Sharing Our Way - SOW Seeds Conference and Guidebook

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2024: $99,954.00
Projected End Date: 06/30/2025
Grant Recipient: Native Seeds/SEARCH
Region: Western
State: Arizona
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Andrea Carter
Native Seeds/SEARCH


No commodities identified


  • Crop Production: seed saving
  • Education and Training: technical assistance, workshop, Booklet
  • Sustainable Communities: Indigenous/ Native American communities

    Proposal abstract:

    Native Seeds/SEARCH is requesting
    funds to co-host a two-day conference with the Salt River
    Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (SRPMIC) on seed stewardship in
    Indigenous communities. We will invite Southern Arizona
    Indigenous agricultural professionals and leaders to the
    conference to learn about seed collection management, farming
    with traditional seed varieties, and traditional food
    enterprises. The conference will include presentations by
    Indigenous farmers and food producers who steward seeds, practice
    traditional farming, and/or have created successful models of
    food businesses centered on traditional foods. This workshop will
    empower Indigenous agricultural professionals to act as conduits
    of knowledge and resources within their communities, offering
    technical assistance on seed saving while motivating and
    supporting the transition to traditional crop production.

    By strengthening these
    connections and facilitating these conversations, we aim to
    foster resilient, culturally rich, and sustainable food systems
    in Indigenous communities.

    As part of our endeavor, NS/S, in
    collaboration with SRPMIC, will create an educational guidebook
    with the assistance of hired contractors. While our previous
    publications emphasized seed saving, this guidebook will
    specifically address establishing and managing seed banks, with a
    focus on tribal and community-serving organizations. This
    guidebook is being envisioned and outlined in collaboration with
    representatives from SRPMIC, our board, and other stakeholders
    who have expressed a need for this resource.
    The guidebook will include regional seed bank
    case studies and seed saving efforts, technical information on
    seed banking topics (cost, maintenance, energy sources,
    infrastructure, moisture/humidity, temperature control, building
    materials, and recordkeeping), and details on seed distribution
    methods and policies.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Objective 1: Knowledge Enhancement

    Enhance the knowledge of up to 60
    participants, including Indigenous agricultural professionals,
    farm managers, and tribal government leaders in southern Arizona,
    regarding traditional farming practices, culturally-significant
    and regionally-adapted seeds, and seed banking and distribution.
    Progress towards this objective will be measured through
    post-conference surveys and assessments, evaluating participants'
    understanding and application of the acquired knowledge.

    Objective 2: Awareness Building

    Increase awareness among southern
    Arizona Indigenous agriculturalists about the NS/S seed
    collection, access procedures for NS/S seeds, and other technical
    resources provided by the organization. Measurement of progress
    will rely on pre-and post-awareness surveys, assessing the extent
    of awareness growth among the target audience.

    Objective 3: Promotion and Network Growth

    Promote the cultivation of
    arid-adapted and traditional crops while expanding our network of
    partnerships with southern Arizona Indigenous agricultural
    professionals and farmers. NS/S will provide agronomic support
    and facilitate the distribution of traditional seeds within and
    beyond individual communities. Progress will be measured by
    counting new partner farmers and seed access recipients who were
    introduced to NS/S through the conference or conference

    Objective 4: Capacity Building

    Strengthen the capacity of other
    organizations and institutions to save, store, and share seeds
    for their respective communities. We will achieve this objective
    through the development of the “Community Seed Banking and
    Distribution Guidebook”. This guidebook will be shared with
    conference participants and with our community-based partners
    regionally. We currently send seeds to over 125 school gardens,
    tribal serving farms, and food access initiatives, many of whom
    are eager to enhance their seed banking competencies.


    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.