Support the COVID-19 Indigenous Seed Crisis Response Circle

October 23, 2020

Like many seed farmers, Indigenous seed keepers are experiencing increased demand for seeds from their communities because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Support the COVID-19 Indigenous Seed Crisis Response Circle: a person's torso and hands are framed. One hand holds multicolour corn kernels, and the other hand holds a jar of many more of the same kernels. One wrist wears a beaded bracelet.
“We have innovatively been caring for our ancestral seed relations against all colonial odds.” (Image courtesy of Sovereign Seeds)

COVID-19 is exacerbating food insecurity and injustice. The COVID-19 Indigenous Seed Crisis Response Circle is responding by keeping ancestral seed alive, asserting Indigenous sovereignty, and (re)claiming ancestral food relationships.

Like many seed farmers, Indigenous seed keepers are experiencing increased demand for seeds from their communities.

With small seed supplies, this can result in difficult decisions: gifting seed for food, at the risk of losing ancestral varieties.

Sovereign Seeds has responded to the challenge by facilitating the COVID-19 Indigenous Seed Crisis Response Circle to support seed keepers this growing season.

Support for the COVID-19 Indigenous Seed Crisis Response Circle supports the growth and stewarding of this red corn. A hand holds an ear of red corn, partially shucked. Sun shines on the hand and the corn, and the sky is bright with a few fluffy clouds.
Image courtesy of Sovereign Seeds

Through this initiative, seed keepers from Indigenous territories that span the areas colonially known as Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick, have been working together to increase the supply of Indigenous seed varieties.

Now as harvest time moves towards a close, seed work is just beginning.

Circle members are working to collectively clean, store, and take inventory of the ancestral seeds they’ve nurtured all summer. Throughout the winter months, the Circle’s seed keepers will share these seeds with Indigenous individuals and initiatives across Turtle Island, offer guidance to recipients through the creation of an introductory seed saving resource, and continue to lend their leadership to the cross-community seed governance that makes the Circle so special.

Through these efforts, more ancestral foods and seeds will be grown across Turtle Island next year.

This vital, ongoing work meets an urgent need for food and seed and helps decolonize the food system.

The waist-down of a person is framed in this photo. The person wears a patterned skirt and holds a jar of seeds in one hand and a shovel in the other. The person, jar and shovel are desaturated of colour, while the background of corn growing the the ground, remains in colour. A red spray paint effect lines the top border of the image.
“Supporting the Circle means supporting a more just and climate-resilient future for generations of seeds and seed keepers to come.” (Image courtesy of Sovereign Seeds)

What is Sovereign Seeds?

Indigenous communities in North America have long been caring for the seeds that nurtured them through centuries of oppression and colonial violence. This oppression continues today in many forms, including food insecurity, which disproportionately impacts Indigenous people.

Sovereign Seeds is an Indigenous-led initiative working to decolonize food systems through seed sovereignty work. SeedChange is supporting Sovereign Seeds’ growth and vision, as part of our commitment to Indigenous food leadership and food justice.

The words "Indigenous seed sovereignty is climate justice" are on a yellow background. Corn seeds, sunflower seeds, squash seeds, five different varieties of bean seeds, and two different types of bean or pea pods dot the area around the words "climate justice"
Indigenous seed sovereignty is climate justice. (Image courtesy of Sovereign Seeds)

Support Indigenous seed keepers; support the COVID-19 Indigenous Seed Crisis Response Circle!

SeedChange supporters have a long history of supporting Indigenous farmers and seed savers around the world. Working with local partners, SeedChange supports communities keeping ancestral seeds alive, asserting their food sovereignty and growing healthy food.

Now, through Sovereign Seeds, you can support food justice by showing solidarity with Indigenous communities here as well.

Please consider making a tax-deductible gift via Sovereign Seeds’ Go Fund Me page. All funds received will support the COVID-19 Indigenous Seed Crisis Response Circle. Any gift amount is meaningful and appreciated—both for the financial support, and for the important demonstration of your solidarity.