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A Seed Library Grows in the Hudson Valley

There is a lot of talk these days about the need for more new entrants willing to fill in when older farmers retire (the average age of farmers in this country is 57 years old). But there has not been much discussion about rebuilding the support system, from infrastructure to community, that will keep those young farmers on the land.

The Hudson Valley Seed Library is an example of an effort that does both of these things–building community by supporting member-growers, employing local artists who design their seed packages, and holding events–like an art opening for this year’s “Art Pack” designs taking place at the Horticultural Society of New York this Thursday evening (more info below)–as well as providing a service to local growers: regionally adapted seeds. I spoke to Ken Greene this week about their work. Read more

The Seeds of a New Economy

With the economy in shambles and banks closing across the country, a ray of light has appeared: a former bank in Petaluma, California has been reborn as a new heirloom seed bank. And the timing could not be better. From the White House garden to your garden, growth in the good food movement, coupled with a recession and concerns about food safety, has led to a resurgence in seed sales and revived interest in growing, canning and cooking your own. Imagine: out of the failing financial institutions languishing on the Main Streets of America, real economic stability and prosperity taking root and blooming. Empty banks across the country could be transformed into warehouses of independence and sustainability. Read more

Farmers + Fashionistas = Sex and the Country?

My style is more Birkenstock than Birkin bag, so Fashion Week doesn’t do much for me. You know the Shopocalypse has arrived when designers go dumpster diving for shoulder pads in the Dynasty/Dallas dustbin. Padded assets in this Grapes of Graft depression? Dust Bowl duds, à la the Waltons, would be more fitting for the hard times ahead.

But the John Patrick Organic fashion show managed to bypass both eighties excess and seventies scarcity and find fertile ground in “Green Acres,” the sixties spoof starring Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor as neophyte homesteaders. I knew this wouldn’t be a run-of-the-mill runway show because (a) it featured a “young farmer bake sale,” and (b) the invite came from Greenhorns director Severine Von Tscharner Fleming. Read more