Zelda and Bramble have shared our home since March 2016. They had been abandoned in a grocery store parking lot in Watkins Glen, NY, during a February rainstorm. Fortunately, a Good Samaritan brought the duo to Farm Sanctuary, where Abbie was a caregiver. Bramble’s and Zelda’s strong and distinct personalities, friendliness despite their rough history, and mutual devotion were clear, and we knew right away that they would be moving in with us! They have enriched our lives beyond description and we are so grateful for our wonderful little friends! It has been fun getting to know their individual quirks, their inquisitive and communicative nature, and the roles they fulfill in each others’ lives. When they take over the world, Zelda will be the mad scientist and safecracker, while Bramble will ask nicely, wiggle his luxurious cheeks, and get exactly what he wants!
Zelda and Bramble now live in their own room in our house, a palace that Kevin customized based on their interests, complete with a window perch/jungle gym, interactive peg board walls, and a private deck with a bunny door so they can come and go as they please. They love tearing in and out of their room, watching the sun rise and set from their deck, sitting in the window and overlooking their domain, and requesting dandelion offerings from passing subjects.
Official Greens and Herbs Taste Testers hard at work! Bramble (left) and Zelda (right)
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the importance of seed saving and the work of seed banks such as the World Vegetable Center. I want to share a wonderful update from the world of seed saving that I read recently. According to this article in The Guardian, the Cherokee Nation is depositing seeds from nine of its most culturally important crops in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a seed repository known as the “doomsday vault,” located deep in a Norwegian mountain above the Arctic Circle.
Various seed banks have been destroyed due to war, natural disasters, and the affects of climate change, losing precious crop seed forever. The carefully built Svalbard vault stores backup copies of acquisitions from seed banks all over the world with the intention of preserving crop diversity for thousands of years. The Cherokee are depositing seeds from four types of corn, four types of beans, and candy roaster squash (a delicious variety that we grow at Dandelion Ridge Farm!). These crops have been integral to Cherokee culture for many generations.
Incredibly, the only other seeds from an indigenous community in the Svalbard Vault are potatoes from the Quechua people of the Andes. Indigenous peoples around the world domesticated most of the food plants we all know and enjoy, and many varieties that are vital to their diets and ways of life. Hopefully there will be many more of these seed deposits to come.
Packets of Cherokee white eagle corn seeds. Photograph: Stephanie Remer/Cherokee Nation Communications. Photo Courtesy of The Guardian.