The Cumberland Seed Commons is a newly formed network of kindred spirits that share a love for seeds with a recognition of that seeds represent the foundation of sustainable communities and are the basis of community resilience as we face the challenge of climate change, loss of biodiversity and ecological crises. 

Our Seed Commons is committed to the pursuit of justice as we recognize that our nation was founded upon the European theft of land from Indigenous peoples and the theft of labor from African peoples to do agriculture and work in foodways. We view that the intersect of food, agriculture and seeds represents the fulcrum point for potentialities of broader social transformation.

Our seed network is based upon the bioregional framework of the Cumberland River known as Wasioto by the Cherokee peoples. We seek to ground ourselves in Indigenous cosmology of seeds. Our network is further guided by the African American agricultural ethos as we emphasis BIPOC leadership and community involvement. Our germination as a seed commons or network concept was pollinated at the Ujamaa Cooperative Farming Alliance 2022 Fall Convening in Accokeek, MD and further nourished at the UCFA 2023 Spring Convening in Berea, KY. We are very grateful and honored to have our roots within Ujamaa Seeds and other various individuals and organizations that have paved the road within this important work around seeds. 

Three of our national seed network family members: Rowen White of Sierra Seeds, Ira Wallace of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and Jim Embry of Sustainable Communities Network received the prestigious James Beard Foundation 2023 Leadership Awards at the gala awards event held in Chicago June 6, 2023. Three of the six Leadership Awards went to these beloved “seedy people” Rowen, Ira and Jim as described in this short introduction by the food icon, Jessica B. Harris at James Beard Gala.


Cumberland Seed Commons Concept