Sierra Seed Cooperative
~ Short Film about the Seed Seva Immersion ~
Our mission at Sierra Seeds Cooperative is to offer a diverse selection of local, organic seeds that thrive in our unique Northern California mountain foothills. Locally adapted seeds are at the foundation of any durable and resilient food system. By sowing our seeds, you are “Seeding the Local Revolution.”
Each year, we offer our Seed Seva Immersion and full season internship as a prayer for what we hope to see for the future of our food. By empowering community members to reawaken seed stewardship back into their lives, we are seeding hope for more sustainable and beautiful agro-ecological foodways. A part of our vision is to see the Restory-ing of grace and beauty in our daily life and ways of growing food, so that sustainable and organic agriculture can evolve again to be magnificently beautiful and offer us true sacred nourishment. We can nourish farmers and Seed Keepers so that they can continue to nourish beauty and our deep ancestral connections to food and tradition. For then food and seeds can truly be our medicine. We dream of a time when the farmers and Seed Keepers of the world will truly be valued in the highest order in our communities as the keepers of life.
By bridging both practical hands-on skills with indigenous knowledge and reverence, we are cultivating a way of seed stewardship that is based upon service to life and seeds. Finding ourselves again by rekindling a relationship with our food that is mutually beneficial, and truly honors the seeds for all that they continue to share with us. Writing ourselves back into the story of the sacred dance between humans and plants that is dynamic, evolutionary and resilient.
Seeds are sacred. By saving these seeds, we re-engage with a powerful lineage of Seed Keepers. I honor this responsibility from the center of my heart, and hope to share with you the deep, heart-opening aspects of these Seed Keeper traditions. Using an indigenous ecology of education via story, handiwork, and connection to place, we re-kindle our connection to our these ancient traditions.
In all their shapes, sizes, colors, the seeds have granted us sustenance, flavors, art, craft and most importantly story and song. The life giving mystery in a handful of seeds has inspired the many stories and songs that create the sacred dance between people and plants. These seeds share insight on the alchemy of transformation of sunlight to food, one kernel into many. In the Seed Seva programs, we are humble disciples of these teachings of the seeds. We look to create gardens and methods of seed stewardship and plant breeding that strengthen the inherent life force within plants, and ensure that the seeds that we carry on to our next generations are selected for low input, whole organic systems.
In this time, it is a joy to be a part of the great re-awakening; seeing these ancient stories and connections within us come alive again. Our ancestors, who have faithfully passed us this incredible gift of life, are re-birthed through our connections to these seeds; these are their songs, their stories. It has only been a few short generations that we have seen these connections slip away; in the big wheel of time, only a few fleeting moments where we saw ourselves become distracted from the great mysteries by some of the false promises of technology and convenience.
These seeds are the diverse expression of life itself, ever hopeful, renewing, and sustaining. I invite you to walk this path with me, to find those tiny little sparks inside your heart that yearn to be re-kindled. These seeds, these tiny capsules of life and witnesses to the past, they speak to me in my dreams. The message that is sent to me again and again is simple, yet deeply nourishing; Take care of the seeds, and they will take care of you.
Feeling the sweet honeycomb inside my heart, dripping with gratitude for the seeds of hope that have been planted these last few months during our last Seed Seva Immersion. In 8 full educational days over 4 months, students will have reawakened a deep and potent relationship to the seeds, our precious collective inheritance. Becoming seeds themselves, they will carry the responsibility of seed stewardship into their lives in diverse and creative ways. Ultimately it is such a gift to walk this path with my students, and have the honor to share stories, seeds, and witness again and again the transformative and healing nature of working with seeds and our beautiful Mother Earth . The ancestors truly are rejoicing to see a new circle of humans caring deeply for our seed relations to nourish those children beyond a time of our own. The Seed Satyagraha is alive, thriving and growing.
Here is a beautiful picture of this vision from my mentor Martin Prechtel:
“Real farming, for us all, as it is for indigenous agriculturalists worldwide, is a priesthood of seeds and food whose men and women dress beautifully and meaningfully, where every article of clothing is a handmade message to the Holy in which they walk, go to work; they are highly educated in culture, music, in all the procedures of the Agreement and with the emotions of the earth; they are courteous, dignified, capable, permanently ornate with song and the deliciousness of language; in how they move, and not heavy trudging ogreish or armored but subtle in the way they go about every facet of their food: the planting, the preparation of fields, the shapes of terraces and fields, the tools, the carrying bags, the way they dance the food home, the design of the granaries and kitchens, the shape of the pots, the way they are stirred, the way things are ground, and on what they are ground, for their food to them is nothing less than the face of the Holy in the Seeds. These farmer’s voices are heavier and more worthy than gold; their tools, though practical and strong, are more beautifully adorned than carved jade, and the Holy in Nature forgives these kinds of humans when their voices sing to their hearts in the wild. For farmers must deeply and intelligently make music, dress beautifully while they farm, for that’s how we were made, that’s how we used to be. Let’s find ourselves again. For beautiful farming is something utterly doable.”