finding the mature strawberry seeds
October 13 marked our second workshop in the garden (the first was last month's fantastic bean pickling!), and a commitment to offering a series of workshops through our inaugural Field School program. We aim to host monthly workshops (with the exception of December) led by students on our team. The seasonal themes will be based on what is most relevant to the garden at that time. In mid-October it's all about seeds, as the garden prepares for Winter and the next growing season...
sprouted fava beans & shelling beans in the pod
We were blessed with a spectacular Fall day and an abundance of seeds not soaked in rain. The workshop participants had an opportunity to explore the garden and collect their own seeds and fruits. We discussed what a fruit really is (a vessel housing a seed- can be dry or wet and in many formations; all flowering plants have a fruit of some kind), and the need for patience and close observation when searching for tiny seeds. The main learning objective for this workshop was simply to become familiar with plants and where their seeds are found, and hopefully to stimulate personal discoveries through this exploration.
looking at buckwheat
This was not a technical seed-saving workshop, but rather an introduction to the many seeds that can be saved and the reasons to do it. Food security (independence from industrial seed companies) is obviously at the top of the list, but it's also important to understand that by saving your own seeds, you are almost guaranteed that the specific plant is happy in that specific environment (including microclimates, soil types, nearby insects, animals and fungi, watering frequency and even the gardeners who tended it throughout the season), and as such should thrive and bear fruit again.
As this workshop was geared towards educational opportunities and curricular connections, we also looked at the ways seeds can be collected, dried and saved in the classroom and incorporated into lessons in math, history, social studies, science, poetry, nutrition, and home economics. We also wanted to remember the many foods we eat that are made from seeds: sprouts, chocolate, coffee, bread, crackers, peanut butter, oils, beans... and the list goes on. For our snack in the garden we enjoyed seed crackers, avocado, pumpkin seed butter, homemade raspberry jam, honey, coffee and soymilk (all made from seeds!).
Stay tuned for our next Field School workshop in early November and also our evening Apple Preserving Workshop next Monday, October 24.
Most of the photos in this post were taken by Julia! thank you :) And thank you to the very knowledegable participants who contributed greatly to our discussions.