Thanks a heap to the Co-op staff who came out for a bean-threshing work party on August 24th. It was loads of fun, super productive, and I really enjoyed the company and enthusiasm. I have never had such a hard time dragging volunteers away from their work. And a beautiful day on top.
Just a word that this project is only partially aimed at making a profit - half of what we do is education and unfunded research, and we depend on volunteers to help us out so we don't burn out and move to a tropical island for early retirement (as if). If anyone has been wanting to get out here and see how exactly one might process their own backyard dry goods, get in touch with my by email for a one-on-one session or come to the next big work party:
Sunday, September 15th, 1-3pm
Sponsored by Sustainable Connections' EAT LOCAL MONTH
Threshing and Non-GMO corn harvest party
Go here for details: http://sustainableconnections.org/events/threshing-party-non-gmo-corn-project-harvest
This year we were fortunate enough to get a small grant from the Bellingham Community Food Co-op's Farm Fund, for our Non-GMO Corn Preservation Project. The grant paid for pollination supplies, outreach, and a portion of the labor required to launch this community program aimed at ensuring an enduring supply of locally-adapted Non-GMO grain corn varieties.
As part of the project we learned to do hand pollination and trained other farmers in the skills required to keep their own corn patch from receiving pollen from neighboring GMO corn field. Our hand pollination efforts were focused on varieties already known to do well here: Nothstine and Mandan Bride dent corn, Lavendar Mandan parching corn, Cascade Ruby-Gold flint corn, and Painted Mountain Flour Corn.
We will begin harvesting our corn at our upcoming Threshing and Harvest work party, sunday September 15. We will have the results of the first year's work at a free community information session at the Food Co-op on October 21st, 6:30pm. There, we will also discuss the importance of protecting corn from GMO contamination, threats from GM crops in general, and how you can get involved as a farmer to steward a variety yourself.
Krista is a life-long resident of Whatcom County, Washington State. She has been gardening and farming in the area for over 15 years.