Saturday, June 21, 2008

Seeding Hawai'i's Future

If the 6th Annual Seed Exchange at Amy B.H. Greenwell Garden was any indication, Big Island gardeners are eager to grow all kinds of edibles, and that bodes well in the current push for sustainability in Hawai'i. Farmers, school gardens, community gardens and gardeners-at-large offered abundant seeds and cuttings to satisfy all appetites for homegrown vegetables and herbs, and they dispensed helpful advice for growing, too.

Nancy Redfeather and Jerry Konanui opened the event, welcoming festival-goers who brought gifts of fruit from their gardens to share with the community that had gathered that day.

After the presentation of the festival's theme of the creative power of fire, there were two exquisite hula performances. This introduction was barely over when the seeding frenzy began, however. The crowd was elbow-to-elbow, crammed into the tents; gardeners were buzzing about like honeybees, collecting their botanical treasures, filling baskets, bags, and envelopes with seeds and cuttings and talking story with fellow growers.

There were also excellent expert lectures, on topics such as seed saving and ways to create abundant gardens. Personally, I saw very little in the way of exchange per se; more frequent was the altruistic generosity of the festival participants who asked for nothing in return and freely gave propagation material to any member of the general public who wanted it. The true spirit of aloha came alive through spontaneous, thoughtful action. Each seed that was passed to a new gardener was planted in the sincere heart of someone seeking to grow more food for themselves and their community.

As it happens with many transforming experiences, sometimes pictures tell the best stories….

...beans, Hawaiian poppy, tulsi brahma (purple)...


...locally grown cacao seed...


...seeds for medicinals: olena (tumeric), organic tobacco grown in Honaunau; okra seed...


...tropical 'sun hemp,' a nitrogen-fixing, green manure cover crop...


...jackfruit tasting: savoring the 'ono flesh, then saving the seed...


...Know Your Farmers Alliance was there, of course...


...and perhaps even you were there. If not, hope to see you next year!

2 comments:

Lucy Jones said...

Aloha, Janice!
Yes, I was there, too! I won't try to cover the things you did, but I'll add a few pictures that offer different shots of the gathering. I looked for you because I wanted you to sign my book, but I left around 10:00 and signing wasn't until 11:30, I think. We'll get to meet sometime, I'm sure.
Lucy

Janice said...

Hope you got some great material for your garden, Lucy...sorry we missed each other! Nice wide shots on your blog to document the event. A hui hou...