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News from the Conservation Farm: Apprentice Updates

The News from the Conservation Farm Blog posts are written by the 2013 farm apprentices Danielle, Matt, Pablo, Travis, and Francesca.

Since early April, the Native Seed/SEARCH Conservation Farm has been home to a new team of awesome apprentices. Through this blog, we will bring you regular updates of our activities on the farm, and share our photos, recipes and ideas.

Famine-Stricken Tarahumara Reunited with Native Seeds from NS/S Collection

The Tarahumara Indians occupy remote slopes and deep canyons of the Sierra Madre of Chihuahua and Durango, Mexico, where they have retreated from the oppression of the modern world. Also known as the Rarámuri, or “foot-runners,” they are renowned long-distance runners with incredible endurance often fueled by consuming pinole made from their traditional popcorn and energy-boosting drinks from their native Chia seeds. They are also highly proficient dry-land subsistence farmers growing diverse crop varieties from seed handed down through generations.

Tepary Bean Recipe Handout Page 1
Tepary Bean Recipe Handout Page 2

Tarahumara families grow nearly all their own food, relying on the beneficence of nature for their survival. However, a decade-long drought combined with unseasonable cold snaps has challenged even the resourcefulness of these indigenous farmers and their hardy seeds. These climate extremes have taken a toll on the Tarahumara, who are now facing serious food shortages after repeated crop failures. As the crisis deepens, desperation has set in. Some villagers are beginning to leave their traditional lives to find work in the cities, while others struggle to survive on dwindling reserves.

The Story of Glass Gem Corn: Beauty, History, and Hope

If you’ve spent any time online recently, you might have noticed a striking photo making its rounds. Feast your eyes on Glass Gem corn: a stunning, multi-colored variety that has taken Facebook and the blogosphere by storm. With its opalescent kernels glimmering like rare jewels, it’s easy to see what the buzz is about. This is some truly mind-blowing maize.

For the staff here at Native Seeds/SEARCH, the viral explosion of interest in Glass Gem has been thrilling—but not surprising. As the proud stewards of this variety (along with the bioregional seed company, Seeds Trust) we are lucky enough to have grown and admired this extraordinary corn ourselves. Rest assured, this is no Photoshop sham. It is truly as stunning held in your your hand as it is on your computer screen. When you peel back the husk from a freshly harvested ear to reveal the rainbow of colors inside, it’s like unwrapping a magical present. And this is a gift that is meant to be shared far and wide.

Upcoming Events

Native Seeds/SEARCH Events

 

Seed Processing Work Day

Native Seeds/SEARCH Conservation Center, 3584 E. River Road in Tucson
Saturday, March 4 from 12 to 4 PM
We had excellent harvests from 2016 mean we have LOTS of seed to process and clean. Come help out and learn about seed saving. No RSVP required. Come for all or part of the event. Children welcome but must be accompanied by an adult.

Farm Field Day

Native Seeds/SEARCH Conservation Farm in Patagonia
March 25th
SAVE THE DATE! Details to come.

Basics of Seed Saving

Native Seeds/SEARCH Conservation Center, 3584 E. River Road in Tucson
May 6 - 7, 2017
9 AM to 4 PM each day.
$135 for NS/S Members and $145 for Non-Members. Lunch is included.
This 2-day course is for gardeners, farmers, herbalists, nurseries, CSAs, non-profits, government agencies and everyone concerned with regional, sustainable and diverse agriculture. Scholarships for the course are available to those who have previously participated in our Community Seed Grant Program or Native American Seed Request program. Please email Melissa, Education Coordinator, for scholarship information. Scholarship requests are due by April 15, 2017.  Register here

Arid Abundance Community Potlucks

Native Seeds/SEARCH Conservation Center, 3584 E. River Road in Tucson
Every 3rd Thursday of the Month
5:30 PM to 8 PM, Seed Bank and Garden tours begin at 5:30, Potluck and Food Demonstrations at 6.
Every month we focus on a different food plant that either grows wild or is commonly cultivated in our arid climate. We encourage attendees to bring dishes with Sonoran ingredients, every potluck is an educational opportunity to learn how to identify, cultivate, harvest, and use the many food plants that are present throughout the local landscape. Free event, all ages welcome.

March 16th Cholla Buds
April 20th Edible desert flowers
May 18th Palo Verde/ Ironwood
June 15th Nopales (Prickly Pear pads)
July 20th Mesquite beans

 

Where to find Native Seeds/SEARCH in the community

Come visit us at community events throughout the Southwest. Contact us at info@nativeseeds.org if you are interested in hosting NS/S at a community event such as a public talk, festival, or farmer's market.  Please include location, time, possible honorarium, and details about the type of audience and expected number of individuals. We will do our best to accommodate your request.

 

Cochise County Master Gardeners Conference

Thursday, March 9
Sierra Vista, Arizona
Conference and registration details here.

 

Ajo Food Festival - Information Booth, Retail, and Food Samples

Saturday, March 11
Ajo, Arizona

 

Tucson Festival of Books - Science City

Sunday, March 11-12
University of Arizona Campus.  Look for us in the Science of Food tent at Science City on the east end of the festival.

 

 

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