What would your work look like, feel like, give rise to... if it were an embodied prayer?
Rowen and I explored this question through her story about how she came to her livelihood path.
Rowen is a Seed Keeper and farmer from the Mohawk community of Akwesasne and a passionate activist for indigenous seed and food sovereignty.
A full bio is included below, with links to her programs and free offerings.
I consider Rowen’s work to be one of the threading lights guiding us towards what she describes as “more equitable and beautiful relational, kincentric food system that centers around a deep sense of belonging and connection.”
I first encountered Rowen’s work through the Permaculture Women's Guild where we both have taught as instructors, and have followed Rowen's writing since then. It is profoundly educational and paradigm-shifting, weaving stories that convey a deep reverence, whether she writes about her work with seeds and living systems, or as a mother and community member, or as an Indigenous woman living in a time when the machinations of colonization and capitalism have led humanity to the edge. Rowen’s practice of “embodied prayer” can illuminate for many of us how we can reclaim and revitalize the meaning of our work.
One key thread we wove into our conversation is:
How can our Work can be imbued with reverence and caring, and be co-evolutionary for ourselves, our communities, our Lifesheds? And how does all this fit into these threshold times in history?
Enjoy the replay, and, as always, I/we would love to hear what this sparks for you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, message me on Instagram @regenepreneurs or find me on FB.
is the director and founder of Sierra Seeds, an organic seed stewardship organization focusing on local seed and education, based in Nevada City CA.
Rowen is on sabbatical from her position as the National Project Coordinator and advisor for the Indigenous Seed Keeper Network, which is an initiative of the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance, a non-profit organization aimed at leveraging resources to support tribal food sovereignty projects. The mission of the Indigenous Seed Keepers Network is to nourish and assist the growing Seed Sovereignty Movement across Turtle Island. Rowen serves as chair of the board for Seed Savers Exchange, one of the largest national public access seed banks in the US.
Rowen’s passion is in teaching and mentoring, and has developed many curricula which focus on holistic, indigenous permaculture based approach to seed stewardship which honors the many layers of seed culture; from practical hands on skills, cultural context and memory with guiding principles that are rooted in an indigenous ecology of relations.
She teaches and facilitates creative seed stewardship immersions around the country within tribal and small farming communities, as well as offering an online distance learning seasonal mentorship called Seed Seva. She weaves stories of seeds, food, culture and sacred Earth stewardship on her blog, Seed Songs. She also mentioned her "Seeding Change" program. As a Patreon supporter, you will receive full access to her past and recent writings.
You can also follow her micro essays on Instagram @rowenwhite
Prentiss Hemphill's "Finding Our Way" interview with Rowen
Resources that were mentioned in our conversation
Look to the Mountain: An Ecology of Indigenous Education, by Gregory Cajete
Doreen Day, and "Seed Songs," or being a Seed Midwife: “Come in your own time.”
Margaret Wheatley, The Servant Leader: From Hero to Host (I'm a big fan of Margaret Wheatley's also! There are lots of other great books and articles by her about leadership - in complex systems at this time - on her website).