Hank Mullins, a faculty member for nearly 30 years in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S), passed away in July at age 69. Mullins grew up in the Hudson Valley village…
Seed Sovereignty Planting, Dedication to Be Held May 14 in Pete’s Giving Garden
A Seed Sovereignty Garden planting and dedication will take place at 1 p.m. ET Friday, May 14, in Pete’s Giving Garden, located on South Campus.
The in-person ceremony is closed to invited guests, but all are welcome to watch the livestream on Zoom. Preregistration is required.
The planting and dedication are the culmination of the graduate practicum of Ethan Tyo ’17, G’21, a master’s degree student in food studies in the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics. In addition to providing fresh food for the University’s food pantries in Hendricks Chapel and on South Campus, Pete’s Giving Garden supports new ways of teaching and learning.
Tyo recognized an opportunity to grow food not only in a sustainable manner, but in a way that honors the traditions and culture of the Onondaga Nation, firekeepers of the Haudenosaunee, the Indigenous people on whose ancestral lands Syracuse University now stands.
“The ‘three sisters’–corn, beans and squash—are foundational foods that gave rise to the strength and resilience of the Haudenosaunee people. Thousands of years of traditional ecological knowledge and expertise have cultivated our relationship to the land and our survival,” says Tyo. “Returning these seeds to our ancestral lands is a step towards acknowledging that relationship and the contributions that Indigenous peoples have made throughout history.”
The dedication will focus on the May planting moon and create what is known as a traditional “Three Sisters garden,” which will incorporate the traditional seeds and methods of the Onondaga Nation using the knowledge and wisdom of the Onondaga Nation Seed Keepers.
The event will include a presentation on seed sovereignty, revitalizing Indigenous foods and the impact that climate change has on Haudenosaunee ways of being. It will also acknowledge the return of traditional seeds to the ancestral land of the Onondaga Nation, giving Haudenosaunee students the chance to learn and practice cultural revitalization while in an academic setting.
Friday’s event is a collaboration between the Onondaga Nation Seed Keepers, the Office of Engagement Programs at Hendricks Chapel, Energy Systems and Sustainability Management, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Native Student Program, the Falk College Department of Nutrition and Food Studies and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
Hendricks Chapel created a food pantry in 2013 after receiving an increase in requests from students for basic necessities, such as food and toiletries. A series of programs to provide longer-term support in service to student health and wellbeing was also developed at that time. In 2018, Hendricks Chapel collaborated with Sustainability Management to open a second food pantry in the Carriage House on South Campus.
In order to provide fresh produce for students using the food pantries, work started in 2019 on the development of a campus garden. Syeisha Byrd, director of the Office of Engagement Programs in Hendricks Chapel, led that effort alongside Sustainability Management and the Falk College Department of Nutrition and Food Studies. The garden is named in honor of Pete Sala, vice president and chief campus facilities officer.
In response to growing awareness and support, the garden was expanded in 2020 and now supplies over 450 pounds of produce for use in the food pantries. In addition, the garden includes compost bins, a pollinator garden, fruit trees and berries. Work is underway to complete accessible planting beds that will ensure that all students have access to exploring the garden.
“Pete’s Giving Garden started with the mission of growing healthy food to feed our students. Over the last three years, it has expanded into a teaching garden for our Syracuse community,” says Byrd. The ‘Three Sisters garden’ will both nourish and educate our students for years to come.”