A Design Team for Southern Exposure’s new home

This is part of a series of blogs about the building of a new seed office headquarters for Southern Exposure Seed Exchange (SESE).

To help propel this encompassing project into reality, Paul assembled an SESE HQ Design Team.  My name is Darla Eaton, and I’ve been working on the Design Team since November, 2010.  Thus far, my primary modes of participation have been researching the cost, sustainability, and practicality of various building materials, gathering information on the most appropriate energy systems to meet our needs, and networking with professionals in the industry to help facilitate instructor-led sustainable building educational opportunities.  I’ve participated in an array of building projects including building a place to live, refurbishing community centers, and building maintenance, almost all with a strong emphasis in sustainability.

When I first joined the team, we were faced with a seemingly infinite supply of questions: What spaces in what configuration should comprise the general layout?  What alternative building materials are sustainably available to us?  What energy systems can we employ that have low energy input, both up front and over time?  How much will it cost?

Think you can help?  You’re probably right!  Most of the members on the Design Team, including myself, are new at this.  If you have expertise in any field related to sustainable building, and you’d like to discuss our project with us, shoot us an email.

Darla Eaton
Design Team Member

Who is Gary Nabhan? Chile Peppers and Place Based Foods

habanero peppersThe authors of the new book Chasing Chiles: Hot Spots Along the Pepper Trail singled us out as a force working for the preservation of heirloom chiles in a recent interview on grist.org – Hot stuff: chile peppers, climate change, and the future of food. Authors Kurt Friese, Gary Nabhan, and Kraig Kraft (an ethnobotanist, a chef, and an agroecologist) examine climate change through the lens of the chile pepper. In another grist post, Nabhan writes about Global weirding and the scrambling of terroir.

We carry seeds for three of the chiles they track in the book – Habaneros (the Yucatan), Fish Peppers (Chesapeake Bay area) (sold out for this year), and Jimmy Nardello’s (from Italy via Connecticut). 

Gary Nabhan will be presenting at this year’s Heritage Harvest Festival on the findings of the book.  You can download free booklets on Place Based Foods from his website. The most recent – Appalachia – From Rarity to Community Restoration and Market Recovery – features a piece on heirloom grinding corns of Appalachia by our own Ira Wallace, as well as articles on heritage apples, pawpaws, wild spring greens, traditional sweet potato curing, and Bill Best of Sustainable Mountain Agriculture Center on the Noble Bean.

Garden Grants available in Charlottesville

Just a quick note to let our local readers know that our friends at C’ville Foodscapes, a worker owned cooperative that designs and installs food gardens in the Charlottesville area, are accepting applications for their 2011 Garden Grants program.

The C’ville Foodscapes’ Garden Grants Program, in partnership with Charlottesville’s Quality Community Council (QCC) will help low-income individuals and families have their own vegetable garden.

Tax deductible donations can be made to Quality Community Council (QCC), which will act as the fiscal sponsor for this program and manage the application process and criteria for awarding a grant. QCC, is a Charlottesville non-profit organization dedicated to improving the community by addressing the problems that detract from a higher quality of life for its citizens.

Can you help a deserving family receive the gift of their own food garden? Please contact us to contribute to the Garden Grants Program. Donations may be sent to:  QCC Garden Grants, 327 W. Main St, Ste 101, Charlottesville, VA  22903.  Thank you!

Check them out here.

Saving the Past for the Future