November 17, 2008
Dr. Campbell and the rest of the CAAH! team take stock while cataloging the seeds collected throughout the past two years.
There are new faces, like Amber Flesouras, who wouldn't consider herself a seed expert but loves to "categorize" and "file" things. She's definitely in the right place today.
Or Jon-Perry Mize, a 5th generation Ozarker, who personally located 5 new seed varieties for the collection. Here you see him meticulously plucking seeds from a box and disposing of the bad ones.
Then there are familiar faces like Bo Bennett, first on the scene in early 2008 during the 1st Annual Seed Swap in Mountain View, Arkansas. Bo spent many days throughout the 2008 spring and summer at the CAAH headquarters garden. As confessed in this seed doc, Bo is now an "Habitual Gardener".
Although the official numbers are not in on how many seed varieties have been collected by CAAH, we know from the Seed Swap back in February that they quickly surpassed the one-hundred mark. When the stats are in, we will pass them on.
The CAAH! seed collection will be housed at the University of Central Arkansas in a closet this winter until Dr. Campbell can find a permanent home for them.
Conserving Arkansas's Agricultural Heritage project, abbreviated CAAH!, pronounced in a hackle much like a crow, is in it's infancy.
A little over two years ago Dr. Brian Campbell, an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Central Arkansas, began the vast undertaking to preserve the heirloom seeds of the Ozark Mountains Region of Missouri and Arkansas. Watch "Red Ripper Peas" and "Old Fashion Soup Beans" to see some of his earlier findings.
The significance of these seeds is their "natural" ability to grow in this region. In a day and age when Hybrid seeds have a shelf life of one year, these heirlooms seeds thrive in the Ozark region and can be saved for the next year to grow-eat-preserve-eat later-grow again-tell a story. Did somebody just say "tell a story"?
Yes, these seeds have a story, a story that is usually told by the families that keep them year after year and in many cases throughout centuries.
Watch "Old Fashion Soup Beans", in which the near loss of the White family bean, played out to be a dramatic event in the life of a mother and daughter.
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