WHO WE ARE
Seed the Commons, formerly known as Millahcayotl, is a San Francisco-based organization that works to create sustainable and just food systems that are independent of animal exploitation. It was founded in 2009 by a couple of long-time social justice activists who believed that to address the root causes of injustice, human rights abuses and environmental degradation, we need to look at our food systems. They also wanted to participate in the growing food movement without compromising their animal liberation ethics.
The takeover of our food systems by large conglomerates is harmful to farmers, workers and eaters, and is central to many of today’s pressing social justice and environmental issues. Our goal is to decrease dependence on and participation in the global corporate food complex by promoting small-scale, decentralized alternatives that are healthy and just for producers, eaters and communities as a whole. We integrate an animal liberation perspective and uphold models that are not reliant on animals for food or labor.
Why Seed the Commons? Our food system is our common good that it is being usurped by a small number of large corporations. Seeds and land are the foundations of our food systems and their takeover is often the first step of the integration of local food systems into a vertically integrated corporate structure, with myriad issues stemming from this, including forced rural displacement, junkification of foods, and environmental degradation. In the face of corporate greed, we aim to defend and reclaim our collective right: our land, our seeds, our food systems. Let’s take back our streets and fields, rewild our public spaces, grow food locally, and defend the common heritage of our seeds!
Millahcayotl comes from the Nahuatl words milpa and yotl and can be translated as “the way of the milpa”. Milpas are a traditional form of Mesoamerican agriculture in which corn, beans and squash are cultivated in an integrated manner. For us, the word millahcayotl represents a holistic approach of food production and consumption and an understanding of the relation between agriculture and environment, food and community, and the importance of the acts of growing food and feeding oneself and others as tools of social and environmental action. It’s also a reminder that agriculture does not require animal exploitation.