Community-Partnered Seed Keeper Education
Partnering with Indigenous communities and initiatives to create learning opportunities for Indigenous people to learn and reclaim cultural seed keeper teachings and skills.
The passing-down of Indigenous seed keeping practices and teachings across generations has been impacted by historical and ongoing colonization. Ancestrally-informed seed keeping education has been the strongest request we've heard from communities since Sovereign Seeds was first founded. We are responding to these requests through our Community-Partnered Seed Keeper Education program to help cultivate more culturally-guided seed keepers and seed leaders in our communities. We partner with Indigenous communities and initiatives to develop and deliver tailored and culturally-rooted seed keeper training and learning opportunities. Topics covered can span all aspects of seed keeping through a four-season seed keeping cycle, as well as other add-on facilitated sessions on topics such as creating a community seed vision, developing a community seed initiative, and scaling up existing seed initiatives. Extended format trainings can include a facilitated group session on planning next-steps for group learning or collective action. Education can take a number of formats: webinars, in-person or virtual one-time workshops, comprehensive online courses, in-person training programs, and others.
We take a collaborative approach in our Community-Partnered Seed Keeper Education program and work to support community partners to define their education experience. Education design and instruction is customized to partners' learning interests, experience levels, format preferences, protocols and ethics, and goals. We tailor our existing curriculum to partners' contexts. Education design includes conversations on community data and consent to ensure that partners decide how information and knowledge specific to their community, and/or initiative is shared within and beyond the learning experience with respect for boundaries. When it is of interest to the partnered community/initiative, we integrate facilitated story-sharing, arts-based practices, guided group visioning, and seed exchanges into the learning experience. Where possible and relevant, we work with partner-identified liaison(s) from within the partner community/initiative to assist with coordinating the process in a community-guided way and in a way that resources Indigenous services, spaces, and skills from within the community or region. Our program is by-and-for Indigenous people, and we ground our relationships with partners in principles of consent, reciprocity, anti-oppression, and Indigenous ways of knowing and being. This includes balancing respect for communities' own protocols and meeting community members where they are at while also striving to create spaces of 2SLGBTQIAP+ affirmation, anti-ableism, anti-ageism, anti-sizeism/fatphobia, anti-racism, body sovereignty, and destigmatization.
Education partnerships begin with an intake meeting(s) together to share more details about our seed keeper education offerings and to better understand the community's/initiative's interests, needs, goals, and visions for their learning experience. We assess this intake information and work to match it with our capacity to propose a timeline and draft an education format and content delivery plan. We collaborate with the partnered community/initiative to revise this plan together until it reflects the community's/initiative's vision. In the case of extended education formats, we initiate check-in conversations with partners throughout to receive feedback and provide opportunities for adjustments. Following education delivery, we engage in a closing conversation together to share final reflections on our experience with one another in a good way.
Offerings from through our Community-Partnered Seed Education program are available to any Indigenous community or Indigenous-led initiative in all rural and urban and on- and off-reserve contexts across the country. Due to our mission and funding partnerships, and with respect for existing peer organizations already doing this work south of the colonial border, Indigenous education partners located within so-called Canada are our first priority at this time. We recognize that the colonial Canada-US border crosses many communities/nations and we partner with communities and groups facing these realities. We do not deliver seed keeper training to non-Indigenous audiences. Please do not complete our education request form if you are not seeking education partnership with/on behalf of an Indigenous community or Indigenous-led initiative. We strive to deliver education experiences that are at no-cost to partners. Communities or initiatives with their own resources to dedicate to the partnership can choose add to aspects of the education program's baseline offerings if they wish. While all of our baseline education offerings are no-cost, our timeline and ability to partner at a given time is determined by our funding.
It is important to us to work with intention and care, with a focus on creating healthy and nourishing partnership relationships, rather than delivering a careless experience. For this reason, we do not rush education partnership requests and do not typically deliver education events on very short-notice. If you are interested in bringing seed keeper training to your community or initiative, we encourage you to reach out early through the inquiry form and with plans for a flexible timeline. We currently have a waitlist of community education partnership requests, and we are prioritizing these communities/initiatives first. There are a number of factors (cancellations, rescheduling, and timing of other partnership events nearby) that could influence our availability to partner sooner. We recommend not waiting until our waitlist is completed before submitting the inquiry form. We would love to hear from you!