CLOSEUP: Exchanging seeds

News April 18, 2013 0 Comments

From left to right: Kleinman, Ainslie, Adornetto.

by Brian Rudnick

For the third year in a row, Joel Fath (not pictured) and Mira Adornetto of Philly Seed Exchange, set up their table top with seeds and small brown envelopes for packing and labeling seeds on a recent sunny, spring day outside the Weaver’s Way Coop in Mount Airy.

According to the organization’s website, phillyseedexchange.org, “Philadelphia Seed Exchange is a collective of gardeners and farmers in southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey dedicated to preserving open-pollinated species and developing new plant species to meet the nutrition and caloric needs of our neighborhoods.”

The Exchange hosts events like this in different neighborhoods and encourages people to both bring and take seeds although it is not necessary to contribute any seeds to take some. They ask only that participants grow out the plants from the seeds they take and harvest some of the seeds to bring back to the Exchange.

One enthusiast who took a seat at the table was Nate Kleinman, who works on community garden projects in the region. He had brought a plastic grocery bag full of seeds including purple bush beans, bloody sorrel, and Nanticoke Indian squash, an heirloom variety of the Nanticoke Indians who lived in South Jersey and Delaware. Raina Ainslie, who had brought some lavender seeds, picked up a packet from Kleinman’s bag of Kyoto moss spores, meant for growing under a bonsai tree or terrarium which she will try out. Through the afternoon, people came and went, congregating around the table, sharing their knowledge as much as the great variety of vegetable, flower and tree seeds. Some contributed bean seedlings were eagerly grabbed up.

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