Storied Seeds is a manifestation market garden/wildcrafting business I have taken on which answers the needs for cleaner, sustainable, local terroir. From fungus to root, herb to medicine, and the flora of fruit and vegetable. Each seeds has its own story and its own skill with which to cultivate. This is a project held in the Marlbank township of Eastern Canada, and I am open to other crew to help me. Taking it’s name from the soil on which I live, the marl of this earth nourishes us, and the plants and forest that have inched in a living here, which influences the character of this endeavor.
This year is focused on one small plot market garden and wildcraft foraging and gathering, while integrating permaculture systems like rain catchment, a windmill water irrigation system, passive planting, microbiome polyculture, utilizing mining plants, and hardy pioneers (brassicas and solanaceae), three sisters plant guilds, a chicken tilled garden for grains, and biodynamic amending. The garden is created using lasagna style mulching systems using no mow, no-till, no digging, in the vein of Masanobu Fukuoka’s “do-nothing methods”. I have experimented with mycelium like the Stropharia ‘Garden Giant’ and ‘Yellow Morel’ . The land sits on the back of the Canadian shield minor, where deep tap-rooted trees and field plants bore down to access the rich store of minerals and crystal energies below, to pull them up to the surface. The forest grows with several volunteer saplings of locusts, maples, pines and cedars, with agro-forested plantations of domestic nut, bean and fruit trees including hickory, oak, black walnut, hazel, buckeye, chestnut, kentucky coffee, pear, cheery and apple, interspersed with a whole gamut of competing grasses, ferns, marsh herbs, and cane shrubs like those of the rubus and ribes.
I am augmenting any harvested produce, from planted seed and starts, with wild edibles throughout the farmers season, as the foragers basket is filled with each passing wave of available pickings; ramps, coniferous and poplar buds, berries, pine pollen, edible flowers, wild ginger, cattails, flowering plants, medicinals, mushrooms and rosehips amongst a band of others. The wild proponent is a strong aspect of living with food sovereignty on the land, and getting into a deeper relationship with nature, and understanding our ecological balance as the human animal. Rather than ‘leaving no trace’, actually leave one’s best trace and vibrating to the frequency of the bear, the hare, the insects, or the songbirds. What is cultivated by our hands in the soils is shared seeds, heritage lineages of plants, farmers market favorites, rare and odd foods, winter storage crops, diverse salad mixes, sweets, bitters, starches, and proteins. With the aim to promote diversity without the loss of continuity.
Look for my table, and take a drive down a country road to find us vending at the Belleville farmers market, the oldest farmers market in Canada, and at the Black Cat cafe in Tamworth, both in Eastern Ontario, as well as on the Haudenosaunee (Kanienʼkehá꞉ka) reserve, at the Shannonville farmers market in Tyendinaga, to bridge connections between growing and providing indigenous food crops and popular domestic staples.
I follow the biodynamic planting calendar for advices on when to plant roots, fruits, flowers and herbs, and to understand the patterns of the sun and moon on the garden plots, so as to keep eyes fit for observation of pattern, and the workings of energetic forces. These methods espoused by Steiner, together with the permaculture principles gathered from near and far, from the great teachers and 6 years of experience form the groundwork for my practice this year, as I look to not only change what is on our table, but change how it got there each week, through deliberation, care, method, intuition, and talent.
As mentors and learners, the community at large exists beyond the stewards of the land, and extends into every weed that sprouts from in between the leaves of a neatly planted bed. There is a wilderness in the garden that is the best teacher of all things one needs to know. No two years are the same. We live in intentional community to experience our true selves as mirrors unto others, and confront the reality of shared existence on one planet, in a harmonious way, from which we are called into a sacred participation of earth care, and people care, one full of story, and alignment with the greater causes for concern, a life well lived and long. As the ephemeral state of affairs in the garden takes on its annual cycles, we are here watching and participating in the novel becoming, and finding perennial wisdom in the changes that happen to inside us as we go.