Saving our Heirloom Seeds
Seeds are getting ready to sprout, and the Kent Historical Society wants everyone to be ready for spring planting. In another of its continuing “Sunday Series” presentations, the Kent Historical Society, in collaboration with the Kent Garden Club, hosted Ken Greene, founder of the Hudson Valley Seed Library, who presented the hows and whys of preserving and growing heirloom seeds. The lecture was held on Sunday, March 22, 2015 at the Kent Town Hall.
Like all great libraries, the Hudson Valley Seed Library is filled with stories that have become essential elements of regional culture. But this library is dedicated to the most important part of our horticultural heritage: seeds. Unlike heirloom antiques, seeds are alive and always changing. Their ever-evolving nature has led to the diversity of flowers, vegetables and herbs still with us today. Ken Greene is founder of the Hudson Valley Seed Library, a project he germinated in a small town library that has now blossomed into a company and farm devoted to producing organic seed for home gardeners and farmers and fostering a regional seed-saving community.
Greene is a tireless advocate for seed diversity, security, and sovereignty and the cultural stories that celebrate our farms and gardens. His engaging presentation explored new ways of keeping our seed heritage alive, from restoration to preservation, and growing the heirlooms of tomorrow. He is on the board of directors for Organic Seed Alliance and has given presentations at the NOFA-NY conference, Seed Savers Exchange, Young Farmers Conference, Culinary Institute of America, Organic Seed Conference, National Heirloom Expo, Cornell and many other organizations.
Hudson Valley Seed Library also celebrates seeds through art, and annually commissions original art for a select number of unique seed packs in its catalog. For the 2015 collection, over 400 artists applied for only 16 available commissions. Greene displayed some of the contemporary art commissioned by the Seed Library along with photos of the Seed Library Farm, in addition to speaking about easy, beautiful and tasty heirloom varieties for gardeners to grow at home.
Hudson Valley Seed Library memberships and a wide variety of vegetable and flower seeds from the 2015 collection were available for purchase following the program. A portion of the proceeds benefit the Kent Historical Society.
A $1,500 grant to the Kent Historical Society awarded by Connecticut Humanities is supporting this year’s Sunday Series events. Connecticut Humanities, a nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, supports cultural and historic organizations that tell the state’s stories, build community and enrich lives.
The program was free and open to the public.
The Kent Historical Society’s mission is to collect, preserve, interpret and present the rich history of Kent as well as to provide educational and research material to enrich the public understanding of Kent’s artistic and cultural heritage.
“If every seed is a story, then every garden is a work of art bringing those stories to life.”