Hey all! Zoe and the PAN Minnesota Team here. Our summers are so busy and it’s always a great time to lift up projects with our partners in MN.
Toxic Taters Coalition Coordinator, Tanya Redroad, and I just had the first of a new Zoom interview series called Food, Land & Environmental Justice, Stories from the Field. Check out what Tanya and her team are doing this summer. To see the interview, follow this link.
Midwest Farmers of Color Collective (MFCC) had an amazing Seed Symposium for Juneteenth (June 17) at Oak Park Center in North Minneapolis with over 60 farmers and gardeners attending. Seed sovereignty or seed justice is a critical world-wide movement of farmers and culture keepers. This movement embraces the wisdom and traditions of traditional and Indigenous food ways that sustained life long before GMOs and industrial scale farming came into existence.
The Seed Symposium started with a historical reflection led by Eco Activist Jim Embry on Juneteenth and the black farmers who fought against the confederacy in the Civil War. We acknowledged valuable agricultural practices promoted by George Washington Carver and models of regional seed solidarity networks in Kenya. Bonnetta Adeeb and Nate Kleinman from the Ujamaa Cooperative Farming Alliance and Ujamaa Seeds, then led participants in seed story-sharing.
One farmer shared a story of a long lost heirloom cherry variety from his home town in Colombia. Tree seedlings were discovered that had grown from seeds trapped in the rubble from century old earthen buildings, returning a long-lost fruit to his community. Bonneta shared the story of her family’s watermelon farm in Mississippi. It became a very successful business, despite the presence of the Ku Klux Klan in the town. And, an urban farmer from the Rondo community in St. Paul told the story of a 2000 year-old Palestinian watermelon variety that they grow that is resistant to drought.
The day concluded with a workshop that focused on foods and seeds that have been saved and brought back to disconnected communities by seed keepers preserving them in various networks around the world. We learned about navigating the US National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS), an online database of seeds, which includes plant materials that have been collected from around the world. And, we ended the day with seed swapping, hugs, and a tour of MFCCs new Seed library space.
The Seed Symposium was a powerful event. We talked about cultural foods that were important to each of us and how it can be hard to find them in seed company offerings. We shared our feelings of loss that come from being disconnected from the foods and medicines of our ancestors and affirmed the power and healing gained when we reconnect with our histories and each other. We learned that, as we look for the answers to the looming health, environmental and ecological crises, the solutions in agroecology and permaculture, of sequestering carbon through growing plants, have been there within the cultures of our communities all along.
Zoe Hollomon, Organizing Co-Director, Minnesota
PAN is looking for a Communications Director
Pesticide Action Network (PAN) is seeking a passionate, pragmatic, and innovative Communications Director. We’re looking for someone deeply rooted in the discipline of strategic communications for social change, who has a flair for crafting compelling narratives to mobilize target audiences, and is well-versed in online organizing best practices.
The Communications Director supervises and collaborates closely with a small and mighty team that includes the Communications Manager and Digital Production Manager. They are responsible for cultivating the organizational “voice,” developing message platforms, and ensuring consistency across all branded materials and channels. The Communication Director oversees the creation and implementation of digital engagement and online fundraising strategies, and collaborates with staff across the organization as part of the program leadership team.
Our work toward health and justice in food and farming systems is for the long haul, and we hope you’ll join us. For a full job description and application process, please visit: https://www.panna.org/job-listing/communications-director-2/
Look for PAN on social media
Perhaps you have already noticed if you are on some of the various social media platforms, but PAN has been producing more original content that combines excellent artwork by our Communications Team. One of our recent efforts has a specific relevance to the Upper Midwest.