The Hypha Free Nursery: Gifts From Strangers
“A gift is a thing we do not get by our own efforts. We cannot buy it; we cannot acquire it through an act of will. It is bestowed upon us. A gift that cannot be given away ceases to be a gift. The spirit of a gift is kept alive by its constant donation.”
~Lewis Hyde, The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World
A central theme of Hypha is the gift. Our capitalist society, however, is predicated on scarcity and profit. Have we lost track of the generous spirit of gift giving when our culture views everything through a lens of economic gain? What happens if we locally reintroduce the concept of the gift, an offering that grows in abundance only if it is kept in motion?
We believe generosity, art, and storytelling can be employed as pathways to reconnect and repair our relationship with the earth. Hypha is an offering to the land and community that sustains us; it's a love song to Seattle and a way to stimulate conversation about reverence, gratitude, and other ways of living.
We grow seedlings and cuttings and give them away as gifts with instructions on care and how to propagate them further. We print letterpress cards to accompany select plants, providing historical and cultural context to our landscape. We map where they will be planted to illustrate the potential of forming new relationships and building networks of sharing.
This project is in collaboration with Lark Preyapongpisan, a wonderful letterpress and book artist.
Plants for propagation are selected with emphasis on perennial food systems, urban pollinators and wildlife, suitability to our local landscape, ease of propagation, and transplant success. All seed sources are open pollinated, and all plants are organically grown. We operate on a very small scale with no budget and are not able to provide plants to large organizations. This is a labor of love for us. Collaborations are welcome!
There can be no meaningful discussion of local food security and environmental stability / regeneration without a fundamental understanding of plant reproduction. This is an educational / community project meant to inspire the sharing of plants and knowledge. Knowledge is a gift and, in this case, comes in the shape of a plant.