By Michelle DiMuzio, Communications Coordinator
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.”
What started as a pilot in partnership with select Slow Food chapters across the country has blossomed in DC. Today, Share a Seed continues to share seeds with community members, and also hosts a variety of skill and resource sharing events in partnership with Slow Food DC and with DC’s many community gardens and farms. This year, Share a Seed launched three physical seed libraries across the DC area thanks to support from the University of the District of Columbia extension program and Youth Build DC; the libraries are located at community farms across the District. This is all part of their vision to support networks of communities around food, to share resources, and to focus on food access for their community. One of the highlights has been working with the Washington Youth Garden and seeing children get excited about growing their own food.
Recently, the program was featured on a national scale at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and will be present at this year’s Farm Aid. At the festival, they will organize a seed swap highlighting seeds that have connection to the region, African diaspora, and two from the Ark of Taste: green glaze collards, seven top turnip greens, and fish pepper.
So far this year, Share a Seed has shared 6,500 seed packets with community members and thanks to a significant bulk donation from Bejo Seed, the program will be able to share an additional 11,000 organic seed packets in 2022.
Reana and the Share a Seed team are energized to continue their work in redistributing seeds, promoting food sovereignty, and building community; their hope is to inspire other local areas and communities to replicate this model and continue to create networks of seed sharing. “If you have surplus, spread abundance by sharing your spare seeds – and your expertise! – with your fellow community members,” Reana stated. “Sharing seeds is not just a great way to grow food, it’s also a great way to grow community.”
Photo Credit | Mariah Miranda and Reana Kovalcik
To learn more about Share a Seed visit here.