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.


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.


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: , or their website: .


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!




GSSP and Cebu Seed Savers Renew Commitment to Expand Organic Seed Production in Cebu Province

GSSP and Cebu Seed Savers Renew Commitment to Expand Organic Seed Production in Cebu Province

 In January 2023, Global Seed Savers Philippines (GSSP, as represented by Harry Paulino, our Cebu Seed Production Coordinator) and our Cebu partner farmers gathered together to discuss the vital role of organic seed production within our communities. Farmers from all around Cebu Island came to this gathering. We had participant farmers from Argao, Sibonga, Car-Car, San Fernando, Naga, Aloguinsan, Catmon, San Remegio, Bogo, and Metro Cebu.

Of the many crucial discussions we had, the most important were that of farmers expressing their deep understanding of their essential roles in food sovereignty and reaffirming their commitment to this work through seed saving.

Meet the old and new faces of Cebu Seed Savers!

During this event, twenty-eight farmers signed the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with GSSP and agreed to dedicate a portion of their lot (with a minimum of 20 sqm) specifically for seed production.

This MOA will ensure that our partner farmers will have sufficient sources of organically produced seeds that are locally adapted for their farm and communities. It will also support Global Seed Savers’ Community Seed Libraries which will enable other farmers in the region to have access to these high-quality, organic, open-pollinated seeds. 

We are so grateful for our partner NGO, Communities for Alternative Food Ecosystems Initiatives (CAFEi) for joining us at this event as witnesses to this milestone for our Cebu Program. It is a first towards Food and Seed Sovereignty, and will surely be a catalyst for more collaboration between GSSP and other farming communities in Cebu Province. 

This gathering has enabled us to appreciate how far our programs on Food and Seed Sovereignty has come. It has also allowed us to revisit the reason for our work, as well as a re-appreciation of the integral role that farmers play in these goals! Our farmer partners are the backbone of our communities – they are the stewards of our lands and seeds!