We’re sitting eating & told the people we’re sharing lunch with are ‘guests’, an important distinction for Earthworks, ensuring people retain their dignity. I join the *E.A.T. trainees at their seed-saving workshop; Denis goes off to film in the hoop houses. With temperatures of 108F, sitting in an air-conditioned room is definitely the better option.
There’s a vigorous discussion about the way weedkiller-ready seeds are patented along with the weed killer they’re immune to, & the development of super weeds. Patrick tells a story about his dad & organic food. He gives his dad some of his organic vegetables, & his dad turns around, says ‘I’m not eating that, it might have dog’s piss on it’. Patrick replies ‘I know which I’d rather have’.
We break & I exchange seed-saving tips with one of the trainees who isn’t too sure about saving lettuce seed. We agree that he’ll give lettuce a try if I attempt saving carrot seed – I’m to keep in touch via email with my progress.
When Patrick explained the need for seeds adapted to local growing conditions, he commented that there were now no independent seed companies specialising in seeds adapted to growing conditions in the mid-west, that Detroit had once been a centre famous during the 19th & early 20th century for the seed produced by the Ferry Seed Company. It turns out that our hotel was one of the large houses built on what had been the site of the Ferry Seed Company’s experimental farm.
*Earthworks Agricultural Training
Reflecting on Detroit from Chicago