Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance Guiding Principles

The Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance (RMSA) supports and celebrates the individuals, communities, land-based people, organizations, and enterprises that foster, care for, and promote biodiversity and seed diversity. Human beings and all life communities, being part of this greater whole, flourish when diversity is present. We are stronger and more resilient together. Seed diversity is dependent on a strong network of land-based communities, grassroots seed savers, gardeners, farmers, and seed companies who strive to steward land in ways which safeguard biodiversity.

RMSA is committed to offering access to seed education openly, equitably, and without barriers. We strongly believe seed education is fundamental to the seed movement. As seed savers, we inherit a responsibility to care for seeds and pass on seed education so others know how to save seeds for future generations. We know seed diversity is increased–and seed sovereignty is achieved–when more gardeners and farmers save seeds. Seed education is essential to the health and preservation of cultural identity.

RMSA is creating an inclusive space for individuals, organizations, institutions, and communities who share and participate in the work of seed preservation and stewardship. The seed movement is strongest when there is a welcoming seat at the table for everyone. We invite individuals and organizations to contribute to RMSAs’ decision-making process on issues affecting them or their communities. We pledge to listen and give voice to those who have previously been unheard or silenced. Inclusivity, not tokenism, is achieved with diversity at the planning table, in staffing, and among our collaborations. True inclusion may delay achievement of other important goals. We are committed to discussion, hard work, patience, and advance planning required to create true diversity, equity, and inclusion within RMSA.

RMSA works in a grassroots capacity to build seed diversity and seed sovereignty. We empower communities to preserve their own seed diversity through an inclusive and equitable process based on authentic, reciprocal relationships. We are committed to supporting and strengthening the largest network possible of dedicated seed stewards in order to make greater diversity a reality.

RMSA believes all people should have fair and equitable access to local seeds, healthy food, medicine, clothing, shelter, and supplies necessary for survival. No one should suffer from hunger, food insecurity, malnutrition, or a lack of vital resources. Seeds are gifts from nature and the ancestors, resulting from thousands of years of unrestricted care and attention. Seeds should not be patented. They are a common resource and a fundamental birthright.

We honor the origins and stories of seeds and believe they need to be preserved. Stories have spirit, language, history, and lessons. Seed stories heal us and teach us how to care for seeds, one another, and the natural world. We recognize the unique, cultural knowledge safeguarded by the peoples and communities which care for and preserve seed heritage. We vow to respect cultural knowledge and carry ourselves with patience and understanding when we are not ready to hear or share the stories. When cultural knowledge is threatened, we will act in solidarity for seeds and in honor of their origins.

RMSA recognizes the importance of understanding our role in the seed movement and being clear about who we do or do not represent. Our role is to amplify unique and diverse perspectives, rather than speak on behalf of others.

RMSA considers all aspects of our work a privilege and sacred responsibility. A healthy, just, and inclusive organization requires accountability for our speech and actions. We hold ourselves to the highest standard of conduct per our principles and values. We will admit when we are at fault and make changes to address and correct our errors. To our partners and collaborators in the seed movement, we invite you to join us as we embrace diversity, equity, inclusion, social justice, and the rights of nature. Always, we welcome feedback that will elevate our organizational levels of accountability.

We find ourselves in a period of mental and spiritual transformation. Our hearts are open with reverence and curiosity to the unknown and we are committed to growing, learning, and evolving with humility. This is necessary for the cultural and spiritual transformation we need to save seeds and seed stories. When individuals and communities share information, feedback and advice we will listen and consider their approach to guide us moving forward. We acknowledge we have work to do and are inspired to become as a seed becomes: open and ready for a new way of living, growing and being.