GRESHAM, Ore. (KOIN) — Good Rain Farm owner Michelle Week said their mission is to revitalize and reconnect to Native, indigenous foodways and diets. That includes what she calls seed sovereignty.
Seeds, she said, have origins to the land and climate here. She cares deeply about ways to preserve them through a relatively new program called Save Our Seeds.
“Our SOS members sign up just like any other (Community Supported Agriculture) program,” Week told KOIN 6 News. “They get a whole seed-saving kit from us.”
CSA members invest in a farm ahead of time before getting shares later on in the form of fresh, local food. The Save Our Seeds program gets to the root of the farming.
Members get seeds that are still on the stalk. “They get to save some of that seed for their own home gardens or to share with their community or family or friends who have home gardens,” she said.
Then they return the bulk of the seeds back to the farm, where some are set aside to do it again next year. Week sees this as a way to make certain seeds more abundant — which would then lower their price and make them more accessible.
“Part of what inspired me to start SOS was that a lot of our indigenous seeds of North America are considered exotic or rare, for a lot of bad historical reasons,” she said. “And that comes with a price hike. So then we’re priced out of access to our own foods that were a really significant cultural part of our lives.”
Good Rain Farm also packages and ships out portions of the seeds with local nonprofits while prioritizing groups that connect with Black, indigenous and people of color.
They include Nea, which is the Native American and Family Center, the Cowlitz Community Garden.