Re: free seeds and synergy notes
- that's great leland, thanks for the good work and for the post.
some really interesting stuff there. it would be so important if
something like that works, if you're able to organize and expand the
work started by george. i wish you all the best, and i really think it
is very important what you were saying about the cost of seeds and
trying to promote for younger people and old-age pensioners, etc...
i'm a student living in florence (italy), trapped in the concrete. i'm
finishing of my dissertation/thesis right now, and afterwards i'm not
sure what i will be doing. i would hope that at some point i moght be
able to leave the dirtiness of the city and put into practice some
healthy natural farming. and, although i'm better off than most other
young people (economically and with respect to schooling too), i
realize that it's not easy starting out, making a clean break with the
shitstem and living [trully] with nature ... so i really appreciate
initiatives like the one you and george are trying to put together.
listening to the seeds is also very interesting. and sometimes i think
that it's not even important whether or not we are able to see, hear,
understand what a seed wants and needs .... just the fact that we slow
down and _try_ to listen and understand is of utmost importance.
slowing down a little gives us the opportunity to see an alternative
to the usual way of things. just breathing a little more slowly and a
little more deeply helps to dissolve fears and mindtroubles even
before they come up.
by the way, the internet site: if there's help needed with languages
maybe i can do something. italian, spanish, yugoslav (serbo-croat)....
back to studying for my dissertation...
(ps - leland, i sent you my address in an email some time ago. so i
don't think it's me whose address you don't have. but let me know if
the email didn't get to you.)
- Would you mind running through that once more? Sorry to be so slow. What is
the process? Where is the list of seeds? And we send money to where for the
>From: "Leland Lehrman" <leland@...>_________________________________________________________________
>Howdy folks, appreciate the increasing diversity and richness of the posts
>and the new members with their spiraling requests and contributions. I have
>everyone's free seed order for George but am missing one person's address.
>Will wait on that address for another week and then proceed with
>distribution. I will make one last call here for orders from the new folks
>and especially request list elders Emilia, Bob Monie and Larry Haftl put in
The new MSN 8: smart spam protection and 2 months FREE*
- At Tuesday, 3 December 2002, Leland Lehrman wrote:
>and especially request list elders Emilia, Bob Monie and Larry Haftlput in
>requests.LOL! I may generally qualify as an elder (somewhat youngish I hope),
but not on this list. Compared to Emilia, Robert Monie and others
I am a comparative newbie, and when it comes to growing things almost
totally inept. If you send me some seed I promise to plant them.
You pick. I'll have more than 2,400 sq. ft. of new raised beds to
mess with next year, so there is plenty of room to play with.
>seed sources I know about. This makes me wonder why we couldn'tat least
>list him at the top of the seed sources list. What do you think Larry?That is not a problem, but I don't think it would make much difference.
All the sources fit on one page, people tend, I think, to choose
new suppliers first by where the suppliers are located (which is
why I put their locations in the link description), and then by what
the suppliers offer. Changing the position of his link on that page
doesn't really do much for either one of those.
What might be more useful is two things: send me some info, and maybe
a photo or two, and I can put his operation on the Projects Map (from
your description it sounds like it definitely deserves to be included
in that). Also, write an article about what he does and why he does
it and I can post that also (assuming it is more than just an advertising
plug). If you don't feel comfortable writing it, send me what you
have and I can put it into readable shape. Both of those would, I
think, generate more interest in what he is doing/offering than just
moving the link up the list a bit.
>He's right down the road from you in Orleans, California. Why don'tyou pay him a
>visit, make some seedballs and report on the site for the list.It's possible, but not quickly or easily so. About a 5-6 hour drive
each way, which means a very long day or overnighter. My foot is
somewhat nailed to the floor here, so to get away (which I would
dearly love to do) requires a lot of pre-planning and that takes
time to work out. In the meantime, the other two suggestions can
be done fairly easily and quickly if you and George are interested.
>his main interest was not in agribusiness but in growing seeds forthe new
>generation of natural farmers. I was blown away. Here's a guy who isearth.
>focusing on the young, inexperienced, backyard gardener and is developing
>seeds that are grown to perform well in even marginally well-tended
None of this comes across on his website or in anything I've seen
written by or about him. Perhaps this is what you could write about.
Get the word out. One of the business axioms related to making profits
is that people's perceptions and knowledge of what you do is often
more important that what you actually do.
- Howdy folks, appreciate the increasing diversity and richness of the posts
and the new members with their spiraling requests and contributions. I have
everyone's free seed order for George but am missing one person's address.
Will wait on that address for another week and then proceed with
distribution. I will make one last call here for orders from the new folks
and especially request list elders Emilia, Bob Monie and Larry Haftl put in
requests. Emilia, seeds to foreign countries will be marked as follows for
customs: "seeds for trial-use purposes, no commercial value. George says
that this method of seed sending often gets through customs.
Part of the reason I ask for your participation is that the seed delivery
packages may also contain some special offers and a newsletter which I will
be helping to produce. I am hoping to get some input from you guys on it.
The deal is that George has been working alone for the better part of 12
years at Confluence Nature Farm and Synergy Seeds and he is somewhat tired
and feeling alone in his work. He has not expressed this to the list, but I
am doing it for him as I feel we need to be proactive in helping him stay
enthusiastic about the work he is doing. While George's main influence
appears to be Okada, the Japanese philosopher who started the Nature Farming
movement in Japan in the 1930's, he is very familiar with Fukuoka's methods
and applies much of his philosophy and method on the land. I have not gotten
too much into the details of George's method with him as he has so far
preferred to talk about other more pressing details of keeping his business,
which I will be joining onsite in the New Year, going. But while his methods
are not strictly Fukuoka, he is the closest to natural farming of all the
seed sources I know about. This makes me wonder why we couldn't at least
list him at the top of the seed sources list. What do you think Larry? He's
right down the road from you in Orleans, California. Why don't you pay him a
visit, make some seedballs and report on the site for the list. It's on
sixty acres, but the land is leased. I'd like to buy the land somehow and
put it into a Natural Farming Land Trust wherein the trust owns the land but
gives control of it to those who do the Natural Farming. It's what the
Biodynamic people have been doing and it is really the right way to protect
farmland for future generations. I don't really know how to do this, or
where to raise the money, but would appreciate info or input if you all know
the deal. George is not ready to really move on this idea right now because
the relationship with the landlady right now is sensitive and he is trying
to get them to approve limited improvement to the structures in order to
accomodate more volunteers. The good news is that several voluteers recently
showed up to help George with what is likely the last of the harvest and
seed saving work and he is in much better spirits. This is one of the best
resources we have, especially in the USA and we have to nurture it. I am
sympathetic to George for many reasons, not just the fact that out of
nowhere, despite the fact that I recently broke my back, George accepted me
into a free work/learn position. We share a lot of personal history and
So when I hear him saying that he is not sure he can keep it going and may
have to "move downriver" and do a business course I am appalled and want to
rush to his aid. Which I have. The free seed offer is powered by a $200
check I sent a while ago and I just sent him another $200 for some
additional seed distribution to family, friends and influentials in the
organic farming business. As I have some business experience and good
technical skills, I will be helping George with the business side of synergy
seeds, but need all the help I can get as far as marketing email lists,
influential buyer contacts etc.
But most importantly, let me share with you a couple of George's magic
recent insights with you. First off, he told me about Luther Burbank, the
legendary seed saver whose name appears on one of the larger towns in CA.
Burbank's appeal to George was that he selected seed based on the health of
the strain, and was more interested in those seeds that survived under poor
conditions than those that needed extensive cultivation. When I mentioned to
George the possibility of being a grower for Seeds of Change he noted that
his main interest was not in agribusiness but in growing seeds for the new
generation of natural farmers. I was blown away. Here's a guy who is
focusing on the young, inexperienced, backyard gardener and is developing
seeds that are grown to perform well in even marginally well-tended earth.
This is awesome stuff. Let's face it, gaining converts to gardening is tough
because there is so much risk of failure. As I have mentioned before, the
fear of neighborly derision, poor harvest and the expense in time or money
of creating fertile soil is what keeps our numbers smaller than what is
necessary to reverse the flow of land into agribusiness. I noted with great
interest the incredible difference between the performance of organic seed
and non-organic seed this year on my own first real garden. If you buy
non-organic seed, you had better put three to four times as much of it in
the ground as with organic seed. At least that's the way it is with Czech
garden seed. Germination is poor on many crops (turnips excluded) and pest
resistance is appallingly poor (turnips again excluded). So the cheap non
organic dollar a pack seed ends up being more expensive in the end. But
young and inexperienced gardeners will have a hard time stocking up on two
dollar a pack seeds. I remember how I felt when I saw that price on the
Seeds of Change packs. One of the initiatives I have also started with
George is to set the price of seedpacks at a dollar a pack for students,
youth (under 33) or over 65. For starters, I will match funds with George
for all such orders. In a way reminiscent of the Compleat Mother, that
magical and oh so helpful natural mothering magazine, I feel like it also
makes sense to set up a way for people to donate on top of their orders in
order that younger folks can get the deal price or even for free. How does
that strike you folks?
Another excellent insight George has recently shared with me comes from the
Nature Farming movement in which the "voice" of each crop becomes an
important factor in its propagation. Here's George on the topic:
"In the west we suffer from the delusion of sexual freedom
while the actual raw material (for farming / gardening)- seed- is
sequestered in vaults and sealed packages. When I started to grow my own I
was very unsure of what to do each time I opened another packet. I hadn't
even really looked at seeds before. Over time I came to realize that the
cellular recognition is spontaneous thru the visual contact (see a 'voice'
Which is why a whole lot of diversity remains undiscovered and farmers- in
the West perhaps- are increasingly unconcious of what they're doing and
those in control are so delighted that human beings seem so asleep and
content to live in a mythical world of scarcity"
I totally related to the part about not really knowing what to do with each
seed packet once it was open. It was maddening. So I went through all kinds
of different methods, dibbling, row cropping, scattering. But I never
realized until George pointed it out that there is a "voice" in the seeds
and that listening to it can make you feel comfortable with how you plant
them. This most recent time I planted radishes into the molehills. Such a
pleasant activity, such perfect tillers the moles. No worms cut in half,
probable good germination, better sunlight exposure in the short season. I
am watching my many late seeded crops with enthusiasm to see how they fare
through the winter. The late scatterred radishes are indeed popping up under
the weeds I cut, but the years of compacted soil is slowing their growth.
Nevertheless a celebration to see them finally. We got a lot of rain and
bang, there they were.
Since George has no phone line and can only communicate from the free
library internet ten miles away in Orleans, he has had difficulty
communicating with the list which however he wants to do more of. In
particular, he wants to hear from Burt Levy the seedballer near him again.
Recently he told me that he was interested in getting rid of his tractor and
doing the whole operation with seedballs and more natural farming methods. I
want to encourage this and be there for it, and then we would have a
complete natural farm, seed source and community in the USA. But we need
help to keep that going and I am eager to hear how list participants feel
about this and what they might consider doing.
I will not be onsite in CA, USA until January or later so everything I do is
virtual for now, which reminds me, we definitely need help getting the
website in shape and eventually accepting online orders... The work will
begin soon and I wonder if there is anyone out there who wants to get
My back will still not let me go for that long at a time, despite the
excellent advice of Zack Domike to stand while computing, which I am doing.
Anyway, even a healthy back needs a break from computing every so often. So
I go with longing to stay and talk forever with this wonderful group of
people, the fukuoka farmers.
- I must have missed this as my account size was too large and was
Free open pollinated seeds? Was he wishing people to grow for
anything specific - seeds in exchange, comment on growth in certain
Is it possible to request from Canada? I was told a year ago that
they are halting seed exchanges between US and Canada and I was
disappointed as I used to do a lot of exchange with US people. Got my
favorite tomato seeds from there - Amish Paste (yes, they grew in
zone 2-3 which is totally unbelievable.)
I do try to pass along heirloom and open pollinated seeds to anyone
interested, so if he is wanting to promote people using non-hybrids,
I would be more than happy to help. Due to a bad year with an
unexpected hard frost while we were gone, I had no seeds to save this
year so am having to find them where I can.
I can't imagine there are a lot that would be growable in my short
season climate, but I would be willing to try something. Does he have
a list somewhere?
And if I am completely off on what is going on, by all means,
straighten me out :<)
-- In fukuoka_farming@y..., "Leland Lehrman" <leland@3...> wrote:
> Howdy folks, appreciate the increasing diversity and richness ofthe posts and the new members with their spiraling requests and
contributions. I have everyone's free seed order for George but am
missing one person's address. Will wait on that address for another
week and then proceed with distribution. I will make one last call
here for orders from the new folks