The Next Epoch Seed Library exists as a fluid, crowd-sourced collection of seeds and as a series of physical installations.
We are currently on view at:
Home/Body, 3 Dots Downtown, State College, PA
Lawn(Re)Disturbance Laboratory at NATURE Lab, 3333 Sixth Ave, in Troy, NY
The Next Epoch Seed Library (NESL) reimagines the conventional seedbank for an era defined by the massive ecological impacts of Capitalism and resource extraction. Rather than focusing on utility or agricultural heritage, we work with adaptable, weedy plants who have co-evolved with dense human populations. These plants are our indispensable companions as we inhabit novel ecosystems and journey through climate chaos together.
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Our old blog (2016-2019)
Stocked with seeds gathered from vacant lots, street verges, superfund sites and abandoned infrastructure, the seed library engages a gene pool of tough, highly adaptable plants well-suited to live in close quarters with humans and their attendant landscape transformations. Contributing to habitat livability through soil stabilization, moisture retention, heat island reversal, toxic bio-accumulation and medicinal and nutritional attributes, these plants are prepared to heal the wounds inflicted by a changing climate and unsustainable resource extraction.
We believe that reciprocal networks of plants and people can provide a solid foundation for building ecologically just communities. Weedy plants are ubiquitous, accessible, and often overlooked. We work to move plants from the background to the foreground of contemporary urban life by raising awareness of these weedy species and encouraging participants to engage with their local habitats.
Thank you for your interest in contributing to the Next Epoch Seed Library! NESL is an artist run project that encourages public participation. We think seed gathering is an enjoyable activity that encourages contact between humans and the plant species that form the basis of our urban ecosystems. Please read the guidelines below and get in touch with any questions. We’d be happy to list you on our website as a contributing member of NESL.
NESL is primarily interested in plant species that live in close association with humans, but that have not been planted or maintained purposefully; in short, weeds! Growing where others can’t or won’t, the plants held in our seed bank are those best adapted to live in the long shadow we throw on the landscape. They are companion plants for the so-called Anthropocene age.
Open Access Curriculum for leading your own seed-oriented activities
Videos documenting our process and the plants we work with
Projects that bring the seed library to life through pop-up seed exchanges, walks, seed burial, & other experiments:
The following pages are temporarily offline due to data loss:
Above: Documentary short by Candace Thompson
Above: NESL: Habitats, Collecting, Processing, 2016 (self-produced video with contributions from Milcah Bassel, 1067 PacificPeople, Owen Levelle, Dan Phiffer)
Lawn (Re)Disturbance Season 1 from Ellie Irons on Vimeo.
Above: Lawn (Re)Disturbance Laboratory “Making Of” Video
Above: Video by Catie Rafferty and Chris Johnstone, Sanctuary TV
The Next Epoch Seed Library is in the process of developing curricular resources aimed at a range of learners who want to find ways to engage more deeply with plants and urban ecology.
We started with a series of experiential exercises involving movement, language, and storytelling, which you can download below (Activities 1-3). We are also developing more in depth curriculum series to complement our Deep Time Seed Burial and Lawn (Re)Disturbance Laboratory projects. Completed lesson plans are linked below in their own sections. All materials are licensed Non-Commercial/Attribution/ShareAlike, which means you are free to alter, reproduce and share them as long as you credit us as the original source and make them freely accessible yourself. Comments or feedback? Get in touch! info (at) nextepochseedlibrary (dot) come