In caring for a 40-year-old collection of 300 seed varieties, the non-profit Ratinenhayén:thos aims to strengthen local food security and revitalize Indigenous connections to the land
The Kenhté:ke Seed Sanctuary is in the heart of Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, just west of Kingston, Ont. It is home to a 40-year-old living collection of almost 300 seed varieties, including rare heirloom crops like blue Cayuga flint corn and ancient ones like Jacob’s cattle bean, a red and white legume dating back to the 1700s.
Since 2019, the collection has been cared for by Ratinenhayén:thos, an Mohawk-led non-profit whose name means “they are farmers of seeds” in Kanyen’kéha, chosen because it denotes a strong spiritual and cultural connection that grounds the organization’s work in community and place.
Remember the days before the Internet when we anxiously waited for our seed catalogues to arrive so that we could start dreaming and planning for spring and summer plantings. Imagine how welcome those catalogues would have been for early growers who were isolated in their cabins or farms waiting for winter to end.
Believe it or not the earliest garden catalogue appeared over 400 years ago at the 1612 Frankfurt Fair. It was a bulb catalog called Florilegium Amplissimum et Selectissimum, created by Emmanual Sweerts in the Netherlands.
During the 18th and 19th century new printing methods, improved travel and mail service helped seed growers find new homes for their seeds. Those gorgeous creations provided information and entertainment that fueled the dream.
Join us this to learn more about the fascinating history of seed catalogues and to talk about their future.
You can learn more about this presentation here. Thanks Anna for writing such a great blog post!
In the spirit of gift-giving, Melt Studio + Gallery will be hosting a raffle for Susan Wallis’ encaustic painting “FOREST WATCHER”, with all the proceeds being donated to Kenhte:ke Seed Sanctuary and Learning Centre in Tyendinaga.
Ratinenhayén:thos is a non-profit organization dedicated to the sustenance and growth of the Kenhte:ke Seed Sanctuary and Learning Centre (KSSLC) in the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.
The KSSLC is dedicated to growing heirloom and Indigenous seeds, including those specific to the Rotinonshyon:ni, and ensuring the availability of healthy, local seeds for the next seven generations.“
In this painting I challenge the viewer to join in the scene, to take a seat by the bonfire under the night’s sky. To watch and protect the forest. To celebrate it’s glory and recognize and understand it’s vunerabilites. Only then will the forest survive.” –
Susan Wallis12”x12”, Encaustic. Framed in Solid Walnut.
Presenters: Cathy Christie (Kingston Area Seed System) and Tracey Filson (Rideau Thousand Island Master Gardeners)
Date: March 24, 2021 at 7 – 8 pm
Welcome to the 2021 Workshops Series for a Sustainable World, hosted by No.9 Gardens. Your registration directly supports our programs and helps us fulfill our mission of empowering youth and the general public to lead a revolution in building sustainable communities. No.9 Gardens is focused on educating people about the importance of a strong, local, resilient food system. We work with volunteers to grow fresh nutritious produce for those most in need.
About the Workshop: Spring is in the air! Start planning your food garden to include locally sourced, open-pollinated seeds. In this workshop you will learn how easy it is to plan your food garden to include seed saving. We want you to feel more comfortable growing local, healthy food and seeds in the space that you have. Bring your dreams and your questions and we will work together to help you decide what you want to plant, how much you want to plant, where to source your seeds and how to start seedlings in a safe and supportive environment.
Location: This workshop will be delivered on Zoom. Upon registration, a link will be sent to you on the day of the workshop.
Cathy Christie is a mother, science educator, biologist, gardener, seed saver, tree hugger and rewilder. Cathy completed her PhD in freshwater biology and BEd at Queen’s University. She has been teaching at the Faculty of Education at Queen’s for 25 years in addition to teaching at the high school level. Cathy is the Chair of the Kingston Area Seed System Initiative (KASSI) and a Master Gardener in Training. She wants everyone to build reciprocal and respectful relationships with the land and all of the beings who live with us. She is passionate about helping people learn how to grow and save local open-pollinated seeds.
Cathy will be joined by fellow Master Gardener in training, Tracey Filson. With a degree in economics from Queen’s University and a professional background in business analysis and management consulting, Tracey has always been happiest when playing in the mud. Tracey developed a love of nature from an early age, but it wasn’t until she and her husband bought an old century farmhouse northwest of Kingston that her passion for sustainable organic gardening grew. Decades later, Tracey’s zeal for organic gardening continues. She completed her Master Gardener courses in December 2020 and is pursuing a diploma in landscape design through the University of Guelph. Tracey brings a passion for learning and sharing her knowledge with others. When Tracey is not on her paddleboard with her dog, Floyd, she can be found up to her elbows in her garden.
More about No.9 Gardens: No.9 Gardens is a 40-acre charitable educational facility, located north of Kingston. No.9 Gardens is situated on many traditional territories including Haudenosaunee (Ho-den-o-show-nee), Anishinaabe (Ah-nish-in-ah-bay), Mississauga, Algonquin, and the Wendake-Nionwentsïo nations. We are grateful to be able to offer the public these lands to live, learn, and play on.
No.9 Gardens was created to educate youth to empower and lead a revolution in building resilient communities. We act as a hands-on teaching facility and lab for the research and implementation of innovative projects and practices. We focus on low carbon communities, sustainable lifestyles, resilient local food systems and reconciliation. I urge you to check out No.9’s website for more information and updates:
Join us today at 1:00 pm for the Third Seedy Saturday by Zoom! In addition to the Virtual Seed Swap- seed saving and gardening experts will be on hand to answer your questions! Go to seedsgrowfood.org to register. We look forward to seeing you there!
Join us today at 1:00 pm for the Second Seedy Saturday by Zoom! In addition to the Virtual Seed Swap- seed saving and gardening experts will be on hand to answer your questions! And- drum roll please- Bear Root Gardens, Verona- one of our local seed companies will also be there. Go to seedsgrowfood.org to register