February 27, 2024

The Story Garden

by Tessa Desmond in Projects, Uncategorized

Mandy Qua ’23 (foreground) plants seeds in the Story Garden with Akhila Bandlora ’24 (background) and Brian Kook ’25 (right). Photo by Jared Flesher.

The Story Garden

Faculty Lead: Tessa Lowinske Desmond

Collaborating Partners: Experimental Farm Network, Munsee Three Sisters Medicinal Farm, Ujamaa Cooperative Farming Alliance

The Story Garden is the seed of The Seed Farm.        

We like to say that we “Plant seeds and tend relationships.”  In the quarter-acre plot that we call the Story Garden, we plant small accessions of seeds that have been shared with us by community partners, grow them using the information and methods shared with us, offer to leverage the resources of the university to investigate any questions related to the seeds of interest to our community partners, and then return the seed harvest back to the community partners to use in service of their missions related to food sovereignty and food justice.  In the garden, student farmers tend the seeds but they are also attentive to their relationships to the plants, to the land, to each other, and to our community partners.  In the Story Garden, our community partners define what varieties count as rare and culturally-meaningful; our community partners define the research agendas; and our community partners reap the harvest in full to support work of food sovereignty and food justice.

Some varieties that we have grown in the Story Garden include: Accawmacke Broccoli, Achocha, Appalachian Grex Bean Mix, Bittermelon, Della Sorghum, Kenearly Tomato, Lenni Lenape Blue Pulling Corn, Long Island Cheese Pumpkin, Madagascar Mung Bean, Maycock Squash, Nanticoke Squash, Okra Oil Seed Breeding Population, Perennial Sorghum, Perennial Wheat, ‘Sacre Bleu’ Bean, Syrian Eggplant, Tulsi Basil from Iraq, Tulsi Basil from Maldives, Ukranian Sunflowers, Ultracross Collards, Ultracross Okra, Yakteen Gourd, Zipser Turkenspitz Peppers

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