To increase the number of BIPOC seed growers UCFA collaborates with four groups engaged in seed saving:
The seed savers are inexperienced growers, learn seed saving through face-to-face hands-on farming sessions, as well as online workshops.
Experienced growers are classified as seed stewards. Utilizing the services of institutions such as Seed Savers Exchange and the USDA-ARS Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), seed stewards are taught how to extend rare varieties of seeds. Currently, we are working with members of the Lumbee, the Lenape, and the Piscataway tribal communities to identify their traditional foods and culturally meaningful seeds, to facilitate extending the bank of seeds considered important to their communities.
Through our collaborations with higher learning institutions such as Princeton University, American University, Berea College, Spelman College, and the University of Vermont UCFA is launching community science learning sites. The interns in our community science learning sites conduct research on local seed varieties.
UCFA collaborates with farming cooperatives to produce regional adaptations of seed varieties.
Over the past century or so, there has been a seventy-five percent decline in agricultural biodiversity, meaning many varieties of edible plants are no longer available today. This is mainly due to the rise of commercialized agriculture. At UCFA we working to increasing biodiversity, by offering a variety of culturally meaningful seeds.