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Stewardship Stories


Planting Sacred Seeds in a Modern World

Rowen White reflects on her ancestral seed collection and the sacred significance of diverse corn varieties within the Haudenosaunee community. Through a journey of seed stewardship, she explores the cultural dimensions of biodiversity, emphasizing the role of cultural memory, tradition, and community relationships in preserving and restoring these seeds that have witnessed generations of history and nourished diverse cultures.

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A man, Russ Crow, stands in front of tall shelves with many small jars of seeds

Stewardship Stories: Russ Crow

Russ Crow’s earliest gardening memories are with his father, planting tomatoes. Inspired, Russ convinced his father to build a 2×2 foot plot in the yard to cultivate. “I planted it entirely in radishes. Solid radishes,” laughed Russ, nostalgically.

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A lush green garden

Stewardship Stories: Kathleen Plunkett-Black

Kathleen Plunkett-Black grew up in Vermont, gardening with her father. One year, he decided to let Kathleen and her two siblings each have their own small plots planted with anything they wanted. “I picked celery, my brother picked peanuts, and my sister picked Brussels sprouts,” she remembers, laughing.

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Small containers of sprouted plants with popsicle stick markers.

Stewardship Stories: John Coykendall

John Coykendall was born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee by his mother and father—a school teacher and a banker, respectively. John’s grandfather owned a farm and was a congressman by profession. In 1954, when John was 11, his father taught him to plant potatoes and corn. It was then that John found his love of gardening. “I still get the same thrill out of digging new potatoes that I did the first year!” remembers John.

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Wild plants in a garden

Stewardship Stories: Jim Tjepkema

Jim Tjepkema, like many seed savers, gardened as a child with his parents. “My dad always had a garden as I was growing up. I helped some with planting it,” he remembers, “You know, my mother liked to do canning too, so we always had canned vegetables and some frozen as well, so that started me out in gardening.”

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