From: Howard Jacobson <>
Subject: Gardening our way through calamity - incredibly important podcast episode

...even if you're not a gardener

Will Bonsall is a self-described "back-to-the-land hippie homesteader," and author of two extremely important and prescient books: Will Bonsall's Essential Guide to Radical Self-Reliant Gardening, and Through the Eyes of a Stranger, an adventure novel that explores what a sustainable society might look like following what he calls "the calamitous times" of the 21st century.

I took the gardening book off the shelf as soon as my family and I returned from South Africa, as we were several weeks behind in setting up the garden for this year, and I foresaw a need to grow "calorie crops" like wheat, buckwheat, corn, and sunflowers in addition to the usual tomatoes, basil, okra, pepper, onions, eggplant, and summer squash.

The introduction of the book caught me off-guard, as it was speaking specifically about the societal collapse that is occurring in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Not specifically as in "coronavirus from Wuhan in March 2020," but in terms of the cascade of breakdowns that will threaten our food and energy supply, and leave people to fight over scarce resources.

All of a sudden, self-reliant, veganic (without animal inputs like bone meal and manure) gardening, felt like an imperative. I wanted to share Will's perspective with you, now that it's so obviously urgent.

The other reason I wanted to get Will back on the podcast is to shamelessly plug his decades-long Scatterseed Project, which you can think of as a Noah's Ark for horticultural biodiversity. Will has been saving heirloom seeds for about 40 years, and is caretaker of a vast and unimaginably valuable repository of genetic diversity. All of which we'll need as the climate changes, new pathogens emerge, and we'll have no idea which genetic stock will be able to survive, thrive, and feed us in the future.

When I reached out to Will to ask him to talk about Scatterseed, he confided that he wasn't confident about its long-term survival due to lack of funds. This alarmed me.

So I want to ask you, dear listener, to listen to the interview and, if your situation and resources allow, become a patron of Scatterseed and allow this work to continue.

As far as I'm concerned, Will's 40-year labor of love is one of the great treasures of human civilization, and its loss will deal a grave blow to our chances of rebuilding after the present series of calamities.

Here's the conversation:

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