Rowen writes, “I am a farmer, seedkeeper, garden mentor, published author, creative intuitive, mother, wife, orator and storyteller, facilitator and strategic leadership guide, and lifelong learner. I am from the Mohawk community of Akwesasne and a passionate activist for indigenous seed and food sovereignty. Our family resides on a beautiful seed sanctuary farm in Northern California. I am the founder and Creative Director of Sierra Seeds which serves a wide and diverse community, and I also cultivate programs specifically for indigenous communities through our non-profit sister program, Indigenous Seedkeepers Network.
I believe that cultivating a culture of belonging needs to be at the heart of food systems change, inviting a diversity of perspectives and voices, cosmologies and values. I believe that food is deeply healing and that when we restore our relationships with our ancestral foods, they help us recalibrate our deep internal knowing of who we are, and this is one of the greatest anecdotes to the diaspora of disconnection that is creating so much ecological and social chaos in these times.
I came to farming as a means to connect to my ancestral indigenous lineage, and as a means for powerful revitalization of cultural memory and healing intergenerational trauma. Through my connection to seeds and the earth, I have found a way to be in service to indigenous community wellbeing and to engage in a path of work that deeply nourishes me.
Our organization, Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance has mobilized an indigenous seed drive through our Indigenous Seedkeepers Network, sending over 4000 packets of seed (and counting) to indigenous individuals and communities. Seed sovereignty is the foundation for food security and it is a joy to support indigenous communities as they work to plant Hope and Resilience gardens in the face of this pandemic.”