After the success of our first Standing Rock Seed Exchange in Fort Yates, ND, in Spring of 2018, we started hearing that people on the south side of the reservation wanted a seed exchange, too. So, the first Mobridge Seed Exchange was born. We met on a Saturday afternoon at the Sitting Bull College Mobridge Campus, and set up in the student lounge.
The first Mobridge Seed Exchange attracted a mix of Native people from Standing Rock and the surrounding community, and European-Americans from the Mobridge area. We started with an opening prayer led by Mobridge resident Luke Black Elk, and shared potluck meal. Then, one by one, everyone who had brought seeds to share stood up and introduced us to their seeds, sharing the seeds’ story and any growing tips that people might want to know. Then, we opened it up for people to take seeds.
Here are some of Prof. Linda Black Elk’s Ethnobotany students, and members of the local community, getting seeds:
Enough people (and seeds) showed up that we wound up having to add extra tables!
Overall, we had more than 30 attendees of all ages and walks of life. I didn’t count seed varieties, but many, many seeds changed hands and went home to new families that afternoon.
While, as you can see, there were some seed packets that were donated, the focus was really on sharing locally-adapted seeds from community members’ gardens and farms.
Overall, it was a very successful event! We planned a second Mobridge Seed Exchange for a bit later in the spring, to include a seedling (live plant) exchange and also some brief gardening lessons. I’ll share pics from that event soon.
In this pic, on the bottom on the far left, you can see a milkweed rope, made by Bill Rosin of Rosin Organics (Selby, SD), using a skill he picked up in Prof. Linda Black Elk’s Ethnobotany class.