radical art/work: meet Living Seed Company founders Astrid + Matthew Hoffman
Happy March! The spring equinox is tomorrow, so naturally we're preparing for another Nor'easter.
(Practicing being flexible, friends. At least the sun's staying up longer!)
Once the snow finally stops falling, we'll launch into our regular outdoor routine of bike rides and Walden hikes and baseball and spring festivals. I can't wait.
This will be our first spring in our new home, and my mind keeps running to visions of urban gardening and vertical planters and how to best make use of our tiny patch of southern exposure. Growing up on the prairie, with parents who were both southeastern Nebraska farm kids, gardening was just what we knew. Agriculture was the fabric of our lives. So teaching my kid how to grow his own tomatoes and recognize a ripe pepper is right up there with learning to read on my list of How Not To Blow It As A Parent.
It's tougher in the city, though; we don't even really have land, so it will mean getting creative with container gardens and the like. I'm feeling extra grateful to know folks like Matthew and Astrid Hoffman, who are doing incredible work with their organic heirloom non-GMO seed company, the Living Seed Co.
You're not going to meet artist-activists who are more thoughtful and creative and grounded and aware than these two. I'm so inspired by the literally radical work they do; the word itself, of course, refers to the root of something, and these two are striking at the root of our fractured American relationship with food production to rebirth something beautiful, intentional, and healing. This is what ecofeminist theology looks like in praxis, in real-life bodies, out in the world.
The more I learn about Big Food and the standard American diet, about processed foods and their utter lack of prana, about the power of living simply and in harmony with the land, and about the importance of eating organic (and the myriad dangers of pesticides), the more I treasure how essential (and empowering, and timely) their work is.
So, for today's installment of our radical art/work series, meet Matthew and Astrid of the Living Seed Company. They'll knock your socks off.
Astrid and Matthew Hoffman of the Living Seed Company
(Mission Statement: We're dedicated to the preservation of the genetic diversity in our food chain through the distribution and growing of open-pollinated seeds and educating about the life-affirming art of seed saving.)
What's your medium?
Vegetable, herb and flower seeds and making cuisines of the world.
What's your latest project?
We just shipped a series of large orders. One for a local organization that does fundraisers for children, another to California’s largest CSA (community-supported agriculture) and another to a spiritual organization.
Who's your target audience?
Home gardeners, school gardens and community gardens
Three key words that shape your art/work:
Who or what introduced you to this medium?
Bill McDorman of The Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance and Seed School.
Where do you live and how does your home town/region affect your art work?
Point Reyes Station, CA. An incredible community that supports farmers and regards them in the highest way, providing us good soil and pure spring water!
Public or private school education?
Public — both
Do you have any kind of spiritual practice? What does it look like?
M: A Course In Miracles, working with different Native American traditions, which includes studying the Course, daily meditations and prayer, silent retreats, sweat lodges and Vision Quests.
A: Daily meditation, yoga, immersing in nature and silent retreats.
Three books that changed your life:
M: The Course, The Art of Peace, Be Here Now
A: Be Here Now, Tibetan Book of the Dead, The Science of Religion
Three artists you admire:
M: Dali, David Gilmore, Chris Lutter
A: Dali, Anais Nin
Three causes you're passionate about:
Three teachers who taught you something important:
M: Bill McDorman, Jane Goodall, Mr. Miyagi
A: Bill McDorman, Paramahansa Yogananda, Mr. Gutting
Virginia Woolf famously said a woman writer needs a room of her own. What do you need to create your art? Any non-negotiables?
M: Soil, water, sun and good seed stock
A: I need to have my own space to create, listen to music, brainstorm and simply allow what needs to come through to be.
One thing that pisses you off:
Getting angry :)
Shittiest job you've ever had:
M: Gas station
A: Car dealership
What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?
M: Don’t worry, you will be cool someday. Learn to meditate.
A: Be humble. Listen. Don’t party so much. Study more. Find a teacher.
Secret pop culture crush:
Brangelina .... We are still devastated
Biggest challenge of your art/work?
In five years, what does your art/work look like?
Website and social media links where we can follow you and learn more about your art/work?
Living Seed Company
Astrid Design Studio
Are you ready to order your spring seeds now, or what? I can't wait to get growing.
Follow Matthew and Astrid for all kinds of good content. And stop by Astrid's Design shop in Point Reyes the next time you're in town.
Thanks for reading. Thanks for being.
Keep making art. Keep raising hell.
Back next week with something fantastic to do with all the organic heirloom non-GMO veggies you grow this summer.
Rachel Meyer is a Boston-based writer and yoga teacher. Her work has appeared in The
Washington Post, On Being, Yoga Journal, Tricycle, Yoga International, HuffPost, and more. You can find her at www.rachelmeyeryoga.com or @rachelmeyeryoga.