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.

 

Planting Seeds of Knowledge!

Planting Seeds of Knowledge!

We’re thrilled to share an exciting update from Global Seed Savers, where we’ve been busy planting the seeds of knowledge through our recent programs. In collaboration with the Partnership for Indigenous Knowledge Philippines (PIKP), we hosted a dynamic two-day workshop on our Community Learning and Awareness on Seed Sovereignty (CLASS) alongside Seed School 1 – Basic Seed Saving Course.

Led by the passionate facilitators Sarah Sabado, Elizabeth Martin, and Ding Fuellos, this two-day training was more than just a workshop; it was a transformative experience! Participants dived into the heart of seed sovereignty, learning not just how to save seeds but why it’s crucial. We explored the beauty of naming and describing seeds within cultural and linguistic contexts, highlighting the importance of these practices in preserving our agricultural heritage.

Our partnership with PIKP has been instrumental in amplifying our impact. Together, we’ve created a nurturing environment where participants can connect with their Indigenous knowledge and local realities, inspiring them to become advocates for sustainable food systems. Our curriculum, divided into three engaging modules, has sparked a newfound passion for seed saving among participants.

 

In Module 1: Participants gain insights into the local seed situation, seed security, and Indigenous food systems, fostering a connection with their cultural heritage and community practices. 

 

 

 

 

In Module 2: Why Save Seeds?, the focus shifts towards understanding the intrinsic value of seed saving in enhancing crop diversity and ensuring food security. 

Module 3: Seed Science equipped participants with practical knowledge and skills essential for effective seed collection, preservation, and sharing, inspiring them to become stewards of agricultural resilience and biodiversity conservation.

 

From understanding the local seed situation to the science behind seed saving, we’ve supported our community with the tools and knowledge needed to cultivate resilience and promote biodiversity.

Through these initiatives, we aim to not only disseminate knowledge but also inspire action and foster a community of seed savers dedicated to preserving agricultural heritage and ensuring a sustainable future!

Cultivating Impact through Inventory Innovation!

Cultivating Impact through Inventory Innovation!

Global Seed Savers recently embarked on a series of seed inventory initiatives to conduct inventories in Cebu City, Catmon, Aloguinsan, and Babag. Led by Sweetie Maurillo, these efforts are vital in ensuring the availability and effective management of seeds for agricultural purposes among all partner farmers. The inventories serve as benchmarks and facilitate seamless access and optimal utilization of seeds.

 

Through these initiatives, valuable lessons have been learned about the importance of conducting seed trials and germinating seed stocks to rejuvenate and replenish the inventory, maintaining high-quality seeds in our library. Seeds are not mere items for display or collection; their primary purpose lies in their ability to germinate, grow, and ultimately produce plants. By prioritizing their utility and ensuring they are actively used for cultivation rather than just stored, we maximize their value and potential impact.

 

 

Local policy support is crucial for promoting the conservation of heritage crops, while community engagement fosters collaboration among farmers, policymakers, and stakeholders. Access to resources, such as quality seeds and agricultural inputs, is essential for cultivating heritage crops.

 

Seed inventory helps in resource planning for future planting seasons by ensuring the availability of a sufficient quantity and variety of seeds, thus promoting crop diversity and resilience. It also helps mitigate risks associated with crop failures, pests, diseases, and unforeseen events, ensuring continuity in agricultural production.

 

 

Education, capacity building, and support of farmers in seed production are key aspects to reduce reliance on external seed sources and promote self-sufficiency. Lobbying for government support and funding toward seed-saving initiatives and conservation programs is also essential for long-term sustainability.

We are looking forward to continuing to add to our seed inventory and support our local seed libraries with needed seeds!

Exploring Growth Through Farm Visits!

Exploring Growth Through Farm Visits!

Our recent visit to Anita’s farm (BASS President) in Daclan, accompanied by Sarah and Manag Elizabeth, was an impactful on-site engagement.

During our time at Anita’s farm, she generously offered her farm as a potential seed production site for GSS. Her eagerness to facilitate GSS’ seed production and interest in joining GSS’ seed production team reflects the transformative impact these farm visits foster. Farm visits not only build partnerships but also serve as a catalyst for community-led initiatives. 

Our other recent farm visits to Manang Nora’s Farm in Tili, Shilan; Pastor Jun’s Farm in Ambassador, Tublay; Manong Roger’s Farm in Tudayana, Tublay; and Philip Boaz’s Farm in Talingsuroy, La Trinidad highlights inspiring narratives of community dedication and resilience.  

 

Manang Nora, a new BASS member and practicing organic farmer, showcased her commitment to organic farming by establishing an improvised seed library. Despite the challenging terrain at Pastor Jun’s farm, his dedication was evident. Manong Roger, new BASS member, substantial seed production area and newly initiated seed library reflected a flourishing commitment to seed-saving practices. Philip Boaz family farm focused on select vegetable crops and citrus fruits diverged from seed library practices.

 

 

Lastly, our team had an inspiring visit to Carole Domiclong’s seed library in Baguio City. Stepping into Manang Carole’s residence revealed not just a home but a vibrant hub of sustainable practices. Her 30-square meter organic backyard garden doubling as a seed production area exuded dedication and passion for preserving seeds. The sight of her extensive organic seed library, adorned with an impressive collection of regular and heirloom seeds, was a testament to her commitment to seed-saving practices. 

Manang Carole’s interest in joining GSSP resonated with our vision, prompting an exciting agreement: a forum slated for March in Baguio, inviting all Baguio-based seed savers. This forum will serve as the launchpad for organizing the Summer Capital Seed Savers, fostering a community-driven movement towards sustainable agriculture and seed sovereignty.

 

Visiting our partner farmers’ farms and seed libraries cultivates thriving relationships and partnerships which fosters a resilient community dedicated to sustainable agriculture. 

Celebrating Culture and Seeds: Highlights from the Bukidnon Seed Steward Exchange

Celebrating Culture and Seeds: Highlights from the Bukidnon Seed Steward Exchange

The recent Bukidnon Seed Steward Exchange, conducted in collaboration with our valued partner, the Salumayag Youth Collective for Foresters, was a captivating journey into the heart of Sto. Domingo, Malaybala, Bukidnon. This event was driven by several key objectives, primarily focused on sharing Indigenous seed-saving practices from our partners at Benguet Association of Seed Savers (BASS), facilitating discussions on basic seed-saving, collection, and seed library management, and formulating an action plan for GSSP and Salumayag’s collaboration in advocating for seed sovereignty.

Upon arrival at Salumayag late in the afternoon, the exchange began with an engaging forest walk alongside the knowledgeable foresters. This walk served as a platform for the exchange of knowledge, where insights were shared about common species found in Benguet and Bukidnon, as well as their benefits and uses.

In the afternoon, Manong Macario led a session on Benguet Seed Saving Practices, delving into the indigenous ways and processes of seed saving, which the BASS and the broader community practice. This enlightening session also revealed the spiritual significance of seed saving in their culture, along with traditions like the Dalawe song, sung during harvest seasons.

Participants also learned about the importance of specific tools, such as the Sou-an fireplace for seed storage, Tubong bamboo containers with pine wood covers to prevent pests, and the Wakness prayer for cleansing and protection. Another notable aspect was the Agamang, similar to the Lalapung, where seeds are stored.

Harry further enriched the experience with a short sharing on the fundamentals of seed saving, covering topics like seed biology, types of seeds, harvesting, and storage!

The significance of this activity for GSS became evident through the cultural appreciation and affirmation received from external voices. This encouraged and validated the Salumayag Foresters in their collective effort to steward their heritage, including culture, seeds, food, and history. The bottom-up approach with Indigenous and tribal communities was noted as vital for understanding and integrating their knowledge and practices. Additionally, the exchange allowed various tribal and Indigenous communities to learn from each other, fostering knowledge exchange and community strengthening.

The forest was emphasized as a crucial resource for these communities, providing food, medicine, and livelihood. It was heartening to witness their transformative journey and advocacy work. Various aspects, such as the healing properties of Muglingi rice and the unique naming of crop varieties based on elders’ wisdom, added depth to the exchange. Moreover, participants learned about the sub-tribes within the Manobo tribe, a tribe we work closely with.

For those interested in learning more about the activities, seed varieties, and projects of the Salumayag Youth Collective for Foresters, you can visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/salumayagyouth , or their website: https://salumayagyouth.com/bukidnon-seed-stewards-project/ .

 

This exchange was a testament to the power of preserving traditions and seeds, and the importance of cross-cultural learning and collaboration in our collective mission!

 

 

 

Blossoming Opportunities: Exploring Seed Production Potential at Oikos Orchard and Farm

Blossoming Opportunities: Exploring Seed Production Potential at Oikos Orchard and Farm

The recent farm visit to Oikos Orchard and Farm was an enriching experience, with several key partners involved in the endeavor, including Mr. Bernard Restificar, the farm owner, Aurora Perez, and Sweetie Maurillo from Slow Food Sugbo, and Harry Paulino from Global Seed Savers (GSS). The visit had several noteworthy outputs that shed light on the farm’s potential for seed production and collaboration with GSS.

The visit commenced with an orientation by Mr. Restificar, who introduced the group to the 3.5-hectare farm, unveiling the actual farm plan and design. A comprehensive farm tour followed, allowing GSS members to explore the farm’s facilities and amenities, the impressive Miyawaki forest farm, 1,700 native tree seedlings, food forest, vegetable farm, and an animal farm. It was an eye-opening experience that showcased the farm’s commitment to sustainable and organic agriculture.

A delicious and hearty lunch prepared by the owner himself provided an opportunity for the group to connect over a shared love for agriculture. Afterward, the team ventured around the farm to assess the proposed seed production site. The site, spanning 1,000 to 1,500 square meters within Oikos Farm, came with the essential infrastructure of water pump connections and electrical supply. The farm even boasted advanced technology like Starlink satellite internet and reliable 4G and 5G data connectivity despite its 300-meter elevation and 15-kilometer distance from the main national road.

What made this visit particularly exciting was the farm’s transition from conventional to organic farming, with 20% of the farm already engaged in organic growing. Mr. Restificar highlighted that this shift was essential to sustain the livelihood of 13 farm staff, including a licensed agriculturist. The farm also takes pride in nurturing 1,700 native tree seedlings, showcasing more than a hundred varieties, and is on its way to becoming an accredited extension learning site of the Agricultural Training Institute.

Oikos Farm’s readiness to accommodate GSS for seed production training and related activities signifies a strong foundation for collaboration. Mr. Restificar’s role as the Board Chairperson of Cebu Farmers Market further strengthens the potential partnership. Establishing a seed production site in this picturesque location not only benefits both GSS and Oikos but also adds to Oikos’ appeal as an agri-tourism destination. It creates a symbiotic relationship that contributes to Oikos’ organic growing agenda and supplies native tree seeds for an integrated and regenerative agroecology farm. This venture can significantly advance the production of open-pollinated varieties (OPV), heirloom seeds, native tree seeds, and ornamental/flowering seeds. The proposed site’s panoramic view of Cebu South and Bohol Island and convenient road access further add to its allure.

For GSS to establish seed production in the allocated space, negotiations and formal contracts will be essential, ensuring a long-term commitment ranging from 10 to 25 years. The owner’s generous offer of free space use must be clarified to secure the partnership’s longevity. Additionally, considering the seed production as part of Oikos’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) may help in reducing tax dues, further enhancing the collaboration’s viability. The possibility of mobilizing Oikos’ farm staff to sustain the seed production is a practical step towards a successful and productive partnership.