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  • Jennifer Jewell


FOODSCAPING - with Brie Arthur. Photo courtesy of Brie Arthur, all rights reserved.


As I write in my upcoming book, What We Sow, on the Personal, Ecological, and Cultural Significance of Seeds – seeds are to the plant world as a messiah is to many religions – the alpha and omega – the beginning, end and beginning again of the majority of Earth’s plant lives – the spermatophytes, or seed bearing plants.

This week we kick off a several part series looking into the state of seed specifically wildland seed for conservation and ecological restoration in our world from a variety of perspectives. We start off in conversation with Andrea Williams, the Director of Biodiversity Initiatives with the California Native Plant Society, and contributor to both the proposed California Seed Strategy and from there the National Seed Strategy.

Andrea has two decades of experience in science-based public lands management: monitoring rare plants and plant communities, carrying out project compliance surveys, mapping and removing invasive plants, and responding to landscape-level threats such as Phytophthora, climate change, and altered disturbance regimes. She has worked in partnership to design indicators, metrics, status, and trends for land health; lead volunteers in botanical inventories; improve the quality and quantity of data submitted to CNDDB; and teach plant identification, field methods, and invasive plant management planning. She earned her B.S. in Biology from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, where she spent summers on field research at a coastal grassland studying species composition and demography of the host plant of an endangered butterfly and decided to become a land manager.

For fun, she teaches grass identification and makes acronyms and plant lists.

I had the great pleasure of speaking with Andrea at the California Native Plant Society’s Conservation Conference in October of 2022, I am so pleased to welcome her to Cultivating Place.

Listen in!

Images courtesy of Andrea Williams, all rights reserved.

You can follow The California Native Plant Society's conservation work on-line at, and on Instagram: @californianativeplantsociety/


you might also enjoy these Best of CP programs in our archive:

JOIN US again next week, when we continue our multi-part seed series in Conversation with Pat Reynolds of Heritage Growers, supplying native seeds, seed grown starts, and seed conservation and restoration solutions from sourcing and growing ethically and with maximum genetic diversity and appropriate location sourcing in mind. Listen in!


Speaking of Plants and Place this week, not a plant profile, but rather a botanical assignment for all of you in the remainder of May, because if we are ever to increase our seed literacy, and improve our global care of seed, first we need to learn to see seed.

Wherever you may live, I wonder if you might dedicate some time between now and May 31st learning two of the charismatic trees, shrubs, and grasses of your region.

If you don’t know when their seed forms, or what their seed looks like, I wonder if you might pay attention to that – take photos and share them with me by email or online tagging Cultivating Place and noting your general bioregion?

I will be doing the same, and sharing them on Instagram @cultivating_place – I will tag my images with #whatwesow.

Looking forward to your images and shares and learning to see the seeds of your place!


Cultivating Place is made possible in part by listeners like you and by generous support from

supporting initiatives that empower women and help preserve the planet through the intersection of environmental advocacy, social justice, and creativity.

Cultivating Place is also made possible through support from

Another way they meet their mission is through Conservancy’s Garden Masters’ Series. This series offers in-depth study programs that bring garden enthusiasts together in otherwise closed, significant landscapes with innovative thought-leaders and experts in horticulture and design. These programs provide the opportunity to meet new like-minded, curious plant folk while exploring the philosophy of garden creation, design theory, and diverse gardening traditions...More info on the 2023 Masters’ Series can be found at


Thinking out loud this week:

I am so pleased to share with you all the news that My third book, What We Sow, On the Personal, Ecological, and Cultural Significance of Seeds is set to publish on September 19th, 2023 from Timber Press just in time for the Autumnal Equinox .

The uncorrected galley recently arrived in my mailbox -and I can tell you, it’s an amazing experience to see and hold the work of several years – if not much of my lifetime – in my hands, in book form.

It is the story of my own studies in seed as a mother, as a gardener, as a hiker, as someone both curious and concerned about how the seeds of our world – for food, for environmental health, for commercial purposes large and small - is faring at this exact moment in time, and why it should matter to all of us garden and plant people. Why we should each take on our own seed literacy work with some of the great teachers of our times – the seeds of our places themselves of course, but also the very dedicated seed keepers of our time – many of whom have shared their knowledge and passion here on Cultivating Place these past 6 years.

Because if we are going to help ensure the very best care and keeping of biodiversity (read: seed) for the future of our shared earth – we first have to learn to see it.

As one reviewer wrote about the new book:

This is a tale of what we choose to see and what we haven’t been taught to see; what we choose to seed and we choose not to seed.

Please know that every person who is a current monthly donor to Cultivating Place or has donated $100 or more in the last year as of September 1st of this year (2023) will automatically be sent a signed copy of What We Sow as a thank you. A humble and heartfelt from me for all of your support and for your support literally making both the weekly production of Cultivating Place AND the time and focus to write this book possible.

If you are not a current monthly supporter or have not contributed to Cultivating Place in the last year but would like to before September 1st – simply follow the Support Button at the top right hand corner of every page at Cultivating to do so.

And not to worry, you will also be able to just buy book of course – signed copies are available for pre-order right now at and unsigned copies are already available from most large booksellers online now.

If you preorder and send me the confirmation email or receipt by email I would be happy to send you a signed book plate!

And thank you – what you sow and what you support in Cultivating Place are good growing things indeed.




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PO Box 37

Durham, CA 95938


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