An internet image of rainbow corn set Seedkeeper Angela Ferguson on a personal journey that led to a cultural mission.
Glass Gem corn is a flint corn, a variant of maize. Each kernel has a hard outer layer. It can be ground up to be used as meal and popped when dried. Photo by Jim O'Connor.
The corn in the images Angela found was attributed to a Cherokee farmer in Oklahoma named Carl Barnes. While planting corn Barnes kept noticing ancestral corn variants re-appearing. After isolating these he matched some to corn varietals that had been lost to Native people during land loss and forced resettlement.
Seed sovereignty is distinct from food sovereignty in its emphasis on seed saving specifically, rather than food systems in their entirety. Seed sovereignty activists often argue for seed saving based on environmental reasoning, not merely for food justice. They argue that seed saving fills an important role of restoring biodiversity to agriculture, and producing plant varieties that are more resilient to change climatic conditions in light of climate change.
TEDTalk LaDuke, Winona. (2012). Seeds of Our Ancestors, Seeds of Life, TEDxTC.
The Onondaga Nation Farm was created in 2015 and is responsible for all aspects of food sovereignty within the Nation from planting, harvesting and seed preservation, to beekeeping, butchering, and meal prep for elders.
Syracuse University's South Campus used to be acre upon acre of fertile farmland maintained by the staff and students at the College of Agriculture. Thanks to SU graduate student Ethan Tyo and University administration, a Three Sisters garden planted in 2022 has attracted national attention.