The harvest is in, and the seed banks are full.
Each seed bank stored approximately 5,000 kilograms of non-GMO, heirloom varieties of corn, beans, squash, and other vegetables for Tarahumara communities of approximately 500 people. The seed banks are located at the top and the bottom of the deepest canyons on the continent to provide climate-specific, regionally adapted seed cultivars for Tarahumara communities.
Seed farms grew drought-tolerant, regionally adapted varieties of corn. Goats were free-range pastured and fenced nearby. Soil fertility was improved through crop rotation, cover crops, and manure from goat herds.
Water from springs was gravity fed to seed farms using plastic water hoses and stored in reservoirs on site.
Seeds are now stored in central community double-wall adobe storage facilities. A percentage of the seeds —determined by community leaders—are distributed annually at traditional running festivals, called rarajpari and ariweta, organized by local leaders with oversight from Barefoot Seeds.
Now that the seed banks are established, they will support themselves in perpetuity. We have trained community leaders to manage the seed banks, and they have the seeds, water, and land to continue growouts. All that is required is labor and organization.
After a decade of visiting with Tarahumara communities, their two biggest requests are for water and seed. They now have both. They want self-sovereignty and self-sufficiency through control of seeds and water, which provide them with the means to grow food and sustain their communities.