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Groundswell International: Farmer to Farmer Visit

Last week, Groundswell International hosted their fifth annual global forum in Asheville NC, titled ‘Global Partnership in Action – Strengthening Locally, Connecting Globally’. One of their main aims was to examine seed systems and explore the challenges and successes of creating a sovereign seed system.

“Groundswell International contributes to the global movement to overcome poverty, inequality and ecological destruction by supporting community-based organizations to work together to improve wellbeing, spread lasting solutions and engage in wider coalitions for change.”

Groundswell International and Sow True Seed

Earlier in 2013, Sow True Seed worked with Groundswell International on a Spreading Healthy Seed initiative. The goal was to provide open-pollinated, GMO-free seed to 1000 families across the USA for free! So, when Groundswell International brought together an international group of agroecologists for a discussion on sovereign seed systems, Sow True Seed was delighted to be a part of their exciting program.

Farmer to Farmer Visit with Sow True Seed

Burkina Faso, Ecuador, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, the Philippines, Nepal, the Netherlands, and the U.S. were some of the countries represented in Groundswell International’s visit to Sow True Seed’s headquarters in downtown Asheville. Anne Hillson, our Agricultural Program Director, gave a quick tour of Sow True Seed before everyone settled down in our warehouse. We  had transformed the warehouse into a makeshift presentation room.

Speaker Holly Whitesides

The main speaker was Holly Whitesides. Holly is the farm manager/owner of Against the Grain Farm near Boone NC. She is an amazing role model for sustainable farmers, especially for female farmers. Holly is also one of Sow True Seed’s many local seed growers. We were excited to have her speak about her successes and experiences as a full-time organic farmer.

“Not all farmers will or can save seed, but having the option to exercise that right is what is important in securing a robust and sustainable seed growing and sowing community.”

Holly’s presentation clearly showed her passion for and knowledge of farming. Beautiful photos and real-life experiences kept her talk interesting and informative. The informal setting and lively group from Groundswell International led to some animated discussions about hybrids, GMOs, Monsanto, the economics of seed saving and the importance of seed-sovereignty, to name a few.

A huge thanks to Holly, who was as animated as the best of them, mixing food philosophy and good farming practices. If you’re local, check out her website. If you’re global, then follow Groundswell International as they spread their important message around the world.


Written by Chris Smith, Sow True Seed Community Coordinator

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