Pacific’s First Ever Spring Seed Swap

Pacific’s First Ever Spring Seed Swap

George Vieiera Eric Firpo from Boggs Tract Farm hands Professor Brunell a tomato plant at Tuesday’s Spring Seed Swap.

                                                                                                                                                           George Vieiera
Eric Firpo from Boggs Tract Farm hands Professor Brunell a tomato plant at Tuesday’s Spring Seed Swap.

As part of Pacific’s Sustainability Month, the first ever Spring Seed Swap was hosted on Earth Day, April 22, at the Ted and Chris Robb Garden. Pacific students, faculty and local community members gathered to chat with one another and exchange seeds.

The event began with guests trickling in and mingling over freshly-made grapefruit soda, thyme lemonade made with thyme from the garden, and flatbread pizzas provided by Bon Appetit.

Guests were given the opportunity to bring seeds from their own gardens and trade them with seeds donated by Lockhart Seeds. Additional seeds and seedlings were made available by Eric Firpo, who runs the Boggs Tract Community Farm.

According to their website, the idea behind the Boggs Tract Community Farm is that “instead of giving hand-outs to under-served community members, PUENTES promotes the empowerment of people to grow and utilize their own food resources through the development of urban farms.”

The farm follows a business plan developed by MBA students from University of the Pacific; the goal of the community farm is to eventually generate enough income to be financially self-sustaining.

Firpo will also be hosting the Friday Fair Trade Forum at the Bechtel International Center on Friday, April 25.

Stesha Kahan, current president of the Garden Club on campus, served as master of ceremonies for the remainder of the event. Kahan introduced Pacific President Pamela A. Eibeck, who took the podium to share a few words. Eibeck, like many others in attendance, saw the value of having a space like the Ted and Chris Robb Garden right on campus. “[The garden] captures the spirit of what it means to be here in the Central Valley.”

Eibeck mentioned that the garden would not have been made possible without the help of a few key players, including Professor Mark Brunell, Sustainability Director Shanna Eller, Professor Ron Hoverstad, those who have volunteered at the garden, and, of course, Walter Robb, Board of Regents member and CEO of Whole Foods, who made the donation to start the garden.

Professor Brunell will be commentating at the Friday Fair Trade Forum where Firpo will be speaking and giving his insight on sustainability and community farms.

Next, Director of Religious and Spiritual Life Joel Lohr stepped up to the podium to offer a “sunset salutation to thank the earth.”

Lohr started off by citing a quote from Wendell Berry regarding the benefits of gardening: “As odd as it will seem to some, I can think of no better form of personal involvement in the cure of the environment than that of gardening. A person who is growing a garden, if he or she is growing it organically, is improving a piece of the world.”

“Gardeners are in touch with reality,” Lohr explained, “and with food and that which sustains us.”

Lohr then led the group in an exercise to practice mindfulness, as mindfulness and gardening are often seen as going hand and hand.
Patrons were also lucky to be guided on a tour through the garden by none other than Mark Brunell himself.

Brunell talked about summer garden plans and identified which plants will be going where. Guests were shocked by the basketball-sized heads of cabbage that were just days from being harvested.

Afterwards, some guests attended a strawberry-jam-making workshop led by alumna and Master Preserver Linda Driver ‘92, ‘94.
Driver provided a full tutorial for how to make and preserve strawberry jam.

The Spring Seed Swap served as a means for members of the community to get together to achieve a common goal: growing food.

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Jamil Burns

Opinion Editor at The Pacifican

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