SUMMER GARDEN GEMS: THE MELONS, AMY GOLDMAN, HEIRLOOM GARDENER
Amy Goldman is a gardener, author artist and longtime advocate for seed saving, plant breeding, and heirloom fruits and vegetables. Her mission has for many years been to celebrate and catalogue the magnificent diversity of standard, open pollinated, heirloom varieties and their conservation.
An evangelical seed saver, for Amy the melons rank highly, stating that not only are they beautiful and delicious, but they are widely adaptable for growing across the globe. Further, there are 1000s of known varieties and she was only able to highlight 125 in "The Melon", so she encourages everyone to grow, enjoy, save seed from and share forward the great diversity of these beautiful fruits.
Finally she notes that the ancient wild progenitors of melons and watermelons hail from Africa, India, and ancient Persian regions of the world and their histories are intimately intertwined with the people of these places and their diasporas across time and space. SO they hold genetic and cultural knowledge of great value.
Amy's books include "The Compleat Squash – A Passionate Growers Guide to Pumpkins, Squashes, and Gourds", and most recently "The Melon" - which was awarded the 2020 National Book Award from the American Horticultural Society.
Among the sweet rewards of the summer garden, melons rank highly for many of us and Amy Goldman is a champion of the great diversity of these remarkable and ancient twining fruits. She joined me in conversation earlier this year to share more from her home and garden in upstate New York.
All photos courtesy of Victor Schrager and The Melon - all rights reserved.
Join us again next week in honor of the Fourth of July, I will be joined by the esteemed thinker, writer, and gardener Jamaica Kincaid, whose work entitled My Garden (Book) published in the late 1990s explores many threads around how the long history of colonialism and its attendant enslavement and displacement of people and plants and their long rich histories is a narrative fully legible in our gardens and horticulture of today. She and discuss some ideas on what we as engaged citizen gardeners can learn and do with the truth of that narrative.
THINKING OUT LOUD this week..
Seed Saving is an ancient act, practice, and art of being in relationship with plants in our world dating back to humans walking this earth.
It is sacred and meaningful work and part of what being a gardener opens up to us. To know seed, to save seed, to protect seeds is good, good work.
When I first started laying out the horticultural and cultural threads of importance that I wanted to represent in The Earth in Her Hands back in 2017, I knew the women at work in responsible heart-felt seed work had to be among them. Beside the folks behind Seed Savers Exchange, which in our conversation today Amy Goldman recommended we all look into , please look into the work of Rowen White and Sierra Seeds – she hosts a deeply immersive mentorship on ethical and responsible seed stewardship that anyone would find transformative, also The Southern Exposure Seed Exchange based in Virginia, the Organic Seed Alliance based in Oregon, and the work of Vandana Shiva in India.
Care for, protection and stewardship of seed in our world is political, environmental, sustainability, and economic work of the highest order. I hope you will consider learning more and doing more in your own small ways.
And here we are at the end of June. It’s been some few months has it not? I don’t know where to start – and so I will let the conversations of the podcast itself stand as what they are – conversations that try hard to get to the seed stock from which our natural and cultural histories meet and do what they do in the garden. And where and how we grow from there.
Despite Covid-19, I have had the opportunity – powerful and transformative in these times I will add - to gather virtually with some individuals and groups to really sink our teeth into what these times are teaching and unteaching in us – as gardeners and as humans. If you have not had the chance to listen in – I will add links to those of these talks that were recorded – including a wonderful deep and true conversation hosted by the San Francisco Botanical Garden on the evening of June 9th in which I was in conversation with the Garden Designer and Cultural Landscape leader Leslie Bennett, who is featured in The Earth in Her Hands, as well as Kara Newport, Executive Director of the historic home and garden Filoli.
While meeting in person still presents challenges, I am pleased to be able to still be in deeper conservation with groups across the country – I am the program speaker for several garden, book, and master gardener groups around the country late this summer and into the fall/winter to really dig into group conversation around what it means to cultivate our places, what we can learn from the models and journeys of the women in The Earth In Her Hands, and how we go about more consciously and conscientiously growing the world we want to see. I love this kind of nitty gritty engagement and the true work of it.
If your group is interested in speaking me more about this kind of virtual event – please reach out by email or find out more on the website: cultivatingplace.com. I look forward to hearing from you!
I will as always keep you posted on open forum events as they come up on the Events page on Cultivatingplace.com as well.
As always - together we grow....better!
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