Rematriation Partnership: Orchard Establishment and Care

Project Overview

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2023: $45,238.00
Projected End Date: 03/01/2025
Grant Recipient: Seed Savers Exchange
Region: North Central
State: Iowa
Project Coordinator:
Cindy Goodner
Seed Savers Exchange


  • Fruits: apples


  • Crop Production: grafting
  • Education and Training: mentoring
  • Farm Business Management: value added

    Proposal abstract:

    The Rematriation Partnership: Orchard Establishment and Care project, will allow Seed Savers Exchange (SSE) to educate and support three indigenous partner farms with establishing heritage apple orchards. While apples were not historically a source of food for Native Americans, apples were introduced after European emigration to North America and after the forced relocation of indigenous tribes and communities. The partner farms identified in this proposal are seeking to establish orchards on their properties, and Seed Savers Exchange has both the heritage scion wood of over 1,000 varieties of apples and the expertise to help farm partners graft varieties of their choice, plant, and prune and maintain new trees. After orchards are established years later and bare fruit, the farms will enjoy perennial food crops for generations to come and will be able to share the complex story of the connections with apples and their family history. Passing on the knowledge of how to graft apple trees will also empower the partner farms to continue to share their chosen apple varieties with others in a self-sustaining and self-sufficient manner. Partner farms are located in the upper midwest including the states of Wisconsin and Minnesota.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Objectives of the The Rematriation Partnership: Orchard Establishment and Care project include: 

    1. support Indigenous agricultural sustainability, food access, and economic opportunity
    2. select apple varieties from the SSE collection to graft and plant at each of the three indigenous partner farms
    3. teach the skill of tree grafting and consult on establishing new orchards in each of the three indigenous partner farm locations
    4. educate indigenous farm partners on the long term care of heritage orchards
    5. educate networks of identified farm partners, SSE, other key audiences, and a broader segment of the public about the intersection of apples in Indigenous cultures
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.