Seeds of Reconciliation: Seed Sovereignty as a Form of Reparation for Victims of War in Colombia

Juan Manuel Vélez : Geography, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Society & Environment major, Global Poverty & Practice and Food Systems minor

Mentor: Jake Kosek, Geography

Juan Manuel’s research seeks to understand how Colombian farmers have politicized their relationship with seeds. Some farmers consider recent state policies restricting seed-saving and seed-trading as a form of dispossession. Such policies have politicized their relationship with seeds regarding their control and preservation to protect their livelihoods, their cultural identities and their territories. By interviewing farmers and experts in Colombia this summer, Juan hopes to understand the implications of state policies regarding seeds for farmers and the tensions between the positions of farmers and the government, and locate the possible spaces for articulation and compromise. He wants to propose a political framework that works to protect the seed sovereignty of farmers as a form of reparation for farming communities and of restorative justice that can create possible spaces of reconciliation.