Thursday, September 23, 2021

Planting the seeds of community growth

OROVILLE – Dunstone Memorial Hall was busy on Sunday afternoon with master gardeners, gardeners, farmers, backyard gardeners and plant lovers of all kinds attending the 4th Annual Seed Exchange at the Auroville Botanical Gardens and Education Center.

“One way to build a community is to plant gardens. The garden brings people together. This is the fourth time we have hosted the event and each time more people attend which reinforces the idea that it is a good idea to organize a seed exchange.

The meeting room in the Memorial Hall had four long tables, one for winter seeds, one for summer seeds, one for flower seeds and one for herbal seeds. A few tables also had plant start and bulbs. There were pens and small empty envelopes on the table so people could make packets of seeds so they could plant trees.

“I believe in food sovereignty,” said participant Mairin Cooley. “Seed exchange is a way to achieve this.”

Myra Blasi, who recently moved to the area from Southern California, was busy making winter tables and labels in pumpkin packets, Kohlerby. Squash and mulberry seeds.

“This is my first time (joining in exchange for a seed). That’s really cool. I like it, ”he said.

Paul Colvin, owner of a small farm in Paradise, said he came in exchange for seeds to see if he could find something “out of the ordinary.”

Kayla Sanford, Alicia Sandoval and Tania Sparling had a “Girls Day Out” in exchange for seeds.

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“It’s really very neat,” Sandoval said of the event. “It’s nice to know there’s something like this in town.”

Among the flower seeds Sparling collected were “Chinese House”, “Mock Orange” and “Double French Marigold”, Sunford collected some lavender seeds and “Curry Soup Pumpkin” seeds he had never seen before.

Gardeners have shared tips and knowledge on a variety of growing and gardening topics, how to start a herbal seed and which one grows best in this climate.

Laurie Shepard, a new OBGEC member and owner of Oro Garden Nursery, was the only nursery vendor who brought a truck and trailer for the event, ranging from baby olive trees to citronella trees.

“This is the first time I’ve been to this event, so I’ve brought flowers, succulents, trees – everything for people. The Botanic Garden does it very well, ”he said.

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There was no charge to participate in the event and seeds, plant start and bulbs were all free, you brought seeds to exchange or just came to collect seeds, the nonprofit was receiving OBGEC grants, selling T-shirts, plants and olives oil as well as new in the afternoon Members sign up.

With the success of Sunday’s event, Hartwigsen said OBGEC would host the annual fall exchange but would add a second exchange in the spring of 2022.

Planting the seeds of community growth
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