Seed Libraries Newsletter                 
Cool Beans!
Seed Stories
September 2019- Issue #19
In this Issue
Open Source Resources                                                                                                   

All of the articles and resources in this newsletter and on are open source., except where noted. They may be freely used. We encourage you to use these articles and resources and share them in your community. You may repost articles in your own community newsletters or emails. Attributions to are appreciated, but not required. If there is a specific author mentioned, please include the name as a courtesy.  If you have articles that you have written that you feel would be of benefit to the seed library community, email them to
seedlibrarysummitNational Seed Library Summit
Wed., Sept. 11, 2019
Santa Rosa, CA, USA
Free with the cost of entrance to the Heirloom Expo ($15)

Join us for the 9th Annual National Seed Library Summit! Every year we gather at the National Heirloom Expo to talk about what is happening in our local seed libraries and in the larger seed library movement. Our meeting is always Wednesday afternoon. Hear what exciting programs other seedbrarians are doing. Brainstorm solutions to common challenges. Attend interesting talks at the National Heirloom Expo. 

The Expo is also hoping to host several seed swaps and would like to have a table with information about seed libraries at the swap. If you are able to cover a shift, let us know that when you register. 
Seedstories1Seed Stories
Jeanette Hart-Mann
An interview with Jeanette Hart-Mann,  a transdisciplinary artist/farmer/activist. Jeanette is the co-founder and collective cohort of SeedBroadcast, a creative multi-platform agri-Culture project employing collaborative engagement, grassroots story making, and free-source seed action. Her artistic practice is centered in a desire to counter oppressive power structures through examining and cultivating trans-species relationships and ecologic processes as acts of resistance to germinate resiliency.  Her methodologies are interdisciplinary spanning across video, sculpture, photography, installation, experimental media, print, performance, farming, writing, and activism. She is the Director of Land Arts of the American West and Assistant Professor of Art & Ecology in the Department of Art at the University of New Mexico.
Seed Stories: Jeanette Hart-Mann
Seed Stories: Jeanette Hart-Mann

Check out Seed: Climate Resilience, a community engaged arts project exploring seed, arid-land agri-Culture, resiliency, and climate change created by  SeedBroadcast. The exhibit is open June 22-Sept. 22, 2019 in the Albuquerque, New Mexico.
How can you use stories to share the history of seeds and engage your community to continue to steward them?  It is important to start with seeds that are local to you and your community. Before starting, consider what is the intention of sharing the story and with whom will you share it. Be sure to check out the video
interview (above) with Jeanette Hart-Mann. 

Here are some things that might inspire you:

1.  Seed Zine
Katie Gournie, a Harvard Graduate student,  wrote her thesis focused on San Francisco Bay Area seed libraries. Her  thesis , "It starts with a seed", won the Harvard Graduate Scho
ol of Design Thesis Prize  Here is a link to her thesis. She created an amazing seed zine sharing seed stories!

2. Podcasts
North Circle Seeds, a new Minnesota-grown seed company, founded by Zach Paige who helped create the the Anishinaabe Seed Library in the White Eart
Hopi Yellow Meated Watermelon
h Nation, has a seed stories blog. Check out his post on the Hopi Yellow Meated Watermelon. It features an interview with a Mohawk and Anishinaabe seed keeper Travis Brascoupe. 

What makes North Circle Seeds unique from other seed companies is the business' commitment to creating an ecologically diverse, equitable, and inclusive food system. Not only are they working with growers to develop seed that may be culturally significant in their home country, such as eggplant varieties from Africa and blue corn from Mexico, but they are sharing this knowledge with others through public seed saving events and a podcast focusing on the origin stories of their seeds. Paige explains that "North Circle Seeds is a tight circle of Minnesota growers, and we showcase the praxis of resiliency by sharing resources and expanding our collective seed saving knowledge."

To learn more about North Circle Seeds, listen to their Seed Stories Podcast, visit their website, or find them on Facebook .

3.  Seed Broadcast Station
The Mobile Seed Story Broadcasting Station is an old bread truck that has been retrofitted into a solar-powered, grassroots roving, seed story shout-out vehicle committed to examining the inter-connections between people and agri-culture through performance, listening, and sharing of stories, resources, and seeds. Get i nspired by their  collection of stories

4. QR Codes to save and share stories
Have a great story? Upload it to Google Drive or a website. Link it with a QR code and share the seeds and the story.  QR codes are easy and free to make with QR Code Generator.

Featured Seed Saver
Amalia Escobar Galpert

Name:   Amalia Escobar Galpert

How many years have you been saving seeds?
I've been saving seeds for 24 years.

What inspired you to start saving seeds?  
During my first pregnancy, I thought about bringing a new human being into the world to feed and started saving seeds.

Did anyone in your family save seeds that taught you?
My mother saved her own seeds in the Andes mountains near Cuzco.  After I moved to America with my husband, he helped teach me about seeds.

What seeds do you save?  Do you feel like you have a seed saving specialty in a particular crop?
I save Aji Amarillo (Peruvian chili), Roma tomatoes, corn, and garlic.  Over the years, I've brought many seeds from the Andes to see if they will grow in the U.S. so that I can use them in traditional dishes.  Approximately 20% of these seeds succeeded in growing in Seattle and on the central coast of California.

What do you love most about seed saving?
Growing corn and saving its seed to grow again makes me feel complete.

Do you have a seed saving philosophy?
I want to help people be healthier.  Our bodies need all the elements that Mother Earth produces.  We are made of the same elements. Plants predigest all these elements and minerals for us so we are nourished when we eat them.  Corn especially is an example of abundance. Saving seeds is a way to recognize our relationship with both plants and earth.

Which questions are you most asked by other seed savers?
I'm often asked about plant problems and when to harvest seeds.

What was the most important piece of advice you received when you were getting started?  Or what single piece of advice would you give a new seed saver?
JUST DO IT!!  And save the bigger seeds because they are more energetic.

Are you doing any active seed breeding?

Anything else you would like to share?
When I lived in Seattle, I was able to start passionfruit plants from seed, a major achievement in that climate!  Also, when I plant it, each new seed receives a name. At the end of this interview, I will share about a Peruvian seed ceremony that inspires me.

Featured Seed

What special seed would you love to share in hopes that more people save it and steward it?

Common name:  ancient Peruvian Corn
Variety:  Black/Purple
Species:  Zea mays

Why is the variety special?
This variety reminds me of happy times in my childhood when my mother often made a drink, chicha , for the whole family by boiling the corn with pineapple peel, cinnamon, fennel, orange peel, lemon, and sugar.  My mother grew all of the flavors except pineapple. That was grown in the jungle.

How did you find this plant/seed?
My sister found this corn in a Cuzco market and gave me the seeds to bring back to my home in the United States.

Describe the characteristics of the plant.
Seed is our Mother and continuation of life on our planet.  The seeds start as babies, as newborns who require great attention and care until they are big enough to survive on their own, then they care for us humans.  My black corn plants grow about 12' high and produce one or two ears per plant. Husks are deep purple.  

Where can folks get this plant if they wanted to steward it?
I want to share my seeds and I'm interested in pooling my seeds with seeds grown from another seed source to expand the genetic base so the variety stays healthy.

Ancient Peruvian Annual Seed Ceremony

Every year farmers and community members dress in their best clothes and carry their seeds from Bolivia, Ecuador, the Andes, and Jungle to a place in the Peruvian Andes.  On June 21, a ceremony begins with blessings and attendees sing and dance. After blessings, seeds are exchanged during this ritual. On their way home, people leave some seeds along the way and take the rest to plant in their region.

This ritual is now being revived in some areas.
Many hands make for light work, and a few donations can keep Cool Beans! coming to your inbox!

We are a 100% volunteer organization and all of your money will go to hosting the website and paying for our e-subscription service for Cool Beans! Consider becoming a sustaining  at $5 a month. 

Contributions are tax-deductible through Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library's fiscal agent, Urban Tilth. 
The Earth Knows My Name
by Patricia Klinedienst
Reviewed by Hillie Salo
Silicon Valley Grows , Silicon Valley, California, USA

"Not only was my family's past not a blank, it had been shaped by the tragic force of history." 

In The Earth Knows My Name, Patricia Klinedienst shares the stories of eight gardens across the country, in addition to her own family story. Listening to these stories, she realizes she is hearing "a people's history of America and the making of Americans." Each point in history is not alone and PK gives us a historical context with which we can look at each garden not alone, but as part of the continuum.

We learn the stories of Ralph Middleton who is growing Indigo on St Helena Island, a crop grown there by ancestral Gullah people two hundred years ago. And Whit Davis, whose English ancestors, the Stantons farmed the area in 1654. He grows "Indian white flint corn" with which he cooks johnnycakes for the Mohegan tribe at their annual Wigwam.

When Patricia Klinedienst was given a photo of her mother as a child with her family standing behind a local newspaper announcing "Sacco and Vancetti were put to death early this morning", she was stirred to begin a journey of discovery. Her curiosity peaked, she was directed to The Letters of Sacco and Vanzetti. Sacco and Vanzetti were Italian immigrants in the 1920s and became an "cause célèbre" as many thought them to be innocent of the crimes accused and victims of the immigrant bashing of the time.

In his letters, Vanzetti, in his darkest hour speaks beautifully of his father's gardens back in Italy, exploring every detail: "the wonder of the garden's wonders is the banks of its paths. Hundreds of grass leaves of wild flowers witness there the almighty genius of the universal architect-reflecting the sky, the sun , the moon, the stars, all of its lights and colors. The forget-me-nots are nations there, and nations are the wild daisies."

Patricia Klinedienst notes "if a garden holds this power for the gardener in a moment of extremity, might it hold this power at all times". Most tales of immigrants focus on immigrant as victim and she wonders what about "the immigrant as a gardener - a person who shapes the world rather than simply being shaped by it?"

Submit Resources for Next Issue!
TBD  -  December 2019 Issue
A special story about a seed is often one way people get excited about stewarding a particular variety. How do you engage your community around stories of seeds? We'd love to hear!

Please include your name and the name of your seed library, town/city, province/state, and county. 

Give us your input for future issues. We are planning the 2020 issues now. Have an idea?  Email us

Email us  information by September 15, 2019. 
tipsfromfieldTips from the Fields
Have a tip you'd like to share about what works? What didn't? Let us know. We'd love to share your ideas.
FeedbackFeedback for this issue? 
Ideas for the next issue?
This Issue: Seed Stories
What do you do to collect and share stories about seeds in your community?

Next Issue: To Be Determined - Email us suggestions

Fill in this survey. Tips on what you do will be included in News from the Field to benefit others.
Seed Saving Courses
Two-Day Seed School with Penn and Cord
Denver, CO, USA
October 4 and 5
$145 public, $125 DBG Members
Denver Botanic Gardens  

Seed School
Denver, CO, USA
October 20-25, 2019
Featuring Don Tipping; Siskyou Seeds and Rowen White; Indigenous Seedkeepers Network
Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance & Global Seed Savers

Seed School Online
Self-paced, online course
Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance and Urban Farm

Offering a day long seed saving class?
Let us know and we'll include it in 
Cool Beans! and our Facebook page.
Seedy Events
9th Annual Seed Library Summit 
Sept. 11, 2019
National Heirloom Expo Santa Rosa, CA, USA

June 22-Sept. 22, 2019
Albuquerque, NM, USA

Offering a day long  seed celebration or meeting?
We're happy to share it. Email us.

730+ Open!
Sister Seed Libraries
- Have you opened?  
- Added branches?  
- Created a website?

Check the Sister Libraries List to see if your information is accurate and to find other libraries near you. Fill in this survey to help us keep the list accurate.

Seed Libraries Association
-  Resources on how to start & manage a seed library
-  Sister Seed Libraries pages
-  Inspirational projects associated with seed libraries
Banner Photo
Whipple beans 
by Electra de Peyster, Community Seed Exchange, Sebastopol, Calif., USA

Do you have a banner bean photo you'd like included? Email us.  Let us know the variety, your name, location, and if you are associated with a seed project.