Seed Swappin’

One of the goals of our Mother Garden Biodiversity & Nursery program is to conserve agricultural biodiversity and share it with the broader public through seed saving and Plant Sales. At the seed exchanges we host each year (such as at the Ecological Farming Conference or the Sebastopol Grange), OAEC gives away over 100 pounds of seed and may offer up to 60 varieties of crops! One 3-pound jar of amaranth seeds alone contains 1.8 million seeds. OAEC’s garden team Doug Gosling and Michelle Vesser are always present at the exchanges to answer questions.

We are proud to help share the wealth of our common plant heritage and hope you will join us for our next swap!


OAEC Seed ExchangeDoug Gosling‘s Tribute to Seeds

Garden Biodiversity & Nursery Program Director Doug Gosling is passionate about preserving plant biodiversity through seed saving. Enjoy this beautiful poem he wrote about the miracle of seeds for the Opening Circle of the 17th Annual Ecological Farming Conference Seed Exchange in Monterey, California:


Invocation to the Seed

We have not existed apart from you.  We would not exist without you.  We cannot survive without you.

You are the germ!  You are the grain!

You wait in the darkness of earth many, many times longer than you might live above ground. What are you doing down there?  What are you dreaming down there?

You are so many brilliant ideas waiting to happen, wanting to happen, all the while holding the memory of your old stories.

You have been beckoned by the Moon, invigorated by showers, lit by the sun and sung by our Tribes into being.

You’ve been scarred and split open into birth by scarification, frozen in permafrost, sparked by the wildest of fires.

You have survived the hostile acids of the gut and the ferment of the moldering mother fruit.

You are the kernel of our food and medicine, dye and fiber.  You sprout, rise up and unfold into our shade.

You are the germ of the blossoms gathered into our most beautiful bouquets that hold the germs of the blossoms of our most beautiful bouquets.

You float the lightest breeze and fly the Jetstreams. You have stuck-tight to the nap of the backs of the furriest ones and hitch-hiked on feathers.

You have floated from source to mouth of the great rivers and fallen over seething waterfalls.  You’ve been held inside bladders rafting round whole oceans.

You have been released in clouds, parachuted and helicoptered to safe landings, exploded from splitting legumes, catapulted from capsules.

You have been shucked and threshed from your mother’s ovaries and been winnowed by human breath.

You have been folded into cuffs, carried lovingly to new lands.  You’ve been smuggled across borders.

You have circulated as currency.

You have been grateful in our marriage with your generosity and offered hope and given us Faith even in these Dark Times.

You are embedded in our history and we are inseparable from yours.

We would not exist with out you!  And you would not exist without us!  We must honor you for who you are.

Bless the seeds and bless us.  Make them a part of your story and may you be a part of theirs.  And remember, when you take seeds tonight, you have a responsibility to honor them for who they are.