Afrodescendant Seed Infrastructures: From Dispossession to Reparatory Justice

  • Wilson, M. (Invited speaker)
  • Sylvia Mitchell (Contributor)
  • Patricia Northover (Contributor)
  • Talia Esnard (Contributor)
  • Hugh Johnson (Contributor)

Activity: Academic talk or presentation typesInvited talk


For centuries, Afrodescendant farmers in the Americas have adapted to economic and environmental stresses by conserving and sharing agrobiodiverse seeds. Yet from the early colonial period, registries of botanical material in the Americas were created by the colonial scientist, who received all the credit and whose primary interest was in economically-valuable species, which were taken and archived elsewhere. Spatial, material and technological infrastructures of Caribbean plant genetic resources for agriculture (PGRFA) continue to be highly influenced by, and housed in, former colonial nations and countries outside of the Caribbean, with little direct access by West Indian scientists and farmers. Afrodescendant seed savers continue to be marginalised and dispossessed, excluded from access and benefits sharing of PGRFA while grappling with climate change pressures. It is time for this situation to be rectified, and in a way that includes Afrodescendant majorities (scientists and farmers) in PGRFA information gathering, storage, use, and benefits. In this brief talk we will: 1) explain how (post)colonial seed infrastructures for accessing, curating and sharing information about Caribbean PGRFA have contributed to racialized processes of marginalisation and dispossession; 2) explore whether and how digital tools such as story maps can be used to develop anti-racist seed infrastructures with and for Afrodescendant farmers.
Period30 Mar 2021
Event titleRacial Infrastructures
Event typeWorkshop
Degree of RecognitionNational