Sistah Seeds: Growing community and veggies for the African diaspora
Philadelphia-based farmer Amirah Mitchell started fundraising this month to launch Sistah Seeds, a small seed production farm that will focus on vegetable seeds important to the African diaspora.
- It'll also double as an educational site to teach communities how to grow and save their own seed crops.
Why it matters: "There are not a lot of Black-owned seed companies," Mitchell tells Axios. "I think it's really important for people of color to be involved in the production and distribution of our own seeds. They're the very basis of our diet and cultures."
- Black people account for just 1.4% of the country's 3.4 million agriculture producers, according to the 2017 U.S. Census of Agriculture.
Driving the news: In less than three weeks, the 28-year-old's GoFundMe page is just shy of hitting her $20,000 fundraising goal.
- "I don't have any words. I'm honored," Mitchell says about the project she's wanted to start since she was 14 years old. "I had no idea there would be so many people who would be interested in supporting my dream."
Bio in brief: Mitchell currently works at TrueLove Seeds, a Philly-based seed-production farm company, while she finishes a residency at Greensgrow Farm, where she pilots and manages a fellowship program for aspiring seed growers.
- Sistah Seeds will be Mitchell's first time running a farm.
Details: With the fundraised money, Mitchell plans to rent an acre of land to grow seeds such as okra, black-eyed peas and collard greens.
- She'll maintain and rejuvenate the land through techniques such as minimal tillage, cover cropping and composting.
- Mitchell also plans to put the money toward getting tractors, installing irrigation systems, building a drying shed, creating an emergency fund and supporting herself during the first year.
She's still on the hunt for a location but wants it to be in Pennsylvania and on an incubator farm, which are small temporary parcels of land people are given for training and launching farm businesses.
- Mitchell hopes to eventually transition to her own land.
What's next: Mitchell aims to launch Sistah Seeds next year.
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