Global Seed Savers and BASS Strengthen the Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture

Global Seed Savers and BASS Strengthen the Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture

In a world grappling with climate change, biodiversity loss, and food security concerns, the preservation and exchange of traditional seeds have become increasingly crucial. Recognizing the significance of this mission, the GSS recently held a follow-up meeting with our partner organization, the Benguet Association of Seed Savers (BASS). 

The meeting was a comprehensive endeavor, encompassing the review of BASS’s constitution and by-laws, the election of new officers, the creation of a new strategic plan, and the examination of financial reports. The gathering aimed to reinforce the foundation for sustainable agriculture and advance the joint pursuit of seed conservation.

Help us applaud BASS’ new elected Officers:

President – Annette Sinakay; Vice President – Letty Bisco; Secretary – Agnes Philip; Assistant Secretary – Leona Otas; Treasurer – Agnes Philip; Assistant Treasurer –  Prescila Santiago; Auditor – Jun Bayawa; Assistant Auditor – Conception Sotero; Public Relations Officer – Elizabeth Martin

This follow-up meeting between GSS and BASS marks a significant milestone in our collaborative journey toward preserving traditional seeds and promoting sustainable agriculture. By reviewing BASS’s constitution and by-laws, electing new officers, creating a new strategic plan, and examining financial reports, both organizations have laid a robust foundation for their future endeavors.

With a shared vision, strengthened governance, and a commitment to sustainable practices, Global Seed Savers and BASS are well-positioned to make a profound impact on the conservation of traditional seeds, biodiversity, and the livelihoods of farming communities in the Benguet region and beyond!

Reigniting Partnership: Global Seed Savers and LGU of Bogo Philippines

Reigniting Partnership: Global Seed Savers and LGU of Bogo Philippines

Our GSS team recently celebrated a significant milestone in partnership development and participatory local seed governance. In a momentous event, we reignited our collaboration with the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Bogo, Philippines. This renewed partnership marks a crucial step forward in empowering local communities and safeguarding agricultural biodiversity. 

The LGU of Bogo, located in the northern part of Cebu, Philippines, has long recognized the significance of preserving traditional seeds and supporting sustainable agriculture. In the past, we had collaborated with the LGU to establish community seed banks and promote seed-saving practices. 

October 2020 we had our first call and introduction at the Mayors office and the MAO of Bogo through our partner farmers and Cebu Seed Savers, Mr. & Mrs. Bastonero. This initial conversation focused on food and seed security for Bogo, Philippines. To achieve food and seed security, Mayor Carlo Martinez and Ms. Alicia Lepiten (head of the MAO) first planned for the installation of a Seed Bank/Library. Soon after the planning session, they allocated a room in the City Hall to function as the Seed Bank/Library!

Since then, many visits and follow ups were held with Ms. Alicia and we tackled questions like how we can reconnect, re-engage, and cultivate our relationships. Most importantly, what are the strategies for the establishment of the new Seed Library as we strive towards food and seed sovereignty. 

During this meeting, Ms. Alicia gladly informed us that the Seed Bank/Library is making progress! The Seed Cabinet construction is complete and will be placed temporarily at the MAO office. We also planned for a future technical training for the members of Organic Farmers Federation of Bogo which mean this was an official launch of the Seed Library for Bogo with Mayor Martinez!

Ms. Alicia and Mr. & Mrs. Bastonero expressed their enthusiasm and dedication to working hand in hand to revitalize local seed systems and preserve traditional knowledge. This can be accomplished by participatory local seed governance. 

Participatory local seed governance lies at the core of sustainable agriculture. It involves engaging local farmers, indigenous communities, and stakeholders in decision-making processes regarding seed conservation, cultivation, and distribution. By involving the community in seed-related activities, entities like the LGU of Bogo recognize the importance of preserving local knowledge, promoting biodiversity, and ensuring food security for future generations.

Through participatory local seed governance, farmers are empowered to become custodians of their seed heritage. They are encouraged to save, share, and exchange seeds, fostering resilience in the face of environmental challenges and commercial pressures. Moreover, this approach promotes the conservation of traditional crop varieties, which often possess unique traits adapted to local conditions. Through this collaboration, we aim to preserve seed diversity, empower farmers, and ensure food security. 

We celebrate this recent meeting because it served as a catalyst for reigniting our valuable partnership between us and the LGU of Bogo Philippines – highlighting the importance of participatory local seed governance and partnership building. This meeting was a testament to the shared commitment towards agricultural sustainability and community empowerment. As we seed onward, let us celebrate this renewed partnership and embrace the collective responsibility of safeguarding our agricultural heritage for generations to come!

GSS Team Tours CONFFFED’s Seed Library at Pestales Farm and Strengthens Community Bond!

GSS Team Tours CONFFFED’s Seed Library at Pestales Farm and Strengthens Community Bond!

Our partners at Community of Organic Natural Farmers and Fishermen Federation (CONFFFED) invited the GSSP team (Hal, Efren, Harry, and Sarah) and Edgar “Gagix” Cascabel (Community Organizer of Cebu Province) to participate in their monthly impact meeting! 

As part of the meeting, GSS had the opportunity to explore CONFFFED’s latest venture: a state-of-the-art Seed Library. This meeting brought together 10 members of CONFFFED which consisted of members from the Community of Organic Natural Farmers and Fishermen Federation and other various farm association leaders and members. Of these members were our very own partner farmers from Cebu Seed Savers!  

During this meeting, the GSSP team had the pleasure of introducing themselves to members of CONFFFED!  It was the first time that our Marketing and Communications Manager Sarah and our Program Manager Efren met our partners in person! Along with this milestone introduction, the members of CONFFFED also had the opportunity to meet our new Philippines Executive Director Hal Atienza.

The invitation extended to GSS to join CONFFFED’s monthly meeting underscores the growing recognition of our valuable contributions to the global seed-saving community. CONFFFED’s commitment to promoting environmental development and sustainable farming aligns harmoniously with GSS’s mission of conserving traditional seeds and supporting local farmers. By fostering collaboration among organizations with shared goals, this meeting not only created a platform for the exchange of knowledge and ideas but also strengthened the collective effort to address pressing challenges in the agricultural sector.

A few pivotal conversations held during this meeting included Seed Library planning, announcing the upcoming Action Planning session for Cebu Seed Savers, and reviewing what Seed Sovereignty means to GSS and our partners. 

Hal Atienza applied his expertise and gave a high-level overview of GSSP’s redefined core definition of Seed Sovereignty and its crucial elements. This highlighted the importance of exploring a seed repository for CONFFFED, and would enable CONFFFED members to support the initiative and work towards Seed Sovereignty. 

Our Program Manager Efren shared his wisdom and insight from the farm visit and consultation conducted by farmer Jon which will be applied for the IDOFS Project with the Cebu Seed Savers (CSS) happening later. Efren provided valuable insights and inspiration for GSS’s ongoing efforts to enhance its own seed-saving initiatives.

During this meeting, the GSSP Team also visited CONFFFED’s Seed Library that we collaborated on! This Seed Library is the outcome of our community led initiative and was the next step from our event where we had the signing of Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). This cutting-edge seed library represents a significant step forward in seed conservation and access!

CONFFFFED members are thrilled and are looking forward to the future of the installed Seed Library. They are also eager to learn how they can contribute to the Seed Library’s impact for a more seed sovereign and healthy family and communities future! 

With continued collaboration and the nurturing of such relationships, we can make meaningful strides in preserving traditional seeds, fostering biodiversity, and ensuring food security for generations to come.

Empowering Farmers: A Productive Action Planning Session by Global Seed Savers!

Empowering Farmers: A Productive Action Planning Session by Global Seed Savers!

In collaboration with Cebu Seed Savers, the GSSP Team recently organized an action planning session in Cebu City. This event brought together twenty-one dedicated farmers who are passionate about seed conservation and sustainable agriculture. The highlight of the gathering was the collective agreement among the Cebu Seed Savers to establish a governance structure, defining the roles, responsibilities, and expectations of the officers. This participatory discussion on seed tasking and production showcased the commitment of these farmers towards preserving seed diversity and empowering their community.

The action planning session took place at AA BBQ Ramos Ranudo St., Cebu City which provided a conducive environment for collaboration and meaningful discussions. The venue buzzed with anticipation as the Cebu Seed Savers, guided by the GSSP Team, came together to strategize and shape the future of their seed-saving initiatives.

Through thoughtful discussions and shared insights, the farmers collectively defined the roles of key positions such as the president, vice president, treasurer, secretary, and other necessary roles. This governance structure aims to provide clarity, accountability, and smooth coordination within the Cebu Seed Savers, ensuring the continuity and growth of their seed-saving efforts.

Join us in congratulating the newly elected officials for Cebu Seed Savers! 

President : Reinario Cabico

Vice President: Melodina Esconde

Secretary: Judina Oberres

Treasurer: Alejandro Camilo Sr.

Auditor: Praxedes  Embalzado

PRO/ Information Officer

1.South Cebu – Adelwisa Pacana

2.North Cebu- Rosaflor Estenzo

Another crucial aspect of the action planning session was the participatory discussion on seed tasking and production. The farmers shared their experiences, challenges, and successes in seed-saving practices. We identified the need for a Monitoring and Evaluation Session, CSS identified seeds that they are able to grow and harvest, and broke down our strategies for the next stages of establishing a new Seed Library. By fostering an open dialogue, the participants were able to exchange valuable knowledge, techniques, and best practices.

During this discussion, the farmers collectively explored strategies to enhance seed production, improve seed quality, and expand their seed-saving network. The GSSP team facilitated the brainstorming session, offering guidance and technical expertise where needed. The active engagement and collaboration of the farmers ensured that their voices were heard, and their contributions were incorporated into the action plan.

By providing a platform for collective decision-making, knowledge sharing, and skill-building, this event not only strengthens the Cebu Seed Savers but also encourages a sense of ownership and empowerment among the participants.

Moving forward, the established governance structure will serve as a roadmap for effective leadership and organizational growth. The farmers, armed with newfound clarity and purpose, will continue their vital work in preserving seed diversity, contributing to food security, and promoting sustainable agriculture in the region.

With empowered farmers at the control, the Cebu Seed Savers are poised to make a significant impact on their local community and beyond, inspiring others to join the journey of seed conservation and sustainable agriculture.

See more photos taken during this community action planning session!

Mapping the Way Forward: Global Seed Savers’ Strategic Planning in Action

Mapping the Way Forward: Global Seed Savers’ Strategic Planning in Action

Our Global Seed Savers Philippines team recently held an inspiring strategic planning retreat facilitated by our new Philippines Executive Director Hal Atienza! The retreat was an opportunity for our team to chart a path forward and shape our strategic roadmap for the years ahead. The purpose of the activity was to review the strategic direction of GSSP and come up with the 5-year strategic plan using the logical framework.

One of the key outcomes of the retreat was the development of a visionary roadmap for Global Seed Savers. Guided by a commitment to seed sovereignty, biodiversity conservation, and sustainable agriculture, the GSSP Team collectively crafted a comprehensive vision for the future. They identified key priorities, such as expanding access to locally adapted seed varieties, strengthening community engagement and empowerment, and forging strategic partnerships to amplify their impact. 

The team also tackled questions like: 

1) Where are we now?

2) Where do we want to be? 

3) How will we get there?

4) How do we know we made it?


It is important to determine how effective our strategies are in relation to our goals. Then the team was able to assess our effectiveness and efficiency in terms of our governance and management processes. Only then can we determine our impacts by looking at our relevance and sustainability. 

Aspirations become more realistic if we are able to define a clearer strategic direction. Meaning, our yardstick of performance management stays in place.

Because of the 4-day strategic planning, the GSSP Team was able to: 

1) Define a clearer vision-mission statement 

2) Develop our goals with corresponding strategies 

3) Formulate our Slogan (GSS mantra), “Save seeds. Grow food. Protect heritage.”


The retreat also provided a valuable platform to identify and address challenges faced by Global Seed Savers and the broader seed-saving community.

 The team engaged in focused discussions to explore solutions for preserving traditional knowledge, mitigating the threats posed by climate change and industrial agriculture, and overcoming barriers to seed conservation and sharing. By collectively addressing these challenges, Global Seed Savers aims to foster resilience, adaptability, and sustainability in our global food systems.

The strategic planning retreat was not simply an intellectual exercise, but a call to action. This strategic planning retreat served as a powerful catalyst for change, harnessing the collective wisdom and passion of seed savers worldwide. Through collaboration, innovation, and a shared commitment to sustainability, Global Seed Savers is sowing the seeds of a resilient and prosperous future for our planet and its inhabitants.