Native American Seed Sanctuary
One of the most exciting projects to root at the Farm Hub is the Native American Seed Sanctuary. Here on our northernmost plot of farmland bordering the Esopus Creek and the NYS Thruway* near Kingston, we are growing Native American varieties of corn, beans, squash, and sunflowers for the purpose of providing education, seed saving, and, by extension, helping to preserve the rich agricultural and cultural heritage of the Native American people. Once harvested, the seeds will be repatriated to their home communities to keep these varieties and their stories alive.
This very special project is being conducted at the Farm Hub in partnership with the Akwesasne Tribe of northern New York and with the support of Seedshed.
A True Collaboration
The Native American Seed Sanctuary project is an outgrowth of our existing partnership with Seedshed, a non-profit run by the Hudson Valley Seed Company’s founder, Ken Greene. This spring, the opportunity to create a Native American Seed Sanctuary was realized with the Farm Hub’s pledge of land, equipment and staff, and made possible through Greene’s association with Rowan White, a renowned seed keeper, farmer, educator, and member of Mohawk Akwesasne tribal community. Rowen is currently working on a book about the agricultural and seed legacy of the Haudenosaunee and Mohawk people, telling the story of the revitalization of the traditional foodways and seed culture of the indigenous peoples of this land.
Rowan provided the Seedshed with Onondoga sunflower seeds as well as Mohawk Red Bread corn, Canada Crookneck squash, Buffalo Creek Squash, and Iroquois Buckskin Brown beans for a traditional “Three Sisters” planting. Seedshed is managing the hand cultivated plots and will be overseeing the harvest and seed saving in collaboration with patterns from Akwesasne and Farm Hub team.
There is no doubt that logistical support and seed saving know-how are key to the success of the crop. But what truly lends meaning and integrity to the project is the participation of members of the Mohawk tribal community. Only with their advisement can we ensure that the sacred nature of these seeds is fully acknowledged and that the plants and seeds are cared for with the utmost respect for their Native American origins.
* Click here for information about the Pilgrim Pipeline and its potential impacts to agricultural lands. As proposed, the pipeline would cross the Esopus Creek at our Seed Sanctuary, continuing into our farm field and alongside the NYS Thruway.
Click here to view more photos in our gallery.
Top of page – banner photo: Members of the St. Regis Mohawk/Akwesasne Tribe together with Farm Hub crew members.