Uniting for seed sovereignty

Groundswell, an international nonprofit with a coordination office based in Asheville, is dedicated to “strengthening rural communities by building healthy farming and food systems from the ground up,” says Cristina Hall, the organization’s communications outreach coordinator.

Groundswell’s Asheville and U.S. Program, thus far, focuses on advocacy, education and awareness about the importance of sovereign seed systems. Locally, Groundswell has partnered with Sow True Seed, a supplier of open-pollenated, non-hybrid and non-GMO seed, to encourage heirloom seed cultivation.

In solidarity with Groundswell’s mission, Buchi Kombucha has created a specialty flavor, which is part of its intentional line of kombucha flavors supporting nonprofits with shared values and principles. For Groundswell, Buchi has crafted a new flavor called Seed, a kombucha infused with pressed turmeric, pineapple and coconut water. Five cents from every bottle sold will benefit Groundswell. According to Buchi’s website, Seed speaks to “our inalienable human right to harvest, save seed, sell, share or trade food in order to cultivate community resilience through individual empowerment.”

Groundswell, Sow True Seed and Buchi “all have the same mission,” says Hall. “We have the same commitment to spreading the word about the importance of seeds, which are the foundation of our food sovereignty,” she adds.

Groundswell was brought to Asheville in 2013 from Washington, D.C., where it was founded in 2009. Since then, Groundswell has established farmer-to-farmer support programs in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Haiti, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, driven by the philosophy that “real, lasting change” is established by empowering local communities to “lead their own development,” says Hall. Each program is unique; however, each works to spread agroecological farming solutions, support farmer-led innovation, build local seed systems and disseminate successful techniques between communities across the world.

“Asheville and Appalachia is an interesting area,” says Hall. “It doesn’t take very long to get outside [of the city and find] very rural communities, so Groundswell strategically decided to move with the intention of creating a program here in Western North Carolina.”

For more information on Buchi’s Seed and international line click here. Samples of Buchi Seed will be offered to the public at the March Against Monsanto, held on Saturday, May 24th at noon at Pack Square. For more about the March, click here.


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About Aiyanna Sezak-Blatt
Aiyanna grew up on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. She was educated at The Cambridge School of Weston, Sarah Lawrence College, and Oxford University. Aiyanna lives in Asheville, North Carolina where she proudly works for Mountain Xpress, the city’s independent local newspaper.

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