Reflecting on Decoloniality and Justice in Latin American Seed System Transformations
In the smallest of seeds, worldviews collide and futures are contested. Over the last century, seeds have transitioned from deeply rooted commons to a commodity subject to intellectual property rights, standards, and legislation. In recent decades, these instruments have been imposed upon ‘developing’ nations as part of trade partnership agreements further marginalising the Global South(s)’ traditional practices of seed production, saving, and sharing. In Latin America, ‘Seed Guardian Networks’ (connecting rural indigenous, Afro-Latino, peasant communities and others) resist the expansion of monocultures and the (mono)culture they bear by defending seed/food autonomy and sovereignty. These decentralised, place-based and trans-local coalitions are committed to safeguarding landrace seeds. However, their acts of innovative re-existence, visions and designs may not be able to stop the overwhelming impositions of the One-World World. Being in transmodernity demands an acknowledgement of the ongoing co-existence of non-Modern and (Post)Modern worldviews, challenging the colonial understanding of history as a linear trajectory from the ‘primitive’ towards an Euro-centred endpoint. Recent developments in Latin American seed systems point to a renewed recognition and inclusion of non-Modern, peri-capitalist regimes. This may kickstart a transmodern transition pathway with horizontal inter-cultural dialogue and epistemic justice at its core.
Sustainability transition; Transformation; Transmodern; Seed systems
Juan Garzon is Colombian, upper middle-class, mestizo, cisgender heterosexual male, spiritual but not religious. Juan has been working for nearly a decade in socio-spatial design and design for social innovation in Colombia. He has worked in the public and private sectors supporting community development processes, and in education advocating for the power of design in transformation. Juan is currently a PhD candidate at the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney and is researching transitions towards just and sustainable bio-centric futures.