The Alliance for the Arts GreenMarket will host free backyard farming workshops at 10:30 a.m. every Saturday morning in June and July. This year’s workshop series is titled “When the Shelves Go Bare” and deals with increased concerns about a potential future food shortage. The next workshop in the series, “Propagating the Future: Seed Saving in the 21st Century,will be held Saturday June 17th, at 10:30 am.

In the past 100 years, America has seen a 94% reduction in pollinated seed varieties. As the commercial agriculture market focuses on ­corn, wheat, and soy monocultures, the responsibility of growing and saving unique seed varieties has fallen on the home gardener. With the help of seed banks across the globe, home gardeners have continued the tradition of growing and storing the seeds of open pollinated crops for generations. The role of the home gardener and seed saver is becoming more important than ever in the mission of protecting and restoring our food sovereignty and reclaiming the biodiversity of our food system. This free workshop will cover techniques and methods for seed saving in the 21st century.

Workshop presenter and the “Unruly Gardener” Millisa Bell is a native Floridian and organic gardener who has been saving seeds for over a decade. She has a passion for sharing and spreading her seed saving knowledge across Lee County and the United States. Along with her gardening husband, Santiago DeChoch, she grows organic seedlings and raises bees, chickens, rabbits, and composting worms. She is also the creator of the historic Shangri-la’s organic food to table program in Bonita Springs and is responsible for turning a once unproductive landscape into a 4.5 acre food producing paradise.

Although workshops are free, small donations are welcomed, as the Alliance for the Arts GreenMarket strives to support local growers, bakers and artisans. A Q&A session will follow the presentation.

Dash and Dive by Melissa Miller Nece

Artists from all over Florida submitted more than 400 pieces for consideration in the Alliance for the Arts’ annual All Florida Exhibition. The juror, Kimberly Riner, narrowed the list to 46 pieces which were unveiled to the public during an opening celebration on June 2.

Melissa Miller Nece was awarded $1,000 for Best in Show for her colored pencil piece “Dash and Dive.” Mary Voytek  won a $250 Golden Artists Colors Gift Certificate for her 2nd place for her mixed media sculpture “Motherboard.” Sherry Rohl won $100 for 3rd place for her ballpoint pen piece “Completing Interests 2.” Daniel Venditti, Jose Pardo and Stephen Bufter were awarded Juror’s Choice Awards.

Birth of Venus 2.0 by Jose Pardo

“Drawing is the product of a direct connection between the eye, the mind and the hand. It feels organic, physical and spiritual at the same time,” says Best in Show winner Melissa Miller Nece. “There is something profoundly satisfying in making marks that come together into something recognizable. Colored pencils are responsive tools that connect the texture of the paper with the ideas of the mind.”

Exhibiting artists include: Adriana Flores, Anna Rac, Betsy DJamoos, Buck Ward, Carla Wormington Messerli, Daniel Venditti, David Belling, Deborah Martin, Ed Takacs, Grayson Stoff, J.T. Phillippe, Janet George, Jim Stewart, JoAnn LaPadula, Joanna Coke, Joel Shapses, John O’Brien, Jose Pardo, Katy Danca Galli, Marc Harris, Mary Klunk, Mary Voytek, Melissa Miller Nece, Mike Kiniry, Muffy Clark Gill, Nancy Terrell, Penelope Breen, Roger Sherman, Sherry Rohl, Simon Huebler, Stephen Bufter, Steve Conley, Sue Higgins, Susanne Brown, Terry Lynn Spry, Tracy Owen-Cullimore and Whit Robbins.

“It’s exciting to host artists from across all the pockets of Florida,” says exhibitions coordinator Krista Johnson. “The submissions truly showcase the breadth and creative talent of Florida’s independent artists.”

The exhibit sponsor is Elemental Stone and Waterworks.