November 2020
Global Seed Savers Newsletter
Rebuilding Anew: A Call for Heroes
A Message from Karen Lee Hizola
Philippines Executive Director
“November should already be the dry season here in the north,”

“But now, we can’t really predict when the rains come and when they end.”

Letty, a BASS farmer told me last week.  

Another typhoon (Vamco) hammered the Philippines last week, the third one in three weeks. Every year we experience about 20 storms of varying degrees. Since the devastating Typhoon Haiyan of 2013, we have developed a more coordinated disaster response.
Last weekend, Global Seed Savers became part of Climathon in Pasig City. Despite the devastation and the flooding caused by Vamco, the organizers decided to push through with the event because it became even more important to do so. There were over 200 participants, observers, coaches, speakers and organizers in the 72-hour online hackathon for the climate. The objective was to find a solution that will ensure food security for all residents of Pasig City.
Literally, no rain nor high water could stop us. Nine teams competed for the chance to win a cash prize that will go into the implementation of their designs. We did it all online. Most of the teams just met their teammates on day one. But on day three, we knew each other like lifelong friends. The event brought out the best in our bayanihan spirit. Bayanihan is the Tagalog equivalent of Aduyon. It means coming together for mutual help. But taking it further than just that, couched in the word “bayanihan” are four equally important words: bayan, which means country; ani, meaning harvest; bahay, or home and bayani, which means hero. Climathon Pasig felt like the “home” or breeding ground of climate heroes.
What happened last weekend was the start of another rebuilding. But this time, a more hopeful one. Because yes, we Filipinos are very resilient. There’s really no doubt about that. But we deserve more. And there truly is value in resilience. But it should not mean that all of us who are accountable for the changing climate can continue to behave the way we behave. Resilience should not be glorified the way that it is currently being glorified because it sends the message that it’s okay to keep on doing what we’re doing. It’s clearly not.
We deserve to have the chance to grow beyond the now annual rebuilding we do. The word resilience is not enough anymore. We deserve to have the chance to reach our brilliance. We are calling on the different countries, our government, our fellow kababayans and ourselves to start being more conscious, more considerate and to act in the spirit of bayanihan. After all, we all have it in us to be heroes.

We are grateful that none of our direct partners where heavily impacted by these recent storms. If you would like to support the direct recovery efforts from these typhoons we recommend the following organizations.

Installing household solar and disaster relief

Supporting Farmers and Fisherfolk Impacted

Youth Farmers Organization
Seed Production Expansion in Northern Cebu
GSS Cebu Program Coordinator, Harry, moved to Arapal Farm in August and has been busy since is arriving there! Arapal Farm has dedicated a 1,400 sq meter area (1/3 of an acre) for seed production with 17 plots currently being prepared for planting. This area will support the growing demand for local seeds and support the growth of our Seed Entrepreneur Program in Cebu.

We have also began conversations with the Bogo City Government about establishing a seed library at the Bogo City Hall and working with their community of farmers to bring Seed School program to the area!
Virtual Nourish Celebration Success
More than 100 guests joined us for our Virtual Nourish Celebration last month! It was a wonderful gathering of our world community to honor our partner farmers and growing work. In total we grossed over $20,000 to continue to propel our mission forward.

We so are grateful to our special guests who shared their passions and inspired us with their talents and stories! Teresa Ruelas the Founder and Executive Director of our partner, Communities for Alternative Food Ecosystems Initiative (CAFEi) shared a thoughtful keynote describing the dynamic programs they lead to ensure communities have access to fresh, healthy, and locally produced organic food and seeds.

Performance Poet Faye Olayo delivered her spoken word poetry, which included an original piece composed just for Nourish entitled, "This Land." You can hear her works shared during Nourish again here and check out her Body of Work Album here.

Special thanks to our friends at Rogue Heart Media for helping us produce the 
"I am a Seed Saver" Video below.
Thanks to our Generous Nourish Sponsors
Global Seed Summit
November 17th-November 20th
Free Online Seed Event (Register Here)
The GSS Team will be speaking on Thursday, November 19th at 3pm MST sharing our story and experience building a seed sovereignty movement across the Philippines. Learn more here and we hope you will join us for this free virtual seed event!
Interview with HBTV
The GSS/P Team was recently interviewed on HBTV with Harry Bugarin a Filipino-American based in Los Angeles. You can watch the interview here.