After Dark: Plants and Place
All kinds of plants populate our local landscape—but which ones originated here? Tonight, explore the importance of growing and maintaining native plants. Hear from members of Indigenous communities in Mexico who care for native maize and who advocate for community farming practices that protect biodiversity. Learn about the Bay Area’s own native species and how they support ecosystems—and find out how you can help native plants thrive.
Photo: Still from Keepers of the Corn, courtesy of Gustavo Vazquez
With Aldo González Rojas and Gabriela Linares Sosa
Please note: This program is presented in Spanish. For simultaneous English translation, please bring your phone and headphones to the event. A conference line will be provided.
Over 8,000 years ago, Mesoamericans in what is now southern Mexico first domesticated maize. Since then, the plant and its seed have been essential to the culture, diet, and economy of Mexico. Across generations, local and Indigenous communities have passed down their knowledge as its harvesters and caretakers. These farmers have discovered important scientific properties of maize, as well as new species—including a unique, self-fertilizing strain. But global interest in Indigenous maize, and policies that prioritize industrialized agriculture, have resulted in contamination, economic hardship, and political struggle. Tonight, join Aldo González Rojas and Gabriela Linares Sosa of the Union of Organizations of the Sierra Juárez of Oaxaca (UNOSJO) to learn more about the history of maize in Oaxaca and why local farmers are the key to harvesting the seeds of the future.
UNOSJO is a Zapotec Indigenous nonprofit based in the community of Guelatao de Juárez, Mexico. It promotes Indigenous participation in economic, political, social, and cultural projects, and defends Indigenous land rights.
Aldo González Rojas is Zapotec from Guelatao de Juárez, where he is Municipal President. In 2002, through UNOSJO and other organizations, he participated in the founding of the Network in Defense of Corn.
Gabriela Linares Sosa is Zapotec from the Sierra Juárez of Oaxaca. She is a biologist and the founder of Defense of Native Maize of Oaxaca. She has worked with UNOSJO since 2007, and recently joined the Coordination of the Assembly of Indigenous Women of Oaxaca.
With Gustavo Vazquez
Please note: Keepers of the Corn is presented in Spanish, Zapotec, and Chinantec, with subtitles in English. Post-screening conversation in English.
Join filmmaker Gustavo Vazquez for a special screening of Keepers of the Corn/Los Guardianes del Maíz (2021, 58 min.), a story of collective labor spanning more than 350 generations. The film shares the history of native corn through the voices of the Mexican Indigenous farmers, artisans, and cooks whose ancestors shepherded its seeds from the dawn of agriculture into the twenty-first century. They are joined by community leaders, scientists, chefs, and others who stand not only in defense of food sovereignty and the genetic integrity, diversity, and community ownership of native seeds, but in defense of a durable cultural legacy and a way of life. After the screening, stay for a conversation with the filmmaker.
Gustavo Vazquez hails from Tijuana and now lives in San Francisco. He is a founding member of Cine Acción and a professor of film and digital media at UC Santa Cruz.
California is one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. Which plants are local to our Bay Area landscapes? And how are these native plants essential to ecological balance? Join the California Native Plant Society to learn more about your plant neighbors. They’ll showcase local species and edible plants, and offer insights into how you can help maintain, nurture, and restore the diversity of Bay Area plant life.
California Native Plant Society (CNPS) celebrates, conserves, and restores California’s 6,500 native plants that are the foundation of our ecosystem and our food web.
With Nature in the City
Learn about nature-conscious gardening with Nature in the City! Get up close to plants native to the Bay Area and find out how people have been using them for thousands of years. And discover eco-friendly approaches to gardening that can help maintain—and restore—local ecosystems.
Nature in the City is a grassroots environmental nonprofit that connects all people in the Bay Area with nature. It creates local solutions to global biodiversity loss through habitat-restoration projects and hands-on volunteering at its native plant sites; leads nature walks and events; and provides tools and educational resources for people to participate in community science and lifelong learning.
As spring springs all around, step up to our plant propagation station to learn more about how certain plant species are ready to multiply at the cut of a stem. See a variety of propagation-prone plants at different stages of their root development—and carefully clip from a selection of potted plants to take your own propagator home to grow. In time, pass on the propagation!
With Cinema Arts
Head to the Microcinema in Osher Gallery 1 to watch two short films related to ¡Plantásticas!: Our Lives with Plants, an exhibition celebrating the history and science of plants and their integral role in connecting us to our cultures and our planet.
Native to Right Here: The Plants Animals and People of Tuushtak by Joan H. Hamilton (2021, 20 min.)
Take a walk with Ohlone cultural leaders Vincent Medina and Louis Trevino in the hills below their most sacred peak, Tuushtak, aka Mount Diablo.
Seed Mother: Coming Home by Mateo Hinojosa and Rowen White (2021, 7 min.)
Beautiful animation and compelling documentary footage tell the powerful story of the Seed Rematriation movement among intergenerational Indigenous people.
With DJ Young Ella Baker
Get ready to dance your way through the night as DJ Young Ella Baker sets the vibe and keeps the party moving!
Food and drinks will be available for purchase at our Seaglass Restaurant and additional bar locations.