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Gratitude During Indigenous Heritage Month

Adapted from our shared values.

At SRSC we consider seeds as gifts from generations of people who have saved and adapted them over thousands of years. On this continent, Indigenous Seedkeepers have domesticated and adapted corn, beans, squash, tomatoes, peppers, and other crops in elegant agricultural systems that have persisted for thousands of years. In the process of settling the country and establishing colonies and then the United States much of the original balance between the peoples of these lands and their foodways were systematically severed. Indigenous seedkeepers were separated from their lands, seeds, and time-tested practices which were stolen and destroyed for profit. Agriculture as it’s been practiced in this country for a short time, comparatively speaking, is facing times of great adaptation.

We’ve been following the guidance of the Indigenous Seedkeepers Network, where Rowen White has graciously spent a huge amount of emotional and mental labor to offer us white-owned small-scale seed companies some education and insight on how we might be useful in the work of reparations and other forms of righting / healing the wounds of colonization.  

This guidance includes practices that we’ve worked to integrate into our business. One such is Origins Accountability. Often stories told about seeds in seed catalogs erase the stories of the indigenous seedkeepers who were their original breeders and stewards, replacing them with a modern-day breeder as the “creator” of the variety. We have gone through our catalog and worked to prioritize those varieties in our collection that used the language that erased indigenous history, or otherwise told an incomplete story. All seeds are indigenous to somewhere, but we focused our efforts in the first round story re-telling around those varieties that are indigenous to the western hemisphere. The work will continue in good ways.

Actively Seeking Collaboration with Indigenous Growers 

We are very grateful to support the call inviting Indigenous  community members to cultivate the Blue Camas Prairie Flower sent out a couple of weeks ago by Sidney Fellows a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes based in Eastern Idaho. She has focused on this native plant in her study and work, seeking to establish camas, a traditional subsistence plant. We’re excited to be able to collaborate!