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It's with great pride that I announce the Seed Library at the McCowan Memorial Library in Pitman, New Jersey will go live on February 22, 2014. I want to thank Sharon Furgason, the Director of the library for her enthusiasm and passion. Sharon's always looking for ways to benefit her library and the community. She also understands how important seeds are to preserving biodiversity. When I asked Sharon if she would be interested in doing this, she answered without hesitation with an unqualified yes. She's an asset to the library, and the community, and I'm proud to call her my friend too.

We are working on a listening event with the community during the first week of February. In September of 2013, we had a soft launch at a book sale during a craft show. I got some great feedback from the community at that time, and since the Seed Library will serve the community, the community should have input into it. Community building is so important, and seed saving offers an opportunity for that. We're meeting with the Garden Club, the county Mater Gardeners, members of the library, and invitations are going out the teacher who is facilitating the art contest, the leadership of the local VFW post, and the local food bank.

Another acknowledgment I'm happy to make is to Alexandra Barilotti, the art teach who is facilitating the art contest we're having for the packaging for the Seed Library. The people who check out their seeds will leave the library with a standard letter envelope. The envelope will contain the seeds they checked out, return envelopes for the seeds they collect, and letter with some basic instructions. The art on the outside of the standard letter envelope, and on the letter inside will be the winner of the art contest. The art contest was Alexandra's idea, and I loved it from the moment she suggested it. She's been great to work with, her students and her school are fortunate to have her. The art work will be on display in the library when the Seed Library launches, and the library community will vote on it to determine what they feel best represents their community. Until a winner is picked, and the envelopes printed, we will use plain white envelopes and paper.

Another thank you the Garden Club for hosting the community meeting. I look forward to working with them.

That's it for now. There's been some interesting developments on the Historic Seed Map with a creative writing class I'm working with, which I'll be writing about soon. Great things are happening here, and I'm grateful to everyone helping me. It inspires me to continue this work.

 

 

AUTHENTIC_SEEDThe Authentic Jersey Tomato Seed Collection is the first result of the Historic Seed Map (HSM) I'm working on for the Library Seed Bank (LSB). It was interesting to me that there were three major seed farms with 40 miles of the Seed Library at the McCowan Memorial Library. I didn't know about them, and from my conversations with others in the area, neither did they.

When I first had the idea of a seed map, I thought a reference source for what was historically grown locally would help people with their seed selection. In this case, not only were these tomato varieties grown locally, they were developed here also. Something else occurred to me talking to fellow gardeners, since they didn't know about the seed farms, they also didn't know about the varieties these developed locally. This collection will correct that disconnect.

People know the Rutgers tomato, and rightfully so. It's a wonderful tomato, disease resistant, prolific, tasty and plants that are easy to manage since they are more compact than some heirlooms.

I'm excited by this. It's an appropriate start to the process for the HSM. So much more to come. I just scratched the surface with this. In no particular order, here is the Authentic Jersey Tomato Seed Collection.

Jersey Giant
This tomato is very rare and under the threat of extinction according to Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, a leader in seed saving and advocacy. We here at the LSB being based in New Jersey will do what it takes, growing these every year to keep it going. I encourage you to do so also.
Seed source:
http://www.rareseeds.com/jersey-giant-tomato/?F_Keyword=Jersey%20Giant

Rutgers
Developed by the NJ Agricultural Experiment Station in 1928, rereleased in 1943, what exists today -- Is a cross between Mariglobe and J.T.D. named for John Thompson Dorrance who invented the condensed soup.
Wonderful tomato, very prolific, closer to a bush variety
Seed source;
J.T.D - http://www.victoryseeds.com/tomato_jtd.html
Rutgers - http://www.victoryseeds.com/tomato_rutgers.html
Rutgers seeds are available from many seed sources,

Campbells 146
I can’t find much about this tomato except for the following; -- mid, SD, 7 oz., semi-sweet, globe-shaped fruit, red, canning-type. That description is from the seed source at Sandhill Preservation Center.
Seed source;
Once you click on the link below, scroll down
http://www.sandhillpreservation.com/catalog/tomato.html

Maule’s Success
Released in 1900
Seed source;
http://www.victoryseeds.com/tomato_maules-success.html

Golden Jubilee Tomato
Introduced in 1947, a yellow-orange tomato introduced by the Maule Seed Company of Philadelphia. Maule's seed farm was in Newfield, New Jersey.
Seed source;
http://www.ufseeds.com/Golden-Jubilee-Tomatoes.item

Marglobe
Stokes's catalog from 1926 boasts:

Our firm had the great honor of Ieading the commercial development of MargIobe -- Our present acreage for seed, although unusually heavy, it will scarcely be equal to the demands that are being made upon it. Advance sales are unprecedented.

Developed in 1917 by the USDA, and released in 1925 and is a parent for a lot of other varieties. It has strong disease resistance. Stokes Seed Company at the time they developed the Marglobe was in Moorestown, New Jersey.
Seed source;
http://www.victoryseeds.com/tomato_marglobe.html

Earliana
A very early tomato, developed by George Sparks of Salem, NJ and introduced in 1900 by Johnson and Stokes
Seed source;
http://store.tomatofest.com/Earliana_Tomato_Seeds_p/tf- 0153f.htm

June Pink
A pink version of Earliana
Seed source;
http://store.tomatofest.com/June_Pink_Tomato_Seeds_p/ tf-0273k.htm 

Box Care Willie
Late season beefsteak, red/ orange color. Starts growing slow, 10 oz fruits. Very flavorful.
Seed source;
http://store.tomatofest.com/Boxcar_Willie_Tomato_ Seeds_p/tf-0075.htm

Red Barn
Large red, beefsteak, very rare
Seed source;
Once you click on the link below, scroll down http://www.sandhillpreservation.com/catalog/tomato.html

Mule Team
Prolific with a long season
Seed source;
http://www.southernexposure.com/mule-team-tomato-016- g-p-347.htm

Big Zac
A pink tomato bred for its size can grow 4 pounds to 6 pounds, and still taste very good bred by Minnie Zaccaria.
Seed source;
http://www.totallytomato.com/dp.asp?pID=00087&c=41

Valiant
A variety developed by Stokes Seed Company in the 1930s.
Seed source:
http://www.sandhillpreservation.com/catalog/tomato.html

Purple Brandywine
Introduced in 1995, it's a stable cross of Brandywine and Marizol Purple.
Seed source;
http://store.tomatofest.com/Brandywine_Purple_p/tf-0082.htm

Jersey Devil
Paste type that was one a mainstay of the tomato industry in New Jersey.
Seed source:
http://www.rareseeds.com/jersey-devil-tomato/?F_Keyword=Jersey%20Devil

Trucker's Favorite
Originated in Burlington County, New Jersey by Burpee.
From Burpee's 1899 catalog:

The best of all main-crop purple-colored tomatoes. It originated in Burlington County, N.J."It is one of the largest tomatoes grown, and is most regular in shape and size. Color purplish-red, very solid, firm flesh, a good keeper, and not subject to rot or crack on the vines. It is an excellent shipper, and sold in Philadelphia markets at better prices than any other variety offered at the same time. Ripens evenly to the stem, is a strong, healthy grower, not subject to rust or blight, is an enormous cropper, and produces until the vines are killed by frost, holding its size exceedingly well until the last picking. The quality is of the very best, and for cooking and slicing purpose it cannot be excelled. It is in every way a most desirable variety for market gardeners, and hence the name, 'Trucker's Favorite'. "

While not a tomato that was developed by a New Jersey based seed farm, it has historical significance.

Seed source;
http://www.totallytomato.com/dp.asp?pID=00782&c=39&p=Truckers+Favorite+Tomato

White Rabbit
A small, currant type white tomato.
Seed source;
http://www.amishlandseeds.com/tomatoes_colors.htm#white

Ramapo Tomato
A flavorful tomato introduced by Rutgers in 1968. Rutgers controls the distribution of the seeds.
Scroll down to order form.
http://njfarmfresh.rutgers.edu/RamapoTomato.htm

While not a variety developed locally, this tomato is a historic variety worth including on this list. Imagine if these plants were grown continually in New Jersey since 1870.

Paragon
Introduced in 1870 by the Livingston Seed Company of Ohio, Paragon was a mainstay of the NJ tomato industry.
Seed source;
http://store.tomatofest.com/Paragon_Livingston_Heirloom_ Tomato_Seeds_p/tf-0371.htm

 

Photo and graphic of plant seedsProfits, by their nature are positive. According to Merriam-Webster.com the first definition of profit is 1. :  a valuable return :  gain. In general, profits are associated with business, and for some, that has a negative connotation. In his book Creating a World Without Poverty,  Muhammand Yunnus presented the his case for social businesses. He lays out a foundation a business can have a social impact and it's a matter of the choices that people make when setting and running their business on how they generate profits, and what they do with those profits. This book, and this theory has had a tremendous impact in my life. It inspired me to look up the definition of profit where I found there was another meaning that didn't apply to money. That has stuck with me, and now I have the application for it with my work here at the Library Seed Bank (LSB).

I've spent decades working in communications, most of it implementing marketing plans that were for monetary profit. That's business, and the strategies that are used, when done right, are very effective. It didn't occur to me how the research I was doing for the Historic Seed Map (HSM), and these business-based strategies would merge into a divine application where biodiversity would be the profit.

Market Research
A lot of time and money is spent on market research. Collecting data about your audience is important. To be effective, you have to know what appeals to your audience so you can deliver to them your message using the proper words, tone, fonts and colors.

I've realized the research I'm doing for the HSM by using old seed catalog, provides a lot of data about biodiversity. Old seed catalogs are a wealth of information. According to the Agriculture Almanac for the Year 1945 from John Bae's Sons, Inc of Lancaster PA;

The seed catalog is therefore a current encyclopedia of gardening, revised, and brought up to date each year. Some are so complete as to be preferred reference books in agriculture schools.

The wide array of seeds the seed companies offered is biodiversity in black and white. Throw off all limitations and conventions and follow me here. Let's look at biodiversity as an audience and think how can the successful marketing communication strategies that businesses use to generate monetary profits be used to provide profits, such as a valuable return or gain, for biodiversity by saving seeds. By removing the conventional definition of profit relating only to money, this opens up a new playing field. It allows for a new way to position seed saving advocacy, and my part in it.

Applying the market research
From the research for New Jersey, the first state for the HSM, I discovered that there were three major seed farms within a 40 mile radius of the first seed library connected to the LSB. These seed farms were active in the early 1900s. While not a native Jersey boy, I've lived here 95% of my life. I grew up around farms, and gardens, and in the course of it all, I've learned a lot about the agriculture history here. I didn't know about the seed farms, and from conversations with some locals, neither did they. To me, these seed farms are a significant piece of history. History is information. Information drives marketing plans. So, put this information behind the wheel, and let it drive. And, I'm glad I did.

Here in New Jersey, we have the Sopranos. We have Bruce and Bon Jovi. We have exits off the New Jersey Turnpike, and the Garden State Parkway that a lot of natives use to identify where they live. We also have our beloved Jersey Tomato. Local pride is a wonderful thing, and even more so, when that pride is grown in the native soil. While tomatoes didn't originate here, we love them, and they love it here. You can tell they do by the way they grow here. It's a great symbiotic relationship. Tomatoes have also played a significant role in New Jersey's agricultural history.

Thanks to a chemist named Dr. John Dorance, who invented the condensed soup process, and who grew  tomatoes on his farm in Cinnaminson, New Jersey, we have Campbell's Tomato Soup. For those who aren't familiar, Campbell's is headquartered in Camden, New Jersey, and Cinnaminson is approximately ten miles away. Camden is 15 miles from the Pitman where the first seed library will be.Cinnaminson is also 5 miles from on where one of the seed farms were. Dorance also saved his tomato seeds, and gave them to farmers so there would be a consistent crop.

Campbell's Soup drove tomato production in southern New Jersey in the early 1900s. Without Jersey tomatoes, there wouldn't be Campbell's Tomato Soup, which is a iconic American food product. It's the soup most frequently associated with the condensed soup process. Also, paired with a grilled cheese, it's a top choice of comfort food. When Andy Wharhol immortalized this American icon with his Campbell's Soup Cans in 1962, in a way, he immortalized the Jersey tomato with them.

Product development
Enter the Authentic Jersey Tomato Seed Collection. A seed collection based on local history is by no means unique. What's unique about this collection is that tomatoes, or vegetables, are generally not categorized by where they originated, especially with varieties that were developed with 20 miles of where gardener are acquiring the seeds.

These seed farms developing varieties of a source of local pride (the Jersey tomato), is a bridge from the pre-industrial food complex past to the current focus of locally sourced food, is a product development dream come true.

I don't know how many other areas had a such concentration of seed farms in a local area, and as I mentioned above, it's not common knowledge in this area that these seeds farms existed. Looking at the research about the seed farms, with biodiversity as my audience, and with profits being the valuable return or gain, provided the base for product development, in this case the Authentic Jersey Tomato Seed Collection.

Consumer touch point – Point of purchase or POP
This is where the market research and product development come together. When someone checks out a package of seeds, they are the consumer, and the seed library is the point of purchase. Since we're using the Authentic Jersey Tomato Seed Collection as our model, let's take a look at how this information will be delivered to the consumers, with the greatest impact being a profit for biodiversity.

A list will be presented to consumer about the seeds from this collection that are available. Included on that list will be the tomatoes varieties that are extinct. Seeing this in black and white will have a big impact to the consumer. Included will be a brief explanation about how important their role as a seed saver will be in providing the profit (a valuable return or gain) for biodiversity. Simple, direct and effective. As is the end result of all successful business marketing techniques that drive monetary profits.

A solid model for community building with seeds emerges the closer I get to the launch of my first seed library. It's been a fascinating process, and it provides a good path forward future seed libraries. Each community is different, and this model is guide that could be adapted to reflect the community the seed library will serve.

This seed library in Pitman, New Jersey started out as a seed library for lending and collecting seeds. As libraries have evolved into community centers in the digital age, seed libraries offer an opportunity for community building. As I explored the possibilities of building the Library Seed Bank into a more comprehensive project beyond the lending and collecting of seeds, one of the more intriguing part of this story so far is Pitman's location to a couple major seed farms that existed in the area in the early 1900s. Pitman is within a 40 mile radius of where the seed farms for Wm, H. Maule, Stokes Seed Farm, and Burpee were, and just three miles from a farming supply company, Orol Leden and Son, that had a wonderful seed room. Researching the catalogs from these companies led me to the fact that a lot of authentic Jersey tomatoes were bred around here. It seemed only natural to me that the seed library reflect this with the Authentic Jersey Tomato Seed Collection.

Since this seed library will be the first in New Jersey, and house this unique collection of seeds, also the first of its kind, I wanted to celebrate this with art. I approached the local school district with a suggestion for an art contest. It would be a good way to foster a relationship between the school or schools that would participate, and the library. The contest will let the parents of the kids who would participate  know about the seed library. I broached the subject of art contest with the school district, and intended to collaborate with the teachers about the specifics. Let the teachers teach. They are the professionals in education, I respect that, and what they could offer would be best for their students.

As it turns out. the teacher that I'm working had a wonderful suggestion for a contest for the seed package design at the seed library. SInce we're celebrating the Authentic Jersey Tomato Seed Collection, that's worthy of original art for the package. We're having a contest with 3rd to 5th graders for a generic seed library package design, and a design for the Authentic Jersey Tomato Seed Collection. I'm a graphic designer by trade, so this opportunity to work with young artists is a real gift to me.

An art contest need judges. Another opportunity for community building. The submissions for the art contest will be on display at the launch of the seed bank. Let the community vote for their choice. It's their seed library. It also adds to celebration of the what we're doing with the Seed Library. For the launch, generic coin envelopes will hold the seeds until the labels for the envelopes are printed with the art contest winners.

Will there be prizes? Yes, there will. We have a local hobby shop here that sells hobby and art supplies, so the prizes will be gift certificates from there. This brings a local business into the community fold. I should ask if we could display the art in the windows of the store after the exhibit is done at the library. There is a long section windows on the main street that are used for displays, and the store is right across the street from the library. See what the story did there. It presented that opportunity while I was telling it.

We had a soft launch of the Seed Library at the end of September at a book sale during an annual Craft Show. I got good feedback from the community. During my conversations with residents, they told me their ideas of what they wanted from the seed library. To follow up on that, we're having a listening session in the beginning of January 2014 for more feedback. The local community has already donated seeds. We've been embraced already, and we're just getting started.

We have a garden club here too, and they've been invited to participate with the Seed Library. To recap, we have the library, the town elementary school, a local business, a community group and some residents already involved. For a town of less than 10,000 residents, and less than 3 miles in diameter, that's a good reflection on the community here, and it creates the model for future seed libraries. Perhaps, I can figure out a way to get produce locally grown from seeds from the seed library to supply the food bank, and restaurants here. Perhaps the local V.F.W. chapter can use seeds to help their members. See, the story did it again. It gave me more possibilities I love possibilities. They make my day. That's why I listen to the story for the possibilities it has. It knows so much more about it them then I do. I'm just the lucky guy who makes them happen.

 

 

 

Given an opportunity, I take it. Given an opportunity to combine both of my passions, art and seeds, I become the luckiest guy around. Thrown in doing it at an institution with a special place in my heart, well, as the title says, it doesn't get any better.

Fleisher Art Memorial is a Philadelphia, PA art school that is a source of inspiration, creativity and community. It's in the Bella Vista neighborhood of Philly, right by the famous Italian Market. That neighborhood has long been a haven for immigrants starting with the Italians, and now with south-east Asians, and Mexicans. In the center of it all is this wonderful institution whose mission revolves around the humanity in all of us.

Fleisher's Mission Statement

The mission of the Fleisher Art Memorial is to make art accessible to everyone, regardless of economic means, background, or artistic experience.

I can attest to this, and Fleisher being a source of inspiration, creativity and community. In the '90s, I volunteered there. At that time, I was pursuing millinery as my medium for creative expression. I had hit a brick wall in my work, and I didn't know what to do. The artist that I was working with on an installation and performance art piece, and his assistant, a teaching artist at Fleisher, offered me advice at an informal critique one day that inspired me to continue my work. As it would be, I ended up having two hat shows at the Sanctuary, an old church which is a beautiful and dramatic space for events.

I can't say enough about what Fleisher means to me, so when a friend emailed me, and asked for recommendations for seeds that he needed for a seed bomb craft project there, I was overjoyed that I could give back to this wonderful institution. I let him know that the Library Seed Bank would be donating the seeds they needed, and I would be there to lend a hand. A volunteer tagged along with me on Staurday, and it was wonderful. What I experienced was exactly what I did in the '90s, and what Fleisher states as that it's a source for inspiration, creativity and community.

The project was to make seed bombs which are used for aerial reforestation. Seeds are bound into small balls with organic material that hold the seeds in place and provide nutrients as the organic material decomposes, These seeds can then be dropped into remote, arid of off-limit areas, usually done by airplanes. A seed grenade, as it was know when the concept originated in 1973 by Liz Christy as part of the Green Guerrillas, which became known as the guerilla gardening movement. These grenades were balloons filled with fertilizer and tomato seeds, and were thrown onto empty lots as a way to enhance the look of a neighborhood. There is a problem though with doing this with vegetable seeds if there is no one to care for them. The fruits can draw rats, and that only serves the rats.

Flowers though are a different story. That's they type of seed bomb we created on Saturday. Straw flowers and zinnias to be specific, as recommended to me by a Master Gardener with a thumb as green as they could be. When I arrived at Fleisher, the event was just starting, and the teachers were molding clay into these really neat sculptures as you can see from some of the photos below. Turtles, bunnies, birds nests, all of which that could be found in or around gardens in nature, The teachers encouraged the children to make the sculptures their own, and the children responded well as they sat, stood and created in the spirit of the community table.

It was a great day of inspiration, creativity and community, which is what Fleisher is all about. Hopefully, there will be events like this to come.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page of old seed catalogue.Research, like any process has a life of its own. When I came up with the idea for the Historic Seed Map, it was a simple one. I thought a reference tool  for everyone to use for when and where vegetable seeds were sold, would fill in some gaps of missing information. Since a lot of varieties have vanished, this map could illustrate that be contrasting what was sold, and what is presently available. If a grower or a seed librarian wanted to procure available seeds of historically grown local varieties, then they had tool to use for that information.

The map will be a nice complement to seed banks and seed libraries. The tag line for the Library Seed Bank (LSB), seeds and knowledge, nourishment for your soul, focuses on seeds and knowledge. Seeds are the storehouse of knowledge about of the plants they produce. Libraries are the storehouses of the knowledge that society produces. It was natural for me to work with this duality because nature has many dualities, and nature is my ultimate inspiration.

Once that inspiration kicks in, and as with everything in life, once you're  start something new, you bring the energy, and the story brings the content. I had no idea of what the story of the seed map would tell me. I just knew I was fortunate enough to listen and become its storyteller.

Since the first seed library is going into the McCowan Memorial Library in Pitman, New Jersey, it was logical for me to start the research into what New Jersey seed companies offered to the public is bygone eras. Three miles from the McCowan library was Oral Ledden and Sons, a farmer supply company with a large seed room that I spent time in as a child. The foreshadowing of that a number of decades ago in this story is awesome, and not in the slang use of the word. I knew had to honor that, and the fact that suddenly, I just happened to procure two catalogs, each from a different decade. Wink.

Immediately, those catalogs dealt me a straight flush which in poker is the best hand possible. My inclination to see the biggest picture possible, and this time it seemed the picture was bigger then that. From there I pivoted to Wm. H, Maule Seeds, a seed company which had its seed farm seventeen miles to the south from the library in Newfield, New Jersey. Next up, the Johnson & Stokes Seed Company, which became Stokes Seed company with their seed farm twenty five miles to the northeast of the library in Moorestown, New Jersey.  And finally, I found that Burpee had their Sunnybrook Acres Farm in Swedesboro, New Jersey eleven miles from the library. Tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers were grown at Sunnybrook.

Quite a start, and a good one at that. Along with the way, I've found some great anecdotes about the history of farming and agriculture in New Jersey, and the map will feature this kind of information when possible.

As I evaluate what I've come across, and see the gaps in the knowledge that's been lost in the past, and plan for the future, I see this project as one that will thrive and flourish like plants that will grow from the seeds that's it's about.

The results of this process do far has led to the following;

  • A collection of authentic Jersey tomatoes seeds at the seed library in PItman. We burst with pride here in Jersey about our tomatoes. Every  gardener will tell you they grow THE best tomatoes in their garden. And they do. Seriously, they do. The tomatoes they grow reflect what delights their senses, so like all gardeners, they grew the best vegetables for themselves because they grow what they like. It's just that here in Jersey our tomatoes are the best, period.There were three major seed farms within 40 miles of each other. Each one had their own development team working on seed lines. This lead to a decent number of tomato varieties being developed. This collection of authentic Jersey tomato seeds will reflect that.
  • I found varieties of tomatoes that are no longer around, but their parent lines are, and were listed in some catalogs. That's some information I didn't expect to find. This offers an opportunity to revive some vanished varieties. That's exciting to me.
  • In this previous post, I wrote about the Garden Journal, which will capture current information about people grow. If they submit them to LSB, a collection of local journals will become a large source of information for research. It will help prevent the missing information gap in what's been grown locally, and hopefully help with preservation projects.
  • I found some interesting information about a growing community here in southern New Jersey that appears to have demonstrated the principles of social businesses today. I have to follow this up. I wrote a three-part series, here, here, and here about what Lavazaa coffee is doing on a global level, and what Valley Girl Foodstuffs is doing at a local level as social businesses. This growing community seems to have been ahead of the curve.

So there you have it. I'm in awe of where this project will go. For now, that's all I have, and I couldn't be happier.

USA National Phenology Network logoI'm excited to announce a collaboration with the USA National Phenology Network. The story of how this came about follows.

The more I work with this project, the more it shows me the direction it wants to go in. While developing the documents for the Library Seed Bank (LSB), I decided to include a garden journal for many reasons. First and foremost journals provide a tremendous amount of first-hand information and insight. When I think of all the local historic gardening knowledge that's been lost, specifically what plants were grown, I think about the difference a collection journals would've made. Just think about the rich content and wonderful stories that we would have today.

cover image Library Seed Bank's Garden JournalTo follow that through on that thought, I decided to include a Garden Journal as a pdf form in LSB. This is so people who wanted to could keep a journal of their observations for themselves, and hopefully, submit them to LSB as part of the seed map since that will have a local focus. Also, if the public libraries that are participating want to keep them as reference, all the better. Since libraries are the original storehouses of knowledge. I'm drawing a lot of inspiration from that fact for this project, and the concept of this journal is a tribute to that. Concurrently, seeds a storehouse of genetic knowledge of the plants they are from. I find this synergy between seeds and libraries as storehouses of knowledge very cool.

The gardening seasons in my corner of New Jersey were quite odd weather wise. Enter climate change. It's here and now, and I have no time to waste with the deniers. This made think that it would be a good idea to include a section about the weather in the journal since it's plays such crucial role in how the gardening season turns out.

It was that point that I thought since I'm asking people to collect data about weather, why not see if it could help out the scientists who are studying climate change. I knew of the USA National Phenology Network. For those who don't know what phenology is, I'll  let the people at USA NPN explain it by this quote;

Phenology is nature’s calendar—when cherry trees bloom, when a robin builds its nest and when leaves turn color in the fall.

People are aware of these of wonders of nature, yet as I admit, until about 3 years ago, I didn't know it was a branch of science devoted to the study of them. In my daily conversations when I use the word phenology, most are not familiar, yet if I say something like quote above, or mention Henri David Thoreau, people get it right away. By the way, Thoreau's writings have been the basis of many experiments, and he's a tremendous inspiration for LSB.

I took a step back to observe. You see, I let stories of my life write themselves. It's taken a long time to learn to get out their way when they appear and still be aware of them. When they do appear, like this one, I saw a golden opportunity. Climate change is here. With its impact on our planet the rules are changing. I thought if I'm asking people to write their observations in their garden, like Thoreau, why not ask them to collect data for the good people at USANPN.  And that's what's going to happen. USANPN has a Nature's Notebook;

Nature's Notebook logo

Nature's Notebook gathers information on plant and animal phenology across the U.S. to be used for decision-making on local, national and global scales to ensure the continued vitality of our environment.

While the data points that USANPN uses are not agricultural, gardeners garden on many levels, so I'm sure there will be some data points in and around gardener's yards that they can observe and collect data. I see LSB's Garden Journal as a bridge to learning about phenology, encouraging people to collect data that will help scientists understand the impact of climate change, and fulfilling the original intent of collecting local gardening information and having it readily available.

To say I'm over the moon about this is an understatement.

 

Vandana Shiva is at forefront of seed advocacy. Please watch this video where she gives a thoughtful and passionate explanation of why she chose to become a seed advocate. It sums the state of the seed business and the challenges that seed collectors and farmers are up against.

Hello and welcome!

Thanks for stopping by the McCowan Memorial Library today, and for your interest in our program. The Library Seed Bank (LSB) is very excited and grateful the McCowan Memorial Library is so supportive of this new and innovative program.

The program will launch in early 2014. Please Like the McCowan Library's Facebook page for updates, or leave a comment on this post. To comment, you need to leave an email address which is not public. I will not sell it or use it for any other purpose except to inform you of the launch.

LSB is very excited about the New Jersey Heirloom Tomato Seed Collection that will be part of the Seed Library at McCowan, along with some other local, historic varieties.

Another thing we're excited about here at LSB is the The Garden Journal that will be launched with the Seed Library. The journal will be a pdf form that you can record you gardening experiences for your records, and if you choose to, submit them as part of the research connected to Historic Seed Map. With climate change upon us, a lot of the old rules might not apply going forward, and it would help capture any changes in phenology, which according to thefreedictionary.com;

1. The scientific study of periodic biological phenomena, such as flowering, breeding, and migration, in relation to climatic conditions.

This journal could help demonstrate the impact of climate change. Henri David Thoreau was a keen observer of nature, and is a primary source of inspiration for LSB. This journal is a tribute to him.

Check in with us on Sunday for updates about the progress of things here at LSB. The ground's been tilled, and the soil is fertile. Join us and help us grow.

Reference card for Library Seed Bank It's been a while since an update, and a lot has happened. Here goes.

As the centerpiece of the Library Seed Bank (LSB), I will create a Historical Seed Map by mapping old local seed companies using vintage seed catalogs.

Concurrently, this will be an interactive education tool to preserve the history of the varieties that were grown locally through the years. Also, it will be a guide for the local seed banks to identify these seeds as living history of their local area, and procure the varieties if they are still available

...continue reading "Historic Seed Map and Seed Bank Progress"