About the 2024 San Diego Seed Farmer Training
The San Diego Seed Farmer Training in 2024 is designed to empower farmers from BIPOC communities in the San Diego bioregion with the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to become successful seed farmers and seed stewards. The program runs from January 2024 to December 2024.
This training is a program of the Milpa Initiative. A goal of the Milpa Initiative is to form the Seed Stewards of San Diego to cultivate regional seed sovereignty that is essential for ensuring food security, ecological sustainability, and cultural preservation. We hope that through this training we begin to cultivate regional seed experts that will create a more robust, resilient, and collaborative seed landscape.
*All classes and materials will be in English. We acknowledge that there is a language barrier to access this program. Our goal is to cultivate regional experts representative of our communities so that future programming can be more inclusive.
Eight monthly virtual meetings (January - December)
Participants will engage in monthly meetings, creating a safe, supportive, and collaborative online learning environment. These meetings will feature expert guest speakers, discussions, and interactive workshops on various aspects of seed farming, practices, crop selection, pest management, seed processing, seed drying, and storage.
Four in-person meetings (Quarterly)
To complement virtual learning, participants will come together for four in-person meetings held quarterly at strategically selected locations in our San Diego bioregion. These gathers will offer hands-on training, fieldwork, and networking opportunities, allowing participants to deepen their practical skills and build strong relationships with fellow cohort members.
On-farm site visit
The program includes a site visit where the group will come out to your farm, in addition to our monthly trainings. Farm hosts receive a stipend for their time hosting. Attendance of these site visits for other participants are optional.
Access to seed equipment and seeds
Participants will have access to seeds and essential seed farming equipment, ensuring
they have the tools they need to start or expand their seed farming endeavors. Equipment access will be provided through partnerships with local organizations or through a shared equipment library.
Recognizing the financial barriers that many farmers face, the program offers monthly stipends to all participants. These stipends are intended to offset some of the costs associated with participation such as using cash crop growing space for seed growing, internet access, travel expenses, and any other materials.
Monthly Seed Grow-Out Stipend: $250
For each Zoom training (8 sessions): $150
In-person training (4 sessions): $250
On-farm site visit for host: $150
Who Should Apply
Currently farming in San Diego County
At least 2 years experience farming (Please note that this program is meant for experienced farmers and is not a beginning farmer program.)
Access to land with permission to grow crop out for full season.
*If you do not meet all of these expectations but would still like to join, please write to us to let us know.
How to Apply
Please complete the following steps to apply:
Complete application here.
Fill out the Seed Library Needs Assessment here.
Wait to hear from us! Reach out to us directly if you have any questions.
*Both the application and the seed library assessment must be completed in order to be considered for this seed training program.
Notification to applicants.
First Zoom meeting
About the Facilitators
Cathryn “Cat” Henning is a farmer focused on farming systems that regenerate the soil. She worked in nonprofit farming for 9 years connecting folks to the land and empowering volunteers with the skills and information to participate in a healthy food system. Now she co-owns BeeWorthy Farms, a farm growing cut flowers and medicinal herbs for people and pollinators! Cat has embraced becoming a business owner and is enjoying learning when to follow and when to lead with her business partners. It truly is a beautiful process when we learn to let go of control and allow things to unfold with grace and ease.
She is a mother, a farmer, and a field biologist interested in how we can acknowledge and increase our collective intimacy with plants. She is the founder and director of Botanical Community Development Initiatives (BCDI). She has been feeling called in recent years to focus more of her work on seed stewarship. She has been actively learning from and building relationships with seeds for over a decade in the gardens, farms and the natural areas she has been involved with and with each season she is humbled to continue to build upon her knowledge and skills to hopefully become a better seed steward for and with her community. The Milpa Initiative was born from the thoughtful heartwork through working with seeds and through many conversations with friends and teachers to be able to explore, cultivate, and protect our relationships with seeds while building sovereignty for our communities.
This program is funded by the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency's Public Health Services and facilitated by the San Diego Foundation.