New Field Foundation recommends grants to the Seeds, Soil, and Culture fund by invitation only. Unsolicited proposals for funding are not eligible for funding. For inquiries about the Seeds, Soil, and Culture fund, please contact Jonathon Landeck, Managing Director, New Field Foundation, via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Agency of Development Initiatives (ADI)
ADI is working to strengthen the Dyikan Muras (Farmers’ Heritage) Seed-Savers Network of women vegetable growers by reviving local seed preservation and the philosophy that seeds are sacred beings and symbols of people’s relation to nature. ADI is helping to create five household-level seed-plots as demonstration and learning venues in two regions of Kyrgyzstan.
ARCOS Network works with 25 communities in Rwanda and Uganda. In this project, the Jyambere Munyarwanda Farmers Association and the Kapchebut Elgon Farmers Association are hosting rural youth to learn about managing traditional seeds from elders. ARCOS is also organizing a gathering on native fruits in the mountain region.
In April 2017, Asociacion ANDES and the International Network of Mountain Indigenous Communities (INMIP) organized a Walking Workshop in Peru’s Sacred Valley, where local indigenous farmers are conserving their natural and cultural resources as well as their traditional knowledge and spiritual values about health, food, and agriculture.
In 2018 Asociacion ANDES and the International Network of Mountain Indigenous Communities (INMIP) are again leading a Walking Workshop, this time in Kyrgyzstan. The theme of the workshop is “Biocultural Heritage for Resilient Mountain Communities”. Community members from 12 countries are exchanging knowledge and experiences, exploring biocultural heritage-based solutions to climate change impacts in their mountain environments.
Bioversity International is conducting research and training to strengthen the capacity of smallholder women and men farmers in Uganda, Nepal, Bangladesh and Guatemala to conserve their heritage seed varieties and biocultural knowledge.
In northwest Ghana, CIKOD is working with a network of men and women seed savers to produce, share, and promote local and indigenous seeds within the regional food system. The project aims to build an exemplary model grounded in traditional culture that inspires men and women farmers in the region to nurture their own local seed supplies.
Farmers Seed Network in China
The Farmers Seed Network in China, working with Dr. Yiching Song from the Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and in collaboration with Bioversity International, is conducting participatory research and training on farmer-managed seed systems in six communities in southwest, northern, and eastern China.
FERN is supporting agricultural writer, Lisa Hamilton, to tell the story of Ia Vang, a Hmong woman and refugee from Laos who immigrated to the U.S. and carries on the work of her ancestors, growing rice by hand in California’s Central Valley. As it traces these sacred seeds and the people who grow them, Ia Vang’s story is one of time-forged connections between identity, adaptation, and resilience.
The Global Alliance for the Future of Food is using a Seeds, Soil & Culture grant to underwrite the participation of farmer leaders from all over the world at a “Seeds of Resilience” convening in Oaxaca, Mexico, in late 2018.
Guinean Association of Environment and Development (AGED)
AGED is working in the Kankan Region of Guinea, West Africa, to document and conserve heritage yam varieties in collaboration with farmer leaders who have significant experience planting these varieties within their local cropping system. These yam farmers are gaining a renewed sense of the value of their heritage yam varieties, as they plant, conserve, and conduct research about them.
The Institute works with Hopi communities to maintain traditional agricultural heritage systems. It has built solar greenhouses where people grow heirloom vegetable starts and the rootstock of local fruit trees. It has helped revive the Hopi cooperative work concept of Na’ya, bringing people together to restore traditional farms and heirloom orchards.
Movement for Ecological Learning and Community Action (MELCA)
MELCA is working in two communities in Ethiopia, Telecho and Haroberbabo, to build young farmers’ skills in conserving traditional seeds and understanding the cultural knowledge associated with them. MELCA is inviting other communities to learn about seed banks as a way toward small-scale farmers’ seed sovereignty, particularly for crops managed by rural women.
NAFSA’s Indigenous SeedKeepers Network (ISKN) nourishes seed sovereignty across Turtle Island by conserving traditional seeds in their indigenous cultural context, via mentorships and its SeedKeepers cultural curriculum. A key action is the rematriation of traditionally sacred seeds from public and private institutions (museums, seed banks, universities).
OSA will engage indigenous and immigrant farmers to share their knowledge of culturally significant vegetable varieties, and learn about adapting them to local ecological conditions. OSA will reach out to Hmong farmers near Seattle, S’Klallam tribal members on the Olympic Peninsula, Latino farmers in Skagit County, WA, and other underserved farm communities.
The Library is working with 20 farmers from 6 West Bank communities to conserve four heirloom crops threatened by extinction. The Jadu’i Watermelon, Habeh Soda Wheat, White Cucumber, and Baladi Tomato are Ba’al crops, planted at the end of the rainy season, and grown without irrigation. The farmers lead workshops on Ba’al and other biocultural crops.
Public Organization Rushnoi
The Public Organization Rushnoi is working with 13 local fruit farmers in Tajikistan to research and collect seeds and seedlings for planting and grafting heritage varieties of fruit trees using traditional methods. The project includes the development of Rushnoi’s Apple Park and Botanical Garden, Kuhsori Alam, and its cultural museum and local farmers’ meeting center.
Qachuu Aloom will conduct participatory research with Maya-Achi families in Guatemala on reviving ancestral knowledge about sacred seeds and nutritious foods based on the Maya worldview. The research will focus on maize and amaranth, the relationship of Water, Sun, Earth, and Wind to the Mayan cosmovision and agriculture, and living in reciprocity with sacred seeds.
TVCDC collaborates with Lakota youth and families to heal and strengthen people’s cultural identity. TVCDC’s Food Sovereignty Initiative uses Lakota cultural knowledge as the basis for developing a local regenerative food system. The grant is supporting TVCDC to engage community members to grow nutritional food with seeds that are culturally relevant.
In Guinea-Bissau, Tiniguena is working closely with the Women’s Forum of Urok (FMU) in the country’s Urok Islands. The work is expanding the use of heritage seed varieties, establishing community seed conservatories for culturally and economically important varieties, and increasing smallholder women and men farmers’ capacity to conserve and reproduce heritage seeds for use in agroecological food systems.
UDB is aiming to reconnect native peoples in the Bears Ears region of Utah back to their indigenous food heritage, beginning with research on revitalizing consumption of the native potato. UDB is also conducting a traditional foods assessment to lay the foundation for rebuilding a regional food system that is grounded in indigenous culture and supported by community leaders.
ZIMSOFF farmers believe that traditional seeds are fundamental to their cultural survival. Thus, ZIMSOFF staff is facilitating community-level dialogues with traditional Chiefs and spirit mediums to highlight rituals and ceremonies to honor seeds and food, and strengthen the capacity of local leaders in traditional seed stewardship to mentor others in their craft.
Food System Transformation Fund
RSF Social Finance’s Food System Transformation Fund (FSTF) provides catalytic loans to social enterprises in the U.S. that strive to create a flourishing regional food and agriculture supply chain. It funds businesses and organizations that are directly involved in the production, processing, and distribution of foodstuffs produced with high ethical and ecological standards. Producers may borrow from the fund for a range of needs including working capital and equipment. The Seeds, Soil & Culture Fund loaned financial resources to the FSTF in June 2017.
Please also visit the website of our sister program Tamalpais Trust at https://www.tamtrust.org.