November/December 2021
Stories from Benguet
by Efrenlito Cabbigat
(GSSP Program Manager)
Macario showing us the damages on his farm.
The last quarter of the year is a most awaited time for our farmers in BASS. The excitement comes not only from the festive mood brought about by the
nearing Christmas and New Year celebrations. This is also the time of the year when the weather is very conducive for planting and harvesting of seeds.

The beginning of the fourth quarter, however, was rough as Typhoon Maring devastated the Northern Philippines the second week of October. Although we are relieved to know that none of our farmers were greatly impacted by this calamity, some of the farms incurred several damages.
The pathway leading to Farmer Macario’s had been rendered useless as erosion cut a big portion of his land. Farmer Cesar had to interrupt his farm work in order to attend to some eroded part of his farm. He also had to fix portions of his water system which was washed away during the storm.
Seed saving can already be challenging, but it is events like this that make farming extra difficult for our partner farmers. Yet in spite of this, they remain hopeful even as they tried to salvage some of the plants and fruits for seed saving.
Anita shows us some of the seeds spared by the devastation of Typhoon Maring.
Farmer Anita was happy to share with the other BASS members that she was able to harvest seeds. She said that these were the seeds “spared by typhoon Maring." Proving their resilience and ability to withstand such calamities.
Farmer Letty, was excited to tell fellow BASS members about her blooming roselle and is quite enthused that she is about to harvest seeds from her native bitter gourd (ampalaya) plants. [Remember Maya's story of the ampalayang ligaw from last month's newsletter? Letty's plants are "direct relatives" of Maya's.]
Despite the rough start, this last quarter still yielded great results. It still is the best time of the year to harvest seeds here in the upland. Our farmers are happy to start the planting season next year with sufficient seed stock which they will be gathering until the end of the December 2021.
Our farmer partners were also delighted to receive nets which they can use to fend off pests in their seed gardens.

Thanks to the Sacred Fire Foundation grant, our farmers have this important farming item to ensure that their plants reach seeding stage and optimize harvest.

“Too much rain in the past season has made our seed saving activities very challenging as plants hardly reach the flowering stage. This is aggravated by pests that devour our plants,” said Farmer Fely, one of our seed savers.

With the aid of this net, we will be assured that our plants reach seeding stage and that we can gather more seeds that we can use for next year's planting while some extra seeds can be shared to our neighbors and community,” she continued.
Thank You For Making Our
11th Annual Nourish Celebration a Success!

Watch the Nourish Thank You Video Below
It's been weeks since the 11th Annual Nourish Celebration and we continue to gain new insights about our dynamic community brought together by the desire to preserve plant biodiversity and secure food and seed sovereignty for the future.

We are still amazed at how this simple gathering has become a celebration of family, friends, and culture!

Here are some highlights from Nourish 2021:

  • Heard beautiful poems by Dr. Antonia Alvarez,
  • Heard heartfelt stories from our wonderful partner farmers Elizabeth Martin and Letty Bisco,
  • Met the GSS/P team and board,
  • Gathered around for traditional dancing,
  • And raised nearly $20,000 to support our on-going work!

Once again, thank you for your support, and see you again next year!
Posner Center Symposium 2021: A Recap
by Anjanette Wilson
(GSS Graduate Fellow)
I am so grateful to have attended the Posner Center’s 2021 Symposium Shifting Power: Diversity To Decolonization. I gained an immense amount of knowledge that has taught me more about shifting power, decolonization, and anti-racism in global development.

As a Global Seed Savers Fellow and an MEM Graduate Student at Western Colorado University, I plan to implement the significant teachings from the Posner Center’s Symposium into the work I do in global development and environmental management. 

This year’s symposium had impactful workshops, expert speakers, and engaging sessions like: Storytelling As An Act Of Justice; Building A New Paradigm For Equity In International Development; US Colonialism, Environmental Justice and Indigenous Peoples. Also, Karen Lee Hizola our Philippines Executive Director shared a powerful session entitled, " Journey Into the Center of the Colonized Mind." You can view this talk here.

My experience with the Posner Symposium has shifted my mindset and I hope to keep challenging myself as I work in international development. 
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