Seed Sovereignty Forum Caravan: Building Community and Strengthening Networks

Seed Sovereignty Forum Caravan: Building Community and Strengthening Networks

Global Seed Savers embarked on a transformative Seed Sovereignty Forum caravan, traveling to multiple locations to foster community building, participatory governance, and network strengthening. From Cebu City to Bantayan Island, and beyond, each forum brought together diverse groups of farmers, advocates, and local leaders to discuss the vital importance of seed sovereignty. These gatherings not only highlighted the challenges and opportunities within sustainable agriculture, but also underscored the power of collective action in securing food security, preserving cultural identity, and promoting resilient farming systems. The impact of these forums is a testament to the strength of our community and the importance of our shared mission in ensuring seed sovereignty in the Philippines.

Our journey began at Subli Biodiverse Farm in Calaca, Batangas with our partners at Subli Farm. This forum brought together farmers, gardeners, young agriculturalists, and organic farming advocates. The primary objectives were to present GSSP’s new direction and programs and to promote seed sovereignty as a cornerstone of food security. Participants engaged in a lively seed activity, with Hal presenting on “Seed Sovereignty” and Subli Farm sharing their unique insights and experiences. 

One highlight of this day was the exchange of seeds. GSS distributed seeds from Benguet to eager participants interested in planting and saving seeds. This simple act of sharing seeds symbolizes the collective effort to preserve biodiversity and ensure food security. Attendees left with not only seeds but also a renewed sense of community and purpose. The diverse group of participants—farmers, young growers, and organic farming enthusiasts—shared their thoughts, emphasizing the importance of food production for households and seed saving for future crops.

The event underscored a critical message: the fight for seed sovereignty is a response to corporate control over seeds. Sarah Sabado, GSS Operations Manager, highlighted innovative solutions, such as urban seed saving in pots, inspired by practices in Baguio City.

Following the enriching discussions in Calaca, Batangas, our caravan made its way to Silang, Cavite with our partners at Kai Farms. Facilitated by Sarah Sabado, this event aimed to present the new direction of GSS and mobilize support for food security. Participants engaged in meaningful discussions on the importance of seed sovereignty and exchanged valuable insights on sustainable agriculture.

A highlight of the day was another vibrant seed exchange session! Participants shared seeds, fostering a spirit of abundance and community. GSS distributed its seeds, while Kai Farms generously offered both free and for-sale seeds. This exchange not only enriched the seed diversity among participants but also strengthened the bonds within our growing network. The feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive, with words like “inspired,” “soulful,” and “community” capturing the essence of the day. 

Next, we traveled to the covered court of Brgy. Atup-Atup, Bantayan Island, Cebu along with our diverse group of stakeholders, including members of Good Land, the LGU of Atup-Atup Bantayan Island, and the BAFFA-Brgy. Atup-Atup Fishermen and Farmers Associations. 

The forum sparked dynamic conversations, with participants eager to learn more about seed preservation, storage, and the potential of attending Seed School. Manang Elizabeth, GSS Farmer Field Staff, and Ronald from Baguio shared their experiences and seeds, fostering a sense of community and shared purpose. Despite challenges like the reliance on agricultural supply stores for seeds and water supply issues in some farming communities, the enthusiasm for learning and collaboration was inspiring to see. 

The forum underscored the urgent need to transfer seed-saving knowledge from the older generation to the youth. With 90% of seeds grown by rice and corn farmers originating from farmer breeders, it’s clear that seed sovereignty is crucial for sustainable agriculture.

Our final stop was at The Playground CrossRoads, Banilad, Cebu City where we partnered with Communities for Alternative Food Ecosystem Initiative, Cebu Farmers Market, and Cebu Seed Savers. Our focus on promoting seed sovereignty resonated deeply with attendees, emphasizing its crucial role in food security, health, and well-being.

The forum featured powerful insights from local advocates. Sol Torress from the Consumer Group of Cebu Farmers Market highlighted the intrinsic link between seed quality and food quality, stating, “Food sovereignty starts from a seed. Quality of seeds affects the quality of food.” This sentiment was echoed by Camilo Oroc from Cebu Technological University, who expressed gratitude for GSSP’s dedication to preserving native and heirloom seeds. He noted the importance of maintaining these varieties amidst the growing trend of instant, processed food. These perspectives underscored the vital message that seed sovereignty is foundational to sustainable food systems and cultural identity.

Throughout this caravan, the Seed Sovereignty Forums have demonstrated the power of community and the importance of collaborative efforts in promoting sustainable agriculture. Each location brought unique insights and strengthened our network, paving the way for a resilient and food-secure future. 


Growing Seed Sovereignty: Building a Stronger Community in Nueva Vizcaya

Growing Seed Sovereignty: Building a Stronger Community in Nueva Vizcaya

At Global Seed Savers, our commitment to preserving agricultural heritage and promoting food sovereignty took center stage in Nueva Vizcaya. Our recent Community Learning and Awareness on Seed Sovereignty (CLASS) program brought together the Nueva Vizcaya Seed Savers in Christine Village, Solano, for an enriching and empowering experience. Facilitated by Ding Fuellos, this event aimed to orient core group members about our mission, deepen their understanding of seed sovereignty, and secure their commitment to our programs.

During the program, we engaged in insightful discussions with local leaders and community members, addressing their current challenges and brainstorming sustainable solutions. We learned about their dependence on seed companies and pesticides, a significant barrier to achieving seed sovereignty. In response, we emphasized the importance of seed saving and proposed practical steps for integrating organic practices into their farming methods. Our goal is to foster resilience and self-reliance by encouraging these farmers to cultivate a portion of their land organically, thus beginning their journey towards sustainable agriculture.

This initiative is more than just a workshop; it’s a crucial step towards empowering communities to take control of their food systems. By strengthening their understanding of seed sovereignty and providing them with the tools to practice sustainable farming, we are sowing the seeds for a healthier, more resilient future. Your support helps us continue this vital work, ensuring that communities like Nueva Vizcaya can thrive and preserve their agricultural heritage for generations to come. Together, we are building a future where food sovereignty is within everyone’s reach.


Seeding the Future: Ensuring Excellence at Bogo Seed Production Site

Seeding the Future: Ensuring Excellence at Bogo Seed Production Site

At Global Seed Savers, our mission is to preserve agricultural heritage and promote food sovereignty. Recently, we took a significant step towards this goal with our “Seeding the Future” program at the Bogo Seed Production Site in Cebu. Led by the dedicated Sweetie Maurillo, this activity focused on conducting a thorough seed inventory to ensure seed quality, monitor quantities, and optimize resource allocation.

Our objectives were to maintain the viability and germination rates of our seeds, prevent overstocking or shortages, and plan efficient seed production schedules. We also aimed to monitor our equipment inventory to minimize downtime and maximize productivity. Despite the challenges posed by the intense heat and the time-consuming nature of physical verification, our team’s commitment never wavered. Through meticulous tracking, we produced detailed reports identifying surpluses, shortages, and equipment status, allowing us to allocate resources more effectively and plan future production with precision.

This seed inventory is more than just a logistical exercise; it is a crucial part of our mission to safeguard agricultural diversity and empower communities. Accurate inventory management ensures that our seeds are preserved and ready for planting, contributing to resilient food systems. By supporting our efforts, you help us maintain the health and viability of our seed stocks, ensuring a sustainable and food-secure future for all. Together, we are seeding the future, one inventory at a time.


Women Leading the Way: An Alternative Food Ecosystem for Cebu

Women Leading the Way: An Alternative Food Ecosystem for Cebu

In the heart of Lapu-lapu City, a remarkable event unfolded, shining a spotlight on the power of women in transforming our food systems. “Birthing An Alternative Food Ecosystem for Cebu: Women Leading The Way,” organized by Philippine Culinary Masters in collaboration with our valued partner CAFEi, brought together diverse voices to celebrate the essential role of women in food production, nutrition, biodiversity conservation, and community resilience. Led by the passionate Sweetie Maurillo, the forum showcased women’s leadership and advocated for their rights and participation in shaping the future of food and agriculture.

Despite the bustling industrial backdrop of Mactan Island and the challenges posed by the intense El Niño heat, the community’s spirit remained unyielding. Participants braved the scorching temperatures and navigated logistical hurdles to honor the 503rd victory celebration of Lapu-lapu over Ferdinand Magellan. This event was more than a gathering; it was a testament to resilience and unity. With industrial fans, abundant cold water, and sheer determination, the organizers and attendees transformed adversity into a celebration of cultural heritage and shared history.

At Global Seed Savers, we are deeply inspired by events like this that resonate with our mission of preserving agricultural heritage and promoting food sovereignty. This forum not only highlighted the strength and determination of the Cebu community but also emphasized the power of collaboration and collective action. By engaging with and supporting local initiatives, we continue to build strong relationships, demonstrate our commitment to sustainability, and foster community resilience. Together, we are sowing the seeds for a thriving future, ensuring that our rich cultural heritage and agricultural traditions are preserved for generations to come.


CLASS with CROPO and Partners Good Food Community (GFC)

CLASS with CROPO and Partners Good Food Community (GFC)

In the heart of the Kalahi Mountains, the Global Seed Savers (GSS) team, alongside the Good Food Community (GFC), recently embarked on a transformative journey with the Chico River Organic Producers’ Organization (CROPO). The goal was to foster a deep understanding and appreciation for seed sovereignty as a cornerstone of food sovereignty.

During the immersive Community Learning and Awareness on Seed Sovereignty (CLASS) program, CROPO members were not just attendees but active participants in shaping the future of their food systems. Through engaging lectures, they explored topics ranging from the global seed situation to the practicalities of saving seeds within their unique agricultural context.

The impact was profound. As discussions unfolded, participants were challenged to reflect on their own role in seed preservation and food security. Questions like “Why save seeds?” sparked lively debates, while the Open Forum provided a platform for voices often unheard to express their concerns and aspirations. This initiative wasn’t just about learning; it was about a community taking charge of its seed and food sovereign future.