Annual Gathering Celebrating Communities and Seeds to be held Saturday, March 26, in Espanola

March 18, 2011

The Sixth Annual Owingeh Tah Pueblos y Semillas Gathering and Seed Exchange will be held Saturday, March 26, at the Northern New Mexico College Gymnasium in Espanola. This gathering is intended to encourage agricultural traditions and inspire more native seed propagation. The event is free and open to the public and all are invited to attend.

Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. A seed ceremony and blessing follows at 9:30. Participating in this event will be dancers from the Santa Clara Pueblo who will do the Rain Dance, and Hermanos from a local morada who will bless the seeds.

Afterwards, an exchange of heirloom seeds will take place. Anyone who brings seeds is welcome to participate in the exchange.

The Gathering will continue with live music and a demonstration of the old-fashioned method of removing grains from an ear of corn. An antique wheel designed specifically to "desgranar" the corn will be set up for the demonstration.

After a lunch featuring traditional foods, a panel of community members will discuss Land, Water, and Seeds. A keynote address will follow. There will also be an opportunity to view the declarations of the NM Food and Seed Sovereignty Alliance.

A performance by the dance group, "Moving People Espanola" will wrap up the day. The children in the group will perform an acequia harvest dance.

Some of the organizations expected to display tables include Tewa Women United, Think Outside the Bomb and CCNS.

Sponsors of the Pueblos y Semillas Gathering are the New Mexico Acequia Association, the Traditional Native American Farmers Association, Honor Our Pueblo Existence, and Tewa Women United - who make up the New Mexico Food and Seed Sovereignty Alliance. They are joined by Northern New Mexico College, Rio Arriba County and Taos County Economic Development Corporation.

The concerns of the New Mexico Food and Seed Sovereignty Alliance appear to be a long way from the nuclear power plants damaged last week in Japan by a combination of the strongest earthquake ever recorded and the violence of the tsunami. Perhaps there is a lesson here. Conference planner Pilar Trujillo says, "In these times of desperation and world-wide tragedy, it is more important than ever to learn how to take care of ourselves and each other. Instead of feeling hopeless, we can support the agricultural traditions that have been the foundation of our communities for centuries. Planting seeds and working with the land and water is the first step in our autonomy and healing."

For more information, please contact Pilar Trujillo at (505) 995-9644 or email < > . There is no admission price, but please bring seeds to share.

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