January 18, 2018-Puerta de Tierra, San Juan

“Brigadas de Semillas” Sign

Our seed experience from the day spent on the PR Resiliency Fund's Seed Brigade really requires a whole separate posting. Throughout the day more than two dozen volunteers from the local community and around the world came together to work on sorting donations of seed that had been coming into the PR Resiliency Fund from a variety of donations. This was our last seed stop of the week and it was where we left hundreds of varieties of seed packets from every seed company and individual seed saver that had donated seed for us to distribute. The day was non-stop seed. Thousands of packets were organized, sorted, catalogued, created from bulk donations split into coin envelopes by volunteers. These seeds would go to hundreds of growers throughout the island, from community gardeners to sustainable farmers and agroecology practitioners, from school gardens to home gardens, always with the intent to educate on seed saving and keep the Semiteca concept alive. Three main seed banks will be stored in three different locations on the island, with over 50 schools receiving the donation of a mini-semiteca and working with team members from the PR Resiliency Fund to learn about seed saving, gardening, food production and ecology.

One of the most memorable things that happened at the PR Resiliency Fund's Seed Brigade was the creation of the mini-semitecas for the schools. Public schools on the island have been facing a crisis for years, and the aftermath of Hurricane María has only made it worse. A recent development, not long before we went to the island, was the removal of all arts and music education from the schools due to lack of resources. Thanks to the generous donation of the Hudson Valley Seed Company of hundreds of art packs, the semitecas headed to the schools would contain art lessons infused in their seed box. The educational programs that the Resiliency Fund will offer at the participating schools and the support materials will include the arts in relation to seeds and farming, building bridges across different aspects of culture and helping to fill multiple gaps for a more sustainable and just future.

January 18, 2018-Puerta de Tierra, San Juan