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Marin Organic Awarded Seed Saving Grant from Columbia Foundation

Marin Organic has been awarded a grant from the Columbia Foundation to begin researching and hosting community seed swaps for ecological and agricultural preservation. The award is thanks to the efforts of renowned environmental journalist Claire Cummings who pursued and acquired the grant on behalf of Marin Organic. A former USDA lawyer, Claire is known for her reporting of important environmental, political, and cultural issues and the health and environmental implications of what we choose to eat.
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Marin Organic will be launching the seed saving program this summer, hosting seed saving events this Fall and again in the Spring. Community involvement and inspiration is key to the success of the program. Anyone interested in learning more or becoming more involved in the program can call the Marin Organic office at 415-663-9667.

In the meantime, as we move into the full bloom of summer, here are a couple of tips about how to save your garden’s seeds this growing season:

  1. When saving bean seeds, allow seed pods to continue to mature on the plant for about six weeks beyond the eating stage, harvest pods and allow them to brown fully before harvesting the seeds inside.
  2. When saving lettuce seeds, allow the plant to flower and then form seed heads. Allow the seed heads to dry for two or three weeks, then cut off the tops of the plant and continue to dry seed heads upside down in an open paper bag.
  3. When saving broccoli seeds, do not harvest portions of the plant for eating. Allow the plant to grow to full maturity, flowering and seeding and finally waiting until about half of the seed pods have then dried, then harvest the entire plant. Collect seeds from unopened pods by placing pods in a canvas bag and using a mallet to tap them open.

Happy full circle gardening!

President and Agricultural Minister from Navarra Region of Spain Visits Marin Organic

Marin Organic Executive Director Helge Hellberg and Marin Agricultural Commissioner Stacy Carlsen talk with the President and Agricultural Minister from the Navarra Region of Spain during his recent tour of Marin County.
On Wednesday, January 31st, the President and Agricultural Minister from the Navarra Region of Spain toured Marin Organic operations in West Marin. The visit focused on the economic and environmental sustainability of local and organic agriculture in Marin County.

The Navarra Region is one of the wealthiest regions in Spain, an area about twice the size in acreage and population as Marin County. While the region has a well established agricultural and livestock economy, based mostly on value added and specialty products, the visitors are interested in seeing other models in sustainable agriculture. “We are excited about the national and international interest in our work here in Marin,” said Helge Hellberg, Executive Director of Marin Organic. “All of our efforts are based on collaborations with many other agencies and organizations, but at its base, it is the passionate commitment to the land and the products that our producer members have that makes all the difference.”

Marin Organic Executive Director Helge Hellberg and Marin Agricultural Commissioner Stacy Carlsen talk with the President and Agricultural Minister from the Navarra Region of Spain during his recent tour of Marin County.

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