Underground Heroes (September 2023)

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Underground Heroes

THE LATEST NEWS FROM SEEDCHANGE SEPTEMBER 2023
PHOTO CREDIT: HUZEYFE TURAN

FROM OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Welcome to the September edition of Underground Heroes.

We hope you've been making the most of these final days of summer, soaking up the warm weather and sunshine, enjoying the fruits of your (gardening) labour, saving some precious seeds, and exploring your local farmers' markets...

Before you dive into this newsletter, we want to take a moment to thank you for being an important part of the SeedChange community.

The work we do with farmers, globally, is made possible because of your generous contributions, and we are grateful for your continued support.

With the long days of summer almost behind us, and as September brings the transition into a new harvest season, we want to wish you a month filled with fresh starts and, as always, the fulfillment of knowing that you're making a difference.

-The SeedChange team
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LETITIA
AMA DEAWUO EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SEEDCHANGE Support our work.

Tanzanian farmers are harnessing the power of movable gardens to nourish their community

COMMUNITY SEED BANKING: A SUSTAINABLE APPROACH TO STRENGTHEN FARMER SEED SYSTEMS IN TIMOR-LESTE

How Timor-Leste's Community Seed Banking journey has transitioned from conflict to resilience

Some final takeaways

FROM OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TABLE OF CONTENTS THE POWER OF AGROECOLOGY: HOW MOVABLE GARDENS HELPED TWO WOMEN FARMERS IN TANZANIA CULTIVATE CHANGE SALSA & SALAD RECIPES: MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TOMATOES 02 05 07 04 06 08 03 MENTORSHIP HELPS LAUNCH NEW SEED COMPANY
& BITES A welcome message from SeedChange’s Executive Director Local expertise is fuelling Sunwild Seeds’ success
BITS

MENTORSHIP HELPS LAUNCH NEW SEED COMPANY

According to Mary Tress, “being connected to a local, knowledgeable seed grower” was key to her success in launching Sunwild Seeds, which offered 12 varieties in 2022.

In readying her Green Curled lettuce seed for sale to local gardeners, Mary was able to access support from her mentor, as well as from Farm Folk City Folk's and The Bauta Family Initiative's (SeedChange's Canadian program) Seed Mentorship Program, for not only growing the seed crop but addressing the many challenges of getting it to market!

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Mary Tress, of Terrace, BC, discusses the advantages and benefits she has gained from participating in the Farm Folk City Folk/Bauta Family Initiative Seed Mentorship Program

THE POWER OF AGROECOLOGY: HOW MOVABLE GARDENS HELPED TWO WOMEN FARMERS IN TANZANIA CULTIVATE CHANGE

Despite land access challenges, Sellina Sewando and Monica Patrick, participants in the Rural Women Cultivating Change (RWCC) program in Tanzania, are partaking in an ingenious way to cultivate a thriving vegetable garden that is both flexible and resilient.

Their secret? “Movable” gardens that can be set up in temporary locations for a season or two.

Setting up three (small but mighty!) gardens with good sun coverage, adequate rain and moisture conditions, but protected from pests and adverse winds, Sellina and Monica are able to grow peas, tomatoes and managu - a popular and healthy fast-growing local green leafy vegetable in the region.

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Sellina Sewando and Monica Patrick (in blue), overseeing their movable gardens in Gairo Village, Tanzania

COMMUNITY SEED BANKING: A SUSTAINABLE APPROACH TO STRENGTHEN FARMER SEED SYSTEMS IN TIMOR-LESTE

Let's embark on a historical journey back to 1997 when SeedChange (then USC Canada) commenced its mission in Timor-Leste, focused on integrated community development and aimed at assisting communities affected by the freedom war.

In a significant development in 2013, Resilient Agriculture and Economy through Biodiversity in Action (RAEBIA) was established, with pivotal support from SeedChange Over time, RAEBIA earned its status as a distinguished national NGO

Today, RAEBIA's work revolves around Community Seed Banking - a comprehensive approach dedicated to nurturing local seeds and advancing sustainable farming practices.

Through this program, RAEBIA has established Community Seed Houses and Field Gene Banks in three villages (Batara, Fadabloco, and Hera) that store and conserve 100 varieties of seeds and planting materials of different field crops, vegetables, fruits, and spaces. The farmers can exchange their seeds and learn from each others' practices. In return, they can enhance their food security, nutrition, and resilience.

Beyond the field, RAEBIA engages in policy advocacy and knowledge-sharing endeavours, and stands as a formidable advocate for sustainable agriculture, fostering community resilience, safeguarding biodiversity, and charting a path towards a prosperous agricultural future in Timor-Leste

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Diogo Sarmentu (left), Jose Soares (centre), and Domingas Soares (right), are members of the Community Seed Bank in the Batara village, who are participating in the characterization of local food plants using traditional local knowledge This information will be used to develop seed catalogues, as part of documenting local seeds
LEARN

SALSA & SALAD RECIPES: MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TOMATOES

DID YOU KNOW?

Today’s tomatoes began as wild plants in the Andes, growing in parts of Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. The small fruits of the plant look very little like today’s cultivated tomatoes. Centuries of planting, growing and saving tomato seeds resulted in the fruit we recognize today, spreading through the Americas, then to Europe and eventually around the globe

Learn more about the history of the tomato, and check out some farmerapproved salsa and salad recipes that are sure to bring out the best in your tomatoes, via the link below.

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Bits & Bites

Gardeners: It's Time to Save Seeds!

If you’ve been gardening this season, you’re likely starting to close down your summer garden.

But don’t forget to save seeds from your favourite plants for next year. This simple act not only allows you to be more selfsufficient; it also helps preserve biodiversity and increase resilience.

Learn how to get started with these seed saving resources from the Community Seed Network, a project of Seed Savers Exchange and SeedChange

To save seeds from your favourite tomato varieties, follow this great step-by-step tutorial from farmer Dan Brisebois.

Some final takeaways...

Our Canadian program, The Bauta Family Initiative, is recruiting members for its Farmer Advisory Council!

This is an opportunity to join a team of like-minded farmers and seed savers to provide strategic direction to assist The Bauta Family Initiative in meeting the needs of farming and seed growing in communities throughout Canada

EXTENDED DEADLINE: Apply by September 29, 2023.

See full details and apply

SeedChange partner, Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGNP) is hosting its renowned gender festival, in Dar es Salaam, between November 7-10, 2023

With several SeedChange partners participating in this longstanding event, we will be sharing festival highlights via our social channels

More details about the festival are available here

Watch a short documentary about the festival here.

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BY MAKING A CONTRIBUTION TO SEEDCHANGE, YOU CAN PLAY AN INTEGRAL ROLE IN SUPPORTING FOOD AND SEED SOVEREIGNTY.

YOUR DONATIONS ALLOW US TO CONTINUE OUR WORK TOWARDS MORE JUST, SUSTAINABLE AND RESILIENT FOOD SYSTEMS IN CANADA AND GLOBALLY.

YES, I WANT TO DONATE.

AND IF YOU ENJOYED READING THIS CONTENT, DON’T FORGET TO SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER. WE WON’T SPAM YOUR INBOX, BUT WE WILL ENGAGE YOU IN SOME STELLAR SEED-SPECIFIC NEWS.

YES, I WANT TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE E-NEWSLETTER.

SeedChange (formerly USC Canada) is a nonprofit founded in 1945 by Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova and rooted in the notions of human dignity and equality. Today, we work with farmers around the world, including Canada, to shift the way we grow our food. By harnessing the power of good seeds, farmer leadership and global solidarity, we help communities thrive.

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SeedChange | 1.800.565.6872 | info@weseedchange.org | weseedchange.org We are a registered Canadian charity: 11927-6129-RR-0001
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