What is Seed Saving and Why is it Important?

Through discussion students learn about how seed saving, as a form of Indigenous resurgence, helps local community members both foster food sovereignty and adapt to climate change.

Program Details

Stay Up To Date!

What is Seed Saving and Why is it Important?

Materials:

• Introducing Corn.pdf • Lesson focused on the Haudenosaunee grinding stone from the Tools Bundle • Video depicting Haudenosaunee Elder Jan Longboat discuss the importance of revitalizing traditional Haudenosaunee food making practices • What is Seed Saving and Why is it Important.pdf • Access to website: Kenhteke Seed Sanctuary and Learning Centre- Tyendinaga • Kenhté:ke Seed Sanctuary.pdf • Interview with Terrylynn Brant that discusses of the work of Mohawk seed savers at 6 Nations
  • In the same way that Manoomin is central to the lifeways and land-based practices of the Anishinaabe corn (or ó:nenhste in Kanyenké:ha) is centrally important to the Haudenosaunee. 
  • Teacher introduces the local Indigenous relationship to corn using the handout Introducing Corn.pdf.   
  • As an extension students can watch the following video depicting Haudenosaunee Elder, Jan Longboat, discuss the importance of revitalizing traditional Haudenosaunee food making practices:https://rb.gy/i3kjc
  • Following the video, teacher leads a discussion with class regarding why it is important for Indigenous communities to reengage in traditional food growing and preparation practices.

Seed Saving:

  • Teacher begins by asking students: How did the seeds in your garden get there? Where did they come from and how did they make their way to our garden? 
  • Teacher reviews with students the different ways that seeds travel (ie: they float in the wind; float in water; animals or people transport them; animals eat them and then they are in their droppings; some plants explode and send seeds into the air; heavy seeds fall to the ground).
  • Another way that seeds end up in our garden is through human seed saving. Humans have been saving seeds for hundreds of years. Seed saving gives us plants for next year and helps us keep our local plants growing. 
  • Teacher asks students: 
    • What is seed saving?
    • With the proliferation of large agribusiness focused on growing crops, why would people bother engaging in seed saving? 
    • Why is seed saving important to Indigenous communities? What is seed sovereignty? 
    • Why is seed sovereignty important in the face of climate change?
  • Students read and discuss What is Seed Saving and Why is it Important.pdf. which answers the questions above. 
  • Students learn about seed saving that is occurring locally by reading the article in Kenhté:ke Seed Sanctuary.pdf.
  • To solidify their learning students can check out the Kenhté:ke Seed Sanctuary and Learning Centre in Tyendinaga website: https://rb.gy/qqcbq
  • Students can also listen to the following interview with Terrylynn Brant that discusses of the work of Mohawk seed savers at 6 Nations: https://rb.gy/pibiy
  • Teacher has students answer the following questions based on the resources they have reviewed:
  • Why do Indigenous peoples locally engage in seed saving?
  • How can seed saving connect people to the land?
  • How can seed saving help to mitigate some of the negative impacts caused by climate change?
  • How does the practice of seed saving mirror the Indigenous belief that humans are a part of and not separate from nature and therefore have obligations to care for and live in reciprocity with the land?