Alison Bettin, founder of the Winona seed bank and library and owner of Tiny Spoons asked the students, who excels at using a crossbow? With very few arms in the air, she goes on to explain that her asset for the zombie apocalypse is her knowledge of growing food and preserving seeds in order to fuel the protectors. That knowledge she shared with 13 students from Mankato West High School and the Compass Learning Center of New Prague during the April 13 Winter Workshop held at the Cambria Gallery in the River Hills Mall.
Alison stressed the importance of biodiversity and how climate change can alter an entire culture as it affects important crops of local residents. In 1903 there were 554 varieties of cabbage and the students couldn’t contain their disbelief. By 1983 there were a mere 28 varieties. Leaders in the food and seed realm feel that food feeds our soul. Food is more than something to curb hunger; it is spirituality, a cultural identity, and a freedom. With this loss of diversity can come a loss of a culture.
Between discussions, students made collages of their favorite foods and planted tomato and pepper seeds to take home. Alison taught the students how to tend to their plants and how to harvest seeds for preserving. She stressed the importance of proper pollination to ensure ideal genetics and how to successfully store seeds once harvested.
Ben from Mankato West said he “really enjoyed the topic. It tends to be overlooked but it is vital to our future, our health, and our planet’s health.”
The day ended with a tour of the Mankato MakerSpace with founder and president of the board Rick Esser. This is a space where people can go to learn new skills or work on projects that require tools they may not have. The building is broken up into different areas including textiles, painting, screen press, woodworking, glass blowing, pottery, and more! Students even saw their laser printer in action.
One student exclaimed that this was the best part of the day. The excitement on the students’ faces was hard to miss as it resonated with those who thrive with hands-on projects.