Seed Storytelling: Growing Food as Cultural and Ecological Resilience in Asian American Communities
Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
Asian American Studies
W.M. Keck Science Department
© 2023 Kaitlyn W Chin
For many communities in the Asian American diaspora impacted by colonial legacies of the U.S., there is an understanding that healing and wellness are practiced on the community level. Practices of collective care have been found through growing and sharing nourishing food and plants, which have the ability to ground communities in their sense of home and family. This project looks historically at Asian American relationships to settler colonialism and agricultural labor, and then turns to how small-scale Asian American farmers and Asian immigrant gardeners are practicing community-based care by saving and stewarding seed varieties that are meaningful in their own contexts. These seeds preserve and represent memory, identity, and livelihood that are important for biodiversity and community health. Ultimately, seeds are keepers of culture and family histories; they have the ability to hold sacred stories that can tell us about our lineages and who we are. Cultivating diasporic Asian seeds can root down a sense of place for Asian American communities and facilitate land-based healing, as well as embed people in intergenerational relationships of care. These implications are intrinsically linked to the health of Asian American communities, as growing familiar food can bring a better understanding of self, collective commitment to one another, and the places we inhabit.
Chin, Kaitlyn, "Seed Storytelling: Growing Food as Cultural and Ecological Resilience in Asian American Communities" (2023). Scripps Senior Theses. 2064.