Celebrating the First Harvest from our Native American Seed Sanctuary
In early November, the Farm Hub celebrated the first harvest of its Native American Seed Sanctuary. The activities included a ceremony at the Seed Sanctuary in preparation for the harvest of the Mohawk Red Bread Corn. In addition to Mohawk seed keeper and educator Rowen White, attending from the St. Regis Mohawk tribe were elders and youth from the Akwesasne Cultural Restoration Program and Ohero:kon –Rites of Passage. The squash, beans, and sunflowers that had been picked at the end of October were brought to the Farm Hub for seed harvesting and a workshop with Farm Hub staff, field crew members, and volunteers.
“For the Mohawk people, these seeds are like our relatives,” says White, and they will “create the beautiful garden that we want for our children and grandchildren.” White adds, “These seeds represent the co-evolution of our ancestors and our plants, and are therefore part of the reclaiming of our heritage.”
During the workshop, Farm Hub staff, field crew members, and volunteers learned the traditional method for braiding the husks of the deep red Mohawk corn for hanging and drying. Songs in the Mohawk language blended with conversation in English and Spanish while the work was taking place in and around the greenhouse.
The seeds will return to the tribe in upstate New York where they will be planted in conjunction with cultural restoration initiatives and youth groups working to keep Native American food culture alive.
To see a gallery of the activities, click here.