THE SEED KEEPER(S), with DIANE WILSON
To welcome the new year, we stay with the theme of seeds – this time focusing on seeding our imaginations in conversation with Diane Wilson – gardener, emeritus executive director of Dream of Wild Health and, more recently, emeritus executive director of the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance.
A fierce advocate for Indigenous land-based cultural recovery, Diane has long interwoven her gardening and her advocacy work with her writing. She has several award-winning works of non-fiction, including the memoir, Spirit Car, Journey to a Dakota Past (2006), and Beloved Child, A Dakota Way of Life (2011). Her first novel, The Seed Keeper, was published by Milkweed Editions in 2021.
"A library book showed me that the tiny seeds I had taken for granted were actually unique living beings with their own history, story, and family. Each seed was made of an embryo, a seed coat, and something nutritious, almost like a packed lunch. The Mother Plant, like me, wanted only the best for her babies. ....Everywhere I looked, I saw how seeds were holding the world together. They planted forests, covered meadows with wildflowers, sprouted in the cracks of sidewalks, or lay dormant until the long-awaited moment came, signaled by fire or rain or warmth...Seeds breathed and spoke in a language all their own. Each one was a miniature time capsule, capturing years of stories in its tender flesh. How ignorant I felt compared to the brilliance contained in a single seed."
Diane Wilson, The Seed Keeper
You can follow Diane's work online at DianeWilsonWords.com
IF YOU LIKE THIS PROGAM,
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JOIN US again next week, when we’re go behind the scenes at Johnny’s Selected Seeds in Maine with Dave Melhorn, CEO and Lauren Giroux, Director of Product Selection and Trialing Research. Their motto reads: Helping Communities Feed One Another by Offering Superior Seeds & Service. Serving Market Growers & Home Gardeners Since 1973.
Cultivating Place is made possible in part by listeners like you and by generous support from the California Native Plant Society, on a mission to save California’s native plants and places using both head and heart. CNPS brings together science, education, conservation, and gardening to power the native plant movement. California is a biodiversity hotspot and CNPS is working to save the plants that make it so.
For more information on their programs and membership, please visit https://www.cnps.org/
Thinking out loud this week:
I love how Diane Wilson refers to her first work directly with the legacy seeds of her people after she hears about them as “volunteering with the seeds”. Not with the organization of Dream of Wild Health, but with the seeds. It reminds me of our conversation in the spring of 2021 with the Refugia team out of Philadelphia and the woman Esther being given advice to find work on behalf or in service to plants. It’s nice to remember that not only do the plants – the flowers, the foliage, the seeds and the structures of our plants provide so much in our days, but that we as gardeners also work for them.
With the new moon of the new year last Sunday, the first new moon after the Winter Solstice, I set a couple of gardening resolutions for myself. But before I share those, I would love to invite you all to share yours with me – you know how – send me an email: email@example.com OR you can always leave them in a comment on the weekly post on Instagram @cultivating_place. I can’t wait to hear them.
ALSO – thank you to all of you who wrote in with your feedback for me on the episodes of 2021. There was such an interesting diversity of responses. Thank you to Kyle and Keith, Sarah and Katie, Erin and Amanda, Nina and Nan. From a random drawing of names from all of you who wrote in about the feedback request, Kyle Morris of Texas will receive the thank you set of signed books.
I gleaned some remarkable insights from the feedback and so thank you all. If you wanted to send feedback and did not yet have a chance – please know that it is always welcome – constructive critique is like pruning – it can be tricky, but it spurs healthy and directed growth too. What brings the sometimes 10,000 podcast listens to any one episode? Knowing more about the diversity of answers to that helps this podcast grow stronger.
Happy New year to you all from this garden heart to all of your garden hearts.
Here’s to another ring around.
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