2024 Supporting the CSC Spring Convening

How Will the Funds Be Used to Further Sustainable Ag in Your Community?

What We Believe:

We believe that seeds: seed diversity, seed adaptation, cultural knowledge of seeds, seed research, seed sharing, regionally adapted seed varieties. seed communal wisdom is at the HEART of sustainable agriculture.

The objectives of our Cumberland Seed Commons Spring Convening are:

1) create much greater community awareness of the foundational role of seeds, especially seed diversity, within sustainable agriculture,

2) encourage the need for more seed farmers and seed savers in this region, especially among BIPOC community members,

3) support the development of our bioregional Cumberland Seed Commons network that underlies impactful sustainable agriculture practices,

4) provide information that can encourage participants to return home and provide education and outreach programs to their communities that connect seeds and sustainable agriculture,

5) create a network of seed farmers with a strong focus on growers and seed hubs in the Cumberland River watershed bioregion with a particular outreach to BIPOC farmers. 

The development of seed hubs or seed commons at bioregional levels will strengthen the resilience of local communities to provide seeds during times of environmental crises, such as we experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Strengthening existing and creating new partnerships with universities and community organizations around seed saving, seed sharing, seed research and seed adaptation will aid communities in developing resilience to climate change and create even greater awareness of sustainable agriculture practices. By focusing on the needs of traditionally underrepresented growers, this type of outreach and education has a direct impact on overcoming years of discriminatory practices, financial disparities, farm loss and moves our communities towards greater equity and justice which is a cornerstone of sustainable agriculture.

How Will Sponsors Be Represented at Your Event?

Sponsors will be represented in these ways: 

  • publicly acknowledged in online event announcements
  • listed as an event sponsor on event printed materials
  • representatives of sponsor organizations are welcome to attend the event and speak on a panel
  • sponsor educational materials can be placed on an exhibit table

How Does our Spring Convening Support Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in our Community?

DEI is deeply embedded in our mission and work. We are a network community composed significantly of emergent and seasoned BIPOC farmers and educators. Our Spring Convening will provide educational opportunities for traditionally underrepresented farmers and aims to create a community that is welcoming and supportive of those farmers. Our local collaborators included HBCUs, Kentucky State University, Tennessee State University, as well University of Kentucky, Berea College and Eastern Kentucky University who all have DEI commitments.

Our sessions will be held at the historic Berea College which was founded in 1855 as the first coeducational and interracial college in the South and thus committed to DEI even before it became an acronym. Spring Convening participants will have opportunities to tour the campus, interact and listen to Berea College students, staff, and faculty and to learn about Berea College’s ongoing commitments to DEI.

 Our Spring Convening participants will include representatives from various community organizations such as KY Black Farmers Association, Black Soil, and other organizations who are dedicated to the principles of DEI in their respective organizations and community outreach. We have also invited representatives from 20 Indigenous tribes to join our Spring Convening and our ongoing work to create Cumberland Seed Commons.  

We are committed in our planning, organizing, and convening work to ensure that BIPOC farmers are in leadership roles.

Our Farm Bill discussions will focus on improving funding and services for small farmers in general but also in particular about policies that improve and increase funding and service for BIPOC farmers. Our discussions around policy will also seek ways to overcome years of discriminatory practices and policies that will enhance the vibrancy and longevity of BIPOC and women-owned small farms. 

We have also reached out to Indigenous communities in the southeast region to seek their participation and presentations at our Spring Convening. Our Seed Commons concept paper is inclusive of Indigenous seed cosmology, cultural foodways and relationships with seeds such as Three Sisters. 

One of the films that we will show in the evening is Seed Mother Comes Home which is about seed rematriation, a movement of Indigenous nations to regain relationships with seeds.