Presentation Title

New American Seed Systems: Resiliency and Diversity

Project Collaborators

Dan Tobin (Faculty Mentor)

Time

11:30 AM

Location

Williams Family Room

Abstract

In the US, decreasing crop diversity limits options to adapt to increasingly prevalent challenges such as climate change and food insecurity. Consolidation of seed and agrochemical companies have raised public concern and academic attention; issues of seed access, control, and diversity greatly impacts the food and agricultural system. Increasingly, researchers and local communities have noted how small-scale farmers, especially from refugee backgrounds, introduce seed diversity and cultural knowledge into locally adapted agriculture. This study seeks to better understand how refugee farmers exercise cultural, political, and environmental agency while creating diverse seed systems that contribute to food system diversity, biocultural heritage, and climate change resiliency. A case study of New American farmers in Burlington, Vermont will provide a better understanding of the values and priorities that promote a diverse and resilient seed system. This presentation outlines the critical vulnerabilities in existing seed systems and highlights the diversity that exists within informal seed systems internationally among farmers who maintain similar agricultural systems as refugees. The justification provided in this presentation provides the foundation for a proposal for a master’s thesis focused on a case study investigating refugee seed system diversity, values, and resilience using semi-structured interviews and network analysis. Interviews will explore how seed values and access differ across ethnic, regional, and gender subgroups. Network analysis of seed flows will map social networks in the refugee gardening community. Collaborating with community organizations, New Farms for New Americans (NFNA) and Burlington Area Community Garden Network (BACGN), this project hopes to add to academic and public knowledge of the importance of diverse seed systems.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Dan Tobin

Status

Graduate

Student College

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Program/Major

Accounting

Primary Research Category

Social Sciences

Secondary Research Category

Food & Environment Studies

Tertiary Research Category

Vermont Studies

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New American Seed Systems: Resiliency and Diversity

In the US, decreasing crop diversity limits options to adapt to increasingly prevalent challenges such as climate change and food insecurity. Consolidation of seed and agrochemical companies have raised public concern and academic attention; issues of seed access, control, and diversity greatly impacts the food and agricultural system. Increasingly, researchers and local communities have noted how small-scale farmers, especially from refugee backgrounds, introduce seed diversity and cultural knowledge into locally adapted agriculture. This study seeks to better understand how refugee farmers exercise cultural, political, and environmental agency while creating diverse seed systems that contribute to food system diversity, biocultural heritage, and climate change resiliency. A case study of New American farmers in Burlington, Vermont will provide a better understanding of the values and priorities that promote a diverse and resilient seed system. This presentation outlines the critical vulnerabilities in existing seed systems and highlights the diversity that exists within informal seed systems internationally among farmers who maintain similar agricultural systems as refugees. The justification provided in this presentation provides the foundation for a proposal for a master’s thesis focused on a case study investigating refugee seed system diversity, values, and resilience using semi-structured interviews and network analysis. Interviews will explore how seed values and access differ across ethnic, regional, and gender subgroups. Network analysis of seed flows will map social networks in the refugee gardening community. Collaborating with community organizations, New Farms for New Americans (NFNA) and Burlington Area Community Garden Network (BACGN), this project hopes to add to academic and public knowledge of the importance of diverse seed systems.