Like any gardener looking ahead to another growing season, I’m deep into the seed catalogs, dreaming of things to come. But many seeds also offer us a window to look back in time by telling us their stories, which are also the stories of the people who grew them before us, and the places those people and seeds have journeyed from.
I have a special affection for catalogs that celebrate seeds with such histories to share. Ujamaa Seeds, founded in 2021, is one such place, and one of its founders is here to talk about “seeds as vessels of cultural heritage,” as they refer to them.
Bonnetta Adeeb, a retired educator, is President of Steam Onward, Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to increasing the number of minority and under-served youth pursuing higher education in STEM-related fields. In 2020, she founded the Ujamaa Cooperative Farming Alliance, a collective of BIPOC growers, farmers, and gardeners who cultivate and distribute heirloom seeds and grow culturally meaningful crops … and in 2021 the Ujamaa Seeds online catalog that’s our subject today was born.
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