In honor of the grand lineage of Seedkeepers who kept our ancestral seeds safe against all odds, we come together to celebrate this season’s harvest.
The diversity of Indigenous agricultural seed and food crops is truly magnificent; the countless colors, textures and flavors of the crops that are Indigenous to the Americas paint a rainbow of nourishing abundance. Purple corn, zebra-striped beans, brilliant rotund squash and endless other native varieties endemic to North America are all reflections of the cultural dimension of biodiversity.
There is not a continent on Earth that is untouched by the beautiful, innovative foods and seeds that have evolved under the relational care of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas.
Indigenous seeds and foods are stories and prayers embodied – gifts from our ancestors to help us nourish ourselves over the seasons, to carry us through any and all hardship that confronts us. Corn, beans, squash, and all other manner of culturally significant seed and food crops are the magnificent result of thousands of years of a co-evolutionary dance between plants and humans here on Turtle Island. These crops are not simply foods that have fed and nourished billions over the centuries, they are a seedsong of our own Indigenous origins, a dynamic reflection of so many unique migrations and cosmo-geneologies.
These indispensable Indigenous food varieties, deeply storied sustenance of our ancestors, are integral in our own cosmologies and creation stories; the seeds themselves whole memory palaces, helping us remember our lineage, the connection we have to our ancestors, the land, layers of culinary and ecological knowledge encoded into every seed and every bite of food they offer to our families.
Every single Indigenous farmer’s field and garden plot is an enclave of diversity that holds story and cosmology, cultural memory, intergenerational resilience, and is the true wealth of any native community. Encoded in these seeds is a record of human and plant relationships that predate the written word. Against all odds, Indigenous peoples have kept their seed bundles alive through countless atrocities. In these times of great transition, we look to our time-honored relationships with the seeds, food, land and our ancestral lifeways to celebrate the resilience that will carry us forward with dignity and good health.
Beginning on November 9th and ending on December 21st, we will be hosting our first annual Virtual Indigenous Agro-Biodiversity Fair to showcase gorgeous harvests of Indigenous Seed varieties! We know that many grew some gorgeous gardens this season, full of harvests of culturally significant seed varieties, and we are inviting our community to share the rainbow of diversity from the abundance of the land, as we share with our wider community the beauty of Indigenous resilience. This is part of a global Indigenous movement to showcase and celebrate our cultural inheritance of beautifully diverse seeds that hold important cultural memory.
How to participate:
- Each week, we will present a new crop category. In response to the week’s category, share pictures and the story of your plants and harvest and tag your posts with the hashtag #NAFSAagfair.
- We invite you to share as much as you wish about your seeds and harvest – How have these seeds traveled through generations before you? How do these plants present themselves and thrive in your bio-region? How are these harvests and foods important to you and your community?
- Anyone can submit as many entries each week as they would like – you can submit pictures of several varieties that you grew if you would like to share. You may also participate in as many of the weeks’ categories as you’d want.
- Throughout the celebration, we will share a collection of each week’s submissions via our Facebook (Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance) and Instagram (@nativefoodalliance) as a beautiful parade of our Indigenous resilience in the form of our exquisite and storied seed varieties.
This is not a competition – our intention is to uplift and hold space for the celebration of the diversity and resilience of Indigenous seeds and crops. In gratitude to those who share their precious harvests and stories with us, we will randomly select one individual each week who will be gifted a seed bundle from our Indigenous Seedkeepers Network. All bundles will be mailed out in early January.
In regions and Indigenous communities throughout the world, seed and agricultural fairs are popular modes of promoting and honoring this diversity that springs from the co-evolutionary relationships between humans and plants. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are missing out on our usual opportunities to share our harvests at local fairs. We acknowledge how these gatherings can be important modes of promoting and honoring this diversity that springs from the co-evolutionary relationships between humans and plants. We are bringing this fair together on a virtual platform to offer hope and inspiration to those who are working towards revitalizing and preserving Indigenous lifeways and foodways. Each week we are inviting Indigenous people from all over the Americas, transcending borders everywhere to join in this online celebration of our resilience by sharing pictures and stories with each of our celebration’s crop categories.
We invite you to share your own rainbow of diversity from the abundance of the land, as we share with our wider community the beauty of Indigenous agricultural resilience.