When the pandemic hit and seeds were scarce, Reana Kovalcik, Founder of Share a Seed and Slow Food Southeast Regional Councilor, worked with Slow Food USA to pilot a model for sharing seeds and growing resources at the community level. “Share a Seed is a mutual aid-style program,” Reana explained. “I wanted to find a way to democratize seed access, grow community, and redistribute resources at a time when scarcity was all around us. Mutual aid networks are a great way to do that kind of resource and skill-sharing without barriers to access.”
Bobolink Dairy and Bakehouse is part of our Snail of Approval program, granted by Slow Food Northern New Jersey; the farm sits on 187 acres of land in Milford, New Jersey, and focuses on 100% grass-fed, farmstead cheese, produced on a small-scale regenerative farm. In 2002, when Nina and Jonathan started the project, most landowners were utilizing their properties for tract housing or subsidy farming, causing negative environmental effects and reducing community value. The fields the dairy and bakehouse currently operate on were originally used for conventional crop rotation; the land was barren, pale and parched and faced erosion as well as flooding issues after heavy rainfalls.
Catie Cohen, Founder of Demeter’s Kitchen, was not always a baker. After graduating with a degree in chemical engineering and pursuing a career within that field, it became clear to her this was not the right fit. Her longtime interest in holistic health set her on a path to explore working in the restaurant and bakery industry while also hosting holistic health workshops on the side.
The SFLT Food Bank Garden has grown exponentially each year; in 2021, they were able to feed over 75 locals each week with 388 pounds of culturally appropriate food for a predominantly Latinx recipient base, with the help of over 850+ volunteer hours. The garden also recently gained a full-time garden manager, which has been crucial to the current success of the garden. To fund these operations, SFLT has hosted several fundraisers, auctions, and applied for various local grants through community foundations.
Perhaps one of the most unique facets of Hudson Valley Seed Company is the marriage of seeds and art. From the start, K felt the seed packages were an opportunity to communicate to people how they felt about and valued seeds – not just their commodity, but also their story.