"The duo held harvesting and papermaking workshops and created an ad-hoc distribution center for radical feminist literature, extending the garden’s metaphor to mean the seeding or cultivation of future generations of activist artists and gardeners." --Jenni Sorkin, critic and curator
Each year, Seeds InService plants thematic gardens to grow fiber for hand papermaking. propagate endangered seeds, and explore feminist histories.
War Gardens: Seeds of Displacement
"Most of us don't think about agriculture as one of the losses of war. We think of the loss of human life, the rubbled cities and the looted archaeological sites... But agriculture, too, is an ancient heritage that can be vulnerable. In Syria, some farmers cannot access the seeds they need, fertilizer or irrigation, according to several Syrian agricultural experts and a July report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization."
Sowing the Seeds of Syria: Farming Group Rescues Plant Species Threatened by War. The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 04 Nov. 2015. Web. 03 June 2016.
In collaboration with The Experimental Farm Network (EFN) this garden contains rare plants from the Middle East and Africa with the goal of preserving genetic, agricultural heritage under threat from war and conflict.
Seeds from these plants will be saved and returned to EFN.
Nineveh Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) Named for the ancient name of the Iraqi city of Mosul, these tomatoes are said to be unavailable in their native city any longer due to continuing violence in Iraq.
Homs Eggplant (Solanum melongena) Named for a Syrian city that has been destroyed almost completely during the ongoing civil war.
Soghum, Korjaj (Sorghum bicolor subsp. bicolor) A beautiful white-seeded sorghum from the war-torn Darfur province of western Sudan.
Soghum, Coral (Sorghum bicolor subsp. bicolor) Sorghum from the war-torn city of Malakal in South Sudan.
Soghum, Nebur Der (Sorghum bicolor subsp. bicolor) Sorghum from the war-torn city of Malakal in South Sudan, developed as a staple crop over generations by the Shilluk (or Chollo) people.
War Gardens: Homs, Syria
Maggie Puckett, War Gardens: Homs, Syria, 2016, Photo collage, 6.75 x 10 inches
It Will Never Rain Roses: Bosnian Garden
This garden is inspired by ethnobotanical heritage of Bosnia and Hercegovina and herbal medicine practiced by traditional women in the region.
Two days before I left for a Fulbright in Bosnia last year, I found letters my grandmother and I wrote to a woman we sponsored in a refugee camp in 1995. I was reunited with this woman twice in her repatriated village, which had been ethnically cleansed and turned into a rape camp during the war. This front image is the view of her village from her rebuilt home and garden.
This garden is dedicated to overcoming the trauma experienced by women in war.
Yarrow (Achillea collina) ó Decoct (M) for blood purification and as roborantium for strengthening the corpus.
Stinging nettle (Scientific name) óDecoct (SC) for anemia, blood purification and renal ailments. Decoct (M) for blood purification and asthma. Fresh pressed juice (SC) for anxiety.
Calamint (Calamintha alpina) ó Verem was used to make tea which was drunk by people who felt sorrow or melancholy. Especially susceptible to depression in the past were women of various age to whom it was suggested to drink tea from Verem and to go to a creek or river every day and dragging a cloth across the surface of the water to utter: ìO dear water if you only knew how I feltî she would confide to the water and listen to the calming sound which would psychologically calm and relax them.
Sage (Salvia officinalis) ó Tea (M) for stomachache and throat inflammations. Decoct (SC) for blood purification. Tea (SC) and powder (M) for stomachache and stomach spasms. Tea (SC) for influenza. Tincture (SC) for sedation. Decoct (M) for blood purification and as roborantium for strengthening the corpus.
Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium) ó Tea (M) for spasms and regulation of menstruation.
Wild Chamomile (Matricaria discoidea) ó Powder (SC) for hemorrhoids. E: Collar (SC) for stomachache.
Witchcraft and Colonial Warfare
Curated by Maggie Puckett for the 2017 growing season
325 years ago two of my 10th great grandmothers were accused, convicted, and sentenced to die for the crime of witchcraft. Susannah North Martin was hanged on July 19, 1692. About four months later, Ann Alcock Foster died in prison before she could be executed. These women are but two of at least 19 blood relatives of mine that participated in the infamous Salem Witch Trials. The year of terror against women grew out of the colonists’ white supremacist, extreme religious, and misogynistic beliefs. Nearby colonial wars against native communities caused immense fear in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Not only the fear of a violent death, but the racist belief that natives were worshippers of the Devil, coalesced that year into a hysterical witch hunt feverishly searching for scapegoats to take the blame of any loss, illness, or hardship. Women were considered the weaker sex and thus more susceptible to possession by the Devil. Expected to exist within the extreme confines of acceptable puritanical behavior, women could easily find that even a small expression of their humanity could result in extreme punishment. As husbands died, widows found too that without a male to “control” her, her life was a threat to the social order.
Inspired by this intersection of patriarchy and white supremacy, Witchcraft and Colonial Warfare combines medicinal, fiber, dye, and food plants from the New and Old worlds. Representing the deadly clash of cultures through colonization and the misogynistic internal conflicts within the colonists’ own society.
Baba Yaga's Post Roe V. Wade Transmenopause Garden
This bed cultivates plants that address women's health concerns. It highlights the ongoing assault on women's reproductive rights by cultivating plants historically used by midwives, crones, herbalists and modern-day witches to care for women's bodies. The plants also explore issues of ageism, post and anti-reproduction issues, and "transmenopause": a neologism to explore womanhood beyond biology and fertility.
Rue (Ruta graveolens)
Queen Anneís Pocket Melon (Curcumis melo)
Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis)
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Pennyroyal (Hedoma pulegoides)
Nettle (Urtica dioica)
Las Mujeres Zapatistas: Seeds of Resistance
This garden is dedicated to the Zapatista women of Chiapas, Mexico. Mayan maize from their territory grows together with beans and squash in a symbiotic relationship known as Three Sisters. Traditional Zapatista maize varieties are currently threatened on a genetic, economic, and cultural level by transgenic, patented varieties. Anti-GMO and anti-colonization, this garden is an effort to preserve a vital genetic heritage stewarded for thousands of years by Mayan farmers.
The Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) is a revolutionary leftist resistance group comprised mainly of Mayan indigenous groups fighting for autonomy against the oppressive and corrupt Mexican state and international corporate interests. Within the EZLN, women's autonomy is guaranteed in the ten-point Women's Revolutionary Law that includes political, economic, educational, and reproductive rights, among others.
Practicing hand-pollination techniques to protect seeds from cross-contamination presents opportunity for art interventions: portraits and quotes of Zapatista women appear on bags that cover tassels and shoots.
Corn, Zapatista Yellow, White & Black (Zea mays) Seeds are sourced from autonomous Zapatista farmers via the organization School for Chiapas. GMO-free.
Squash, Potimarron (Cucurbita maxima) Small winter squash. Sweet, chestnut flavored orange flesh. Seeds from Seed Savers Exchange.
Bean, Ojo de Cabra (Phaseolus vulgaris) Striped pole beans look like the ìeye of the goat.î Seeds originally from Baker Creek.
Love Lies Bleeding (Amaranthus caudatus) Flowering, edible plant from the Amaranth family.
Gherkin, Mexican Sour (Melothria scabra) Small sour fruits taste like cucumber.
Marigold, Hawaiian (Tagetes patula) Large orange flowers used for yellow-orange dye
Support Zapatista communities at www.schoolsforchiapas.org
“Our struggles to protect corn as a source of our lives cannot be separated from our struggles to defend our rights to land, water, traditional knowledge and self-determination.”
For the 2015 growing season, Seeds InService is growing papermaking and dye plants from the New World in four regionally/tribally specific gardens. Each garden includes corn, sunflower, bean, squash, and various dye plants. North, Central, and South America are represented, honoring the indigenous people of the regions while giving voice to their political, social, economic, and environmental issues.
SIS Garden 2014: Jane Addams Hull House Garden
By planting heirloom vegetables and flowers also usable for papermaking fiber from the Hull House Seed Library, this project honors the legacy of Jane Addams, a Nobel Prize winner, and underrepresented American historical figure who founded The Hull House in 1889. Domestic and culinary crafts were central to Addams’ radical social reformism. Many of the immigrants who came at the turn of the 20th Century were puzzled by their new non-native plants and animals, and were too poor to buy good quality food. Today, most Chicagoans have the same lack of information about sustainable food practices.