It’s that time of year when millions of women and men farmers in some parts of the world are planting their crops and, in other parts, they are harvesting. Their work is long and hard. Whether planting or harvesting, seeds are the soul of these sacred events. The Seeds, Soil & Culture Fund honors these farmers, their hard work, and their seeds as best we can. Please visit our updated website to learn about more than 40 projects around the world with seeds, soil and culture at the heart of all the good work happening. Yet, it’s fair to ask, what is Seeds, Soil & Culture trying to do?
It is this. How we think and talk about seeds and soil reflects how we view the natural world, including our bodies because of the food we eat. In many parts of the world, farmers’ reverence for seeds and soil is heard, felt or seen in language, stories and ceremony. People who view seeds and soil as living beings rather than commodities have maintained a vital connection to the natural world. Their values of respect, reciprocity, harmony, a sense of what is sacred, and gratitude for what is given and shared are so needed in our world today. These values live in the hearts and minds of millions of women and men farmers around the world, yet we barely hear them, or know their work.
Here are four stories about farming by Indigenous Peoples, three communities in North America and one in Central Asia. We invite you to read about their work. The stories are about Braiding the Sacred throughout the US; Hopi Tutskwa Permaculture Institute and Black Mesa Water Coalition in Arizona; and Agency for Development Initiatives in Kyrgyzstan. While each of us hears stories in different ways, in these stories I hear reverence for the souls who walked and worked the land before our time. I hear respect for the unseen beings who guide us how to live on the land. Through learning about the work and dedication of these food growers, whether planting or harvesting now, we can hear their voices clearly.