your seeds sharing with your friends. All right. Next year, people showed up at the same spot. They said hey, I did what you said I got those beans and saved them. And I was like a light turned on. Right? Let's do some math. You guys look smart. Like a smart group. Let's say out of all those people 12 People actually saved their seeds. And those 12 people each individually shared seeds with 12 More people how many people is that? 144 people and then that 144 People then shared seeds with 12 More people how many people is that? It's a lie. It's so many. And I realized, just like the handful of beans became hundreds of beans. A handful of seed savers became hundreds of seed savers in two seasons time, changed my life. Literally. Here I am. Every time we save and share our seeds, it's that significant. I guess from a small bar. This is what's known as a seed bank, right? Unlike seed libraries and things Svalbard the seed bank is a place for long term storage of seeds, a seed bags where you put seeds in and you do not take them out unless you absolutely have to. Svalbard is known as the Doomsday Vault, right. And that's in Norway and the belief here is that there's ever a worldwide disaster. Oh, don't worry. They got all these seeds and we'll be fine. All right, that's cool, I guess. I guess I got some reservations. Yeah, yeah. I got some reservations about it first. We shouldn't become complacent when we think somebody else is doing the work for us. Right? The seeds in Svalbard already belong to governments, nonprofits, corporations, that sort of thing. If there was a worldwide disaster, you and me we don't see any of those seeds. Suddenly, the corporations and governments control the food supply even more than they already do. Not necessarily what we want, right? We don't need something like that. Because we can have seen libraries see distribution hubs, wait in our own communities with local seeds, seeds that we actually get to have our hands on. That matters a lot to me, right. Quick side story. See the pardons fall barred wealth at the top where it looks like broken glass all pieced together. It's broken glass all pieced together. It's exactly what it looks like. So in Norway, the law in Norway is every time the government sets aside a budget for Project, a certain percentage of that money has to be used to hire a local artist to produce an art installation. So that's what that is. Every time the government spends money they have to hire local artists. Just some food for thought since we live in a country that spends more money than any other country on the planet. What kind of world could we live in if we had a law like that, huh? Oh, beautiful one. I was talking about C libraries. Now when I asked you guys if you're familiar with C libraries, I saw like five hands to this a lot less people than there are in the room right now. So let's talk about what C libraries are different than a seed bank, where a seed bank is the place that you store seeds for long term storage. A seed library is a living, breathing hub, where seeds come and go. Every year new seeds in all of these out, in and out in and out almost as if it's breathing. I know I'm excited about it too. She almost fell right out of her chair. Just like when you go to your library to check out books, you go to your C library to checkout seeds, you take them home, you drop them in the garden, you enjoy that delicious produce, and then in the fall, you save your seeds and you bring them back just like when you're done reading your book. You bring it back to the library. Same thing, fresh new seeds stocking your seed library now. The greatest challenge you will see Libre is getting people to bring their seats back. The average nationwide is about 5% return which is not sustainable. So that's really the crutch of the whole thing. If you're trying to start a C library in your community, and I'm gonna give you some tips on how to make it work. You got to get people to bring back seats. But in the meantime, seed companies will donate. Baker Creek has supported so many of our seed libraries that we've opened by sending plenty of seeds to get us started and they will continue to do so because they understand the importance of making sure people have access to seeds. They're in the business of selling seeds. And yet they're still donating free seeds to people to make sure people can get seeds. That's pretty awesome stuff. But all those benefits we talked about at the beginning all those bullet points. That really only happens when we have local seeds when we save our seeds and bring them back right. Here's a map of the seed libraries in the great state of Michigan. Michigan is currently home to 125 C libraries. Let's put that in perspective. nationwide. There's about 600 of 125 of them are in Michigan. Pretty cool. With some hard work and dedication someday you can be as awesome as Michigan, right? We need C libraries, every community, every community needs access to free local seeds. That's one of the most important things that we can do. If you know how to grow something whatever you know how to grow specializes in it. You already growing it, learn how to save those seeds. Think about this. How many seeds in a tomato a lot how many tomatoes how to plan quite a few. The math adds up quick. How about we talk about lettuce? Okay, let's do some more math. One lettuce seed I play a one letter C one that's the number we start with number one. I let it go to seed. One lettuce plant will produce anywhere from 30 to 40 flowers. Each flower then produces anywhere from 12 to 16 seeds. Do the math, you know quietly I know it's hard. It's a lot from one plant. I'm not asking you to do a lot of work. I'm not asking you spend a lot of time baby steps is all we need to succeed in this world. Picture My C library in my hometown. That's Terry our C library and she'd be so upset if I was sharing her picture right now she didn't even want to post to this picture. I like to show this just because out of all the C libraries in Michigan this was the most difficult to open. It's in Midland, Michigan and if you're not familiar with Midland, Michigan, it's the same city as the corporate headquarters for Dow Chemical. Ah, and I'm not exactly sure why the city Thank you. The city gave us a really hard time about opening this thing. But boy, I have some deep deep satisfaction to open a C library in the shadow of Dow Chemical right? Border wars talking about border wars for sure. It's fantastic stuff but looking at the library we're using that old card catalog. Remember those revenue decimal. We have all these card catalogs getting old dusty and stuff. We could dust them off and give them new life. Fill them with seeds share with our communities. So one thing that happened to us when the pandemic hit in Michigan, like locked down all the libraries overnight, no warning, there was no warning. All of a sudden they shut down all the libraries. So we didn't have access to our seeds, right, which is historically not the first time that's happened. Let's think about the history of seats real quick. All right. So for the dawn of agriculture, until like 1800s That's a long distance. Everybody saved their seeds. Everybody did. If you want to eat food, you had to grow food, you want to grow food, you had to save seeds. That's just the way that the world was. Then hybridization hybrid seeds were introduced, right? And there's some pros and cons to hybrid seeds and we're not here to debate that shirt. The problem with hybrids is that they don't come back true to type right? So market farmers whose customers had come to love certain produce and they bought these hybrid seeds had to continue to buy these seeds, uniform production and disease resistance. These were all sales terms that were used to convince these farmers that hybrid seeds were the way to go. Right? And then all of a sudden these farmers found themselves in a position where they had to continue to buy seeds. They had given the essence of life, the control of the essence of life to somebody else. Much like Svalbard in my opinion, right okay, let's fast forward a little bit more. Let's fast forward blue to the modern times. And we could talk about GMOs genetically modified crops and we can debate the pros and cons of GMOs today. We don't have that kind of time. But I can tell you that farmers buy these crops, they literally sign contracts that say they will not save their seeds. Once again, given the essence the control of the essence of life and the spouses hand dangerous place to be at right. Well, I thought we'd circumvented that whole thing with seed libraries. And then the government should or libraries down and all of a sudden we didn't have access to our seeds yet again. Now. Librarians will not be deterred. They are some of the most creative people on the planet. Look at this picture. Look at what these ladies came up with. You see those free libraries where they got you get books, you know, free little libraries, or they do ones now with like canned food and things for people. They started filling in with seeds, access to seeds everywhere. street corners. Just boom seeds, right? No physical interaction, no contact. It was contact free. It was an honor system situation, but that's okay. You know what I mean? We have to have an honor situation in our society. We have to believe in each other. You know, it's a pretty cool thing to see. So the lesson here is that regardless of your resources, regardless of the time available to you, regardless of the size of your community, there's always an answer. There's always a way to get seats to the people, right? We have to be creative. We have to understand our limits. We have to understand the possibilities. Make it happen. Here's a little bit about the Michigan C library network. That's an organization. It's a nonprofit that we formed to promote the C libraries in Michigan. What I found traveling around the state helping open these seed libraries was that I was answering the exact same questions in every community. How do I do it? How do I organize my seats, whatever it was same questions over and over again. I was reinventing the wheel for every time. I'm sure every town has some specifics, but there's some general information that applies to everybody. So we started this nonprofit organization. It started off as a Facebook group that just exploded into this big thing. We ended up setting up as a nonprofit and it's become an umbrella organization, an educational hub for everybody. And this is the key if you want to start a seed library in your community, it's more than just putting seeds in a box. If you want it to thrive and be sustainable. We have to educate people. People don't know where food comes from. Do Okay, here's a story a couple years ago I had a photographer get a hold of me. He wanted a picture of some seeds for the magazine cover and he heard I had some beautiful seats. And I was like dude, I got some beautiful corn right now happen to have a bunch of corners that come take pictures of this corn. So this guy shows up. He's got his big lights in this thing and he's doing his whole thing. Taking pictures, these corners very fun, very fun. Well, this guy says to me at one point he says man I can't get over it. You'll these corn seeds. They look just like corn kernels. He was for real. Now at first I thought oh, you know, I can't fault this guy. I don't know anything about his life setup that he's got. I don't understand what he's doing. But then it hit me know when this guy is eaten three meals a day in the United States where most meals in United States in one way or another evolved corn. This guy's eat corn every day doesn't even know what it looks like. That's frightening, right? We're very far removed from our food, you guys, the bastion of life right? gardeners, the most important people on the planet farmers, teachers, period, right? People growing food are incredibly important. We need to help people understand not only how to grow their food, how to cook their food, how to preserve their harvest and how to save their seeds. saving seeds is a culinary act. Think about eating a melon you ever eat a melon? This is how it goes. You pick out a mallet first you got to find the right one. Some people like to sniff them. Some people like to thump them I guess you know, but regardless if you're a sniffer or a Thumper does not matter, right? You find the right melon, you cut it open, that's step number two. Step number three scooping up the seeds. You're already doing it. You're already doing it. Think about things if we just change our perspective the slightest bit, baby steps changing the world, right? We're already doing it. Education is the key to making the C library work right is is crucial, crucial. We recently started a program called one seed one state we thought it'd be cool if everybody had the same seeds grow, we can have this unified experience. We could distribute the same seeds, one variety to everyone in the state that wanted to grow. What a cool thing that would be we could share this moment in time. We started with provider beans because beans are just real easy. This year, actually, thanks to Baker Creek Heirloom Seed companies generous donation of seeds. We were able to distribute cucumber seeds from the Boston pickling cucumber to 650 Libraries that's not even see libraries. It's every library in the state of Michigan. Got the seeds, the packets the signage and everything so they could try their hand at starting seeds. That's pretty cool stuff. Now it's called Boston pickling cucumber. It was actually originally by the DEM ferry company of Detroit, Michigan in 1888. The only reason they call it the Boston pickling cucumber is because Boston was a big trading hub. And it was just a good marketing term. But the name Boston on it was all more cucumbers. Very smart. They're smart, smart people. Smart people. If you'd like to learn more about the Michigan seed library network, Michigan C library network.org is obviously the website. You can see it right there. Check it out. It is full of downloadable information, all sorts of PDFs and everything about how to save your seeds. Why to save your seeds, how to start a seed library links and all sorts of all sorts of stuff. We worked with some students from MSU that put this together because they're very tech savvy kids. And they made it work and it was fantastic. So please check it out. Here's what the steps right here. Let us start a seed library. These are the steps that you need to consider for your for your program to work. First and foremost is community collaboration. And that's the come back to the heart again, everything's about community. Nobody can do anything. Connect with your librarians. Find a gardener you know who the best the best possible resources, master gardeners, two reasons. One, Master Gardeners they know a bunch of stuff about gardening to to maintain their master gardener status. They have to volunteer for gardening related projects and get a certain amount hours in every year. Tap those guys get that work and for you, they're gonna love it. You're gonna learn a lot of stuff from them along the way. But don't just think about Master Gardeners think about your herb societies. Think about your conservation district and talk to local recyclers. Our local recycling company funds a lot of our programs just so they can put their information in our handouts, right? Anybody like minded anybody can make the world a better place that your partner and your teammate team up with them. Of course you're gonna have to acquire seeds. Now I did mention the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company has been very generous with supporting us, but there are a lot of other seed companies out there as well. At the end, I will give you my contact information. You can get a hold of me and I will email you a list of seed companies as long as my arm there we'll be happy to donate to your programs. Sometimes you got to pay a little bit of shipping or something like that. But that's legit, right? That's okay. We're thinking about organization and distribution. How do we want to get the CDs to the people? We could use a car catalog, right? I've seen people use shoe boxes. I'm not even joking shoe boxes full of packets of seeds in the corner of the library that works. If that's all that you have. Do it baby steps right? Just get the seeds to the people. Do you want to limit how many seeds in half? Maybe you should consider that five to 10 packets per visit or something people get really excited about free stuff. And sometimes they get a little grabby. It's human nature, you know. So some places like to put a limit on stuff. How do you want to organize your seeds? Some people like to organize these by season we'll put our spring crop seeds out now and later we'll put on our warm season crops or in Michigan we start our tomatoes and stuff in February, right so get those seeds out there so people can get them think about the plan for organizing it. Some libraries like to organize their cities based on how easy is it to save the seeds right? Different levels of seed saving we all know that self pollinating annuals is easiest. Beans, peas, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, these sorts of things, very easy to save seeds from maybe just focus on those sorts of things to help teach your community how to bring those seeds back. Gotta budget for success. I mean, the seeds might be you're gonna have to put them in packets. Think about that. You ever buy a packet of broccoli seeds or something for Baker Creek? Was there like a million season that thing? Nobody needs that you bust those things open and you can make them into a bunch of smaller packets really spread it out so everybody can have some broccoli, but you're going to need little packets might need little labels, might want to hire some speakers to come and do some education programs. Who knows what it might be? There's got to be some costs involved. So planning for that in advance and continuing education. That is the most important thing. Okay, so we started the C library just outside of Detroit. If you notice on that map, there was a lot of C libraries around Detroit. There's a lot of people down there a lot of food insecurity. It's very important that we get seeds to these people. Alright, so we opened the C library and Grosse Pointe Park. Opening Day 2500 people showed up to get seeds. Awesome. Awesome, right? It was cool. It was like a circus of seeds. At the end of the season, Yama people buy seeds back. Five people I was heartbroken. pretty distraught. Now the library is more optimistic than I said, No, no, you're thinking about it all wrong. Bevin. 2500 people in Detroit came and got seeds and grew produce. That's a win, man. That's a win. Right? But we need people to bring them back. So we started having more educational programs down there. I started going to them to the community gardens to their neighborhoods, helping them process their seeds, helping them understand how to do it. The next year 250 People buy seeds back. That's all it is. Sessions helping people learn, right? Nobody knows. It's a very simple thing to do. But again, we're so far removed from our food seems like a foreign concept to people. We just have to talk about Scott to talk about it. So talk about seed swaps real quick. Now a seed swap is one of the most exciting things around if any of you guys ever been to the Heirloom Expo in Santa Rosa. No. Okay, well, next time Baker Creek puts on Heirloom Expo in Santa Rosa, check your bags, get on your bike, run a bus whatever you got to do. Don't really try to ride your bike Santa Rosa, but you gotta go what an event and they have a seed swap there that is unlike anything like anything. It's what what a joyous time. We gonna see 12 solos, but I don't have to be big things. Remember the seed swap I told you about that I put on so I can hand out beans. The very first year that we did it we had 100 people show up to 100 people I didn't know who they even were no marketing, no advertising. I don't know where they came from seed savers just came out of the woodwork you know we still have the swap this many years. Later in the lecture that we had 700 people came. They came from Michigan. They came from Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee. People came from Canada. People came from all over the place for this opportunity to grow connect, build community share seeds. Since was one of the most exciting things that we could do. Like a C library. It's a living breathing thing and exchange of seeds happening right now. But the beauty of it is you get to meet the people grow in the seeds. You get to get local seeds. You get to get seeds from seed savers right on community. What do we have local seeds we've got the best seeds round you know, they're adapted to our environments to our microclimates to our growing conditions. save seeds will perform better than purchase seeds 100% of the time 100% of the time. I get excited about slaps get a little emotional up here you can't tell this is a picture from our seats crop right there. You know, to me seeds and food is all about community right? Let's connections with people when we can sit down and share a meal. That's how we really convinced people the seeds are important right? Again, because we're so far removed from our food so far removed. From our food. What if we're feeding somebody something they're supposed to listening, right? Here's some stops, stops steps. What are the steps there steps? Here's some steps to get us started. Steps To get us started with these swaps. Say that again? steps to get started with these labs. These are the steps that you need very similar to our seed libraries. We secure a venue right now our first seed swap I met with some folks that are a little art gallery, and they let us use a room in their basement, which quickly became overcrowded. It could be because 100 people showed up and we had a room in the basement. That's okay. You can connect with your local schools. I go to that seed swap down in Pikeville, Kentucky it's held in the high school gymnasium. It's tremendous a huge space we fill it with people. It's a great time. But you know what? There's something to be said about sharing seeds on the back porch somewhere. Right? I tend to want to be as big as possible with everything that I do in a past life. Like I said, I used to organize a music festival. It was all about big, big, big big crowds, big everything. Everything was bigger than life. But it seems to have doesn't need to be bigger than life. It's literally life all on its own. When two people get together to share seeds that's incredible stuff, right? So don't overwhelm yourself when you're planning a seed swap. Find the place. Somebody's back porch, neighborhood, your local community garden and pop up a 10 by 10 tent. That's all you got to do and let people know that you're having the seed swap and I'm telling you what people will come from your goodness that you've never even met before. You could live in a really small town and people will show up that you've never even seen. Midland Michigan is not a very big town and the amount of gardeners that showed up for that seed swap. I couldn't even believe it. Right. They come out of the woodwork when we find like many people. It's magic. This event is a great example of that. This event is a fantastic example that all these different people that I've met today already from different places, different backgrounds, different religions, it doesn't matter. Doesn't matter at all. I was in Livingston, Tennessee, about a bill best build best you're writing things down or committed things to memory build best if somebody you want to know Bill bass maintains the largest collection of Appalachian seeds in the world. Bill bass. He's like 89 years old. You go to this guy's house and he will walk you through his gardens show you every bean and tell you every story about every person that grew every one of those beans. This guy's incredible. He holds a seed swap went to the seed swap good times afterwards. We always like to go out for a meal, right that community building some of these seed savers. We traveled from all over the country to get together for a good seat swap. And it's like a family reunion in a way right so we go out to have dinner. This time we went out to a place was like a cat fish fry. So when you're in Tennessee, that's you I guess so that's what I did. I was like let's go eat some fried catfish. It was delicious. I had too much of it. You know, it was very long table. There was a lot of us there and you know that moment we eat too much fried food. We got to kind of like what degree you saw. catch breath and think about what you don't see life. That's where I was at seven. That moment of clarity. I was like whoa. And I looked at this table of people. People from all sorts of different places all over the country, people of all sorts of ethnicities, backgrounds, religions, different possible different practically everything. But what are we talking about those things? No, let's say didn't matter at all. We were talking about the one thing that brought us all together seats. Seats is the commonality for all people. That's what the ties that bind us away. Right? People are connected by seeds all people eat. All people love to dig in fact, the joy you can see in somebody's eyes when they dig in the soil and plant the seed. Just the simple joy of putting hands on a bowl of beans. Oh my gosh, right. You know that feeling? It's incredible. I can't even explain that tactile sensation of a bowl of beans. When we focus on the things that bring us together, as opposed to the things that divide us to make the world a better place. And it's simple, as simple as seeds. Every time we save and share our seeds. It's that significant. Talk about all the things. I just told the whole story. Does it go backwards? It does. community collaboration. We've talked about that right? Connecting with your community. Budgeting for success. Now. When you're doing something like a seed swap, definitely get spaces donated to you the art galleries never charge us now we do our major center. It's absolutely for free. But there's going to be some cost involved. We don't I mean, as with everything in life at the end of the day, somebody needs Federal Reserve notes for something. So we just have to be prepared. What's the Federal Reserve notes? Is it a funny how we spend so much of our time exchanging all of our effort and labor for Federal Reserve notes? When we could have probably just done those things on our own. We didn't have the time for it. I suppose that's a different presentation. And you got to spread the word. Now back in the day when we did the music festival it was all about radio stations. Newspapers, though. That's that was a media back in the day. And that's pretty much played out. You know, if you're FOMO radio station, I apologize. But you know what I'm saying? Social media is going Internet has created a world of free advertising unlike anything else, right. I mean, when we did our seed swap, I posted it on my own personal Facebook page. And enough people shared it that 100 Strangers showed up 100 people I'm not even connected to write our Michigan seed library network Facebook group. There's people in it from all over the place, you know, that are interested to see libraries. Like there's something about social media. There's good things about social media, but we'll focus on the positive things right it brings people together it gives us an opportunity to connect with folks that we normally wouldn't be able to do so. We just think about that as a plus for you. COVID pandemic instead of going and traveling to speak to people in person I had to do anything on Zoom. You ever do a zoom? Man What in the world but boy, it brings people together in ways that we never could have been connected with. Right? It's amazing stuff really, if we use it for good if we use it for good. So save some seeds, yo, right babies. Again, the most important part of everything that we do is to start small don't overwhelm ourselves. Never overwhelm yourself. Start with one or two things. What do you like broccoli? Or what do you like to eat? Right? No point growing something if you don't like to eat it. Think about one thing right now in your mind right now. Think about one crop that you'd like to eat or something that you just love to grow. Think about it and thinking about it. Now say to yourself, I'm gonna save seeds from that plant this year. Do it simple as that, right. If you save some seeds from some melons and you save some seeds from some peppers, you say some seeds to squash you say some seeds from some lettuce and you save some seeds from some beans. We'll have seeds for everybody in this test. Barely any effort at all. Right? Baby steps. If we share if we work together, what did I say at the beginning? No man is an island unto himself. We know it's a fact. We always do better when we work together. You want to start with self pollinating annuals, obviously self pollinated perfect flowers. Of course we won't get into the Botany of the whole thing. Well, they live their entire lifecycle they flower fruit, blue seed, it's very first year that you grow up. They're the easiest of the easy when we think about things like beans and peas. My 12 year old son does the seed saving on beans and peas on our farm. I don't even mess with it. He doesn't. He's a smart kid. But I think you guys are smart enough to handle it too. Right? It's so simple. It's so simple. People have been saving seeds since the dawn of agriculture man. And I'm not talking about scientists. I'm not talking about dollars. I'm talking about regular people, you and me. Whichever direction I point, it doesn't matter because we're all the same. You and me right we can all do it. We should all do it. Raise your hands if you've ever saved seeds. Yeah, so you guys are already there. You are the most important part of making the seed library work. Having the person in the building that knows how to at least save one seed is the inspiration for everyone else and everyone else to get excited about it right and someday people like me will need to exist. I won't have to travel around the country talking to people about why they should save their seats. cherem people just be doing it. If I could put myself out of work, man, that's a job well done. You know, I'm saying we're stronger together. See cooperatives? That's what we talked about. We all just do one little thing. Just one thing is all we got to do. Couldn't be any simpler, folks. Couldn't be any simpler. It'd be a lot easier than clicking this clicker. Here's my book. So that means we've come to the end of our time together. If you're interested in any of my books, this is where you would. This is what they look like. And I know that you can get some of them over at the Baker Creek tent right there. I'll be heading over there shortly. If you guys want to chat, and I've got time for some q&a right now. I'd be more than happy to do that. But let me tell you about these books real quick. My brand new book on the far left the complete guide to see the noise. If you're interested in growing and foreign soil, seed crops, things like sunflower hemp seed, Hickory, walnuts, whatever it might be. That's the book that you're going to need. I've been cold pressing seed oils for more than a decade. And I've compiled all of my all of my experiences and my mistakes and everything all into one book. So you guys don't have to go through the trials and tribulations you can do it yourself. The Artisan herbalist is for folks that are interested in growing and foraging herbs. To medicine for their friends, their family and their community. And the book The most likely relates to today's presentation is saving our seeds. It will teach you how to save seeds from 43 Different species, how to grow them, save them, process them, store them and then most importantly, how to share them. You want to stay in touch with me after today. This is how you're going to do it. We got the Facebook and the Instagram and the YouTube and all the cool things kids are doing these days. So get on one of those and click like or follow or whatever they do there. You can stay in touch with me. You know so the Instagram I we do a lot of farmers markets and for years young folks would come up to my table and be like you got an Instagram, Instagram get out here. You know, like you gotta have one and then the pandemic happen. So we got an Instagram because I was bored and I started taking pictures of tomatoes. So if you live in our early 70s Just take tomato tomato. But there's something to be said about stopping everything that you're doing and slowing down to this one moment. To appreciate the simple beauty of a fruit is awesome stuff. You know, we have a youtube if you're into YouTube if you're a visual learner you want to watch us with homesteading things. Maple syrup was everything we did a couple of months ago. I don't know what's on there. My wife does a lot of that. I'm not tech savvy, but definitely YouTube. But the one stop shop for all things that we do is small house farm.com You can buy seeds from us. You can buy herbal products, you can buy my books, you can look at pictures of my kids slaving away in the garden like close to wherever you're into. Yeah. That's all my time, folks. Thank you so much. Have a wonderful basketball. You guys are the best. Thank you. I don't know what time I was supposed to stop my mic still on. I will go on all day. Yeah, preach it, brother. Hello. Oh my gosh. Thanks.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai