Melony Edwards is Organic Seed Alliance’s Northwest research, education, & outreach assistant, supporting the research team in developing opportunities in the seed industry for the Latinx and Black farming community. Melony is a first-generation farmer whose ancestors traveled north after emancipation in the journey known as the Great Migration for a better life away from the fields of sorrow that they had grown to know. After completing degrees in culinary arts and hospitality, and working in all facets of foodservice, she began wondering, “Where does our food come from? And why are there no visible Black farmers at the local farmers market?” Melony found that gaining access to entry-level farming training in the rural landscape was exclusive, but she was determined to learn agricultural skills outside of her urban setting. Her journey of reclaiming farming landed her on a 20-acre mixed vegetable farm on rural Whidbey Island where she immersed herself in small-scale agricultural practices. There, Melony spent three years advancing to farm manager. Now her farming adventures continue as she pursues her own farm vision in launching Ebony By Nature, a fiber farm, and extending her knowledge in seed growing and saving.
Cathleen McCluskey is the outreach director at Organic Seed Alliance. Cathleen supports OSA communications, and coordination of regional and national outreach efforts, and is the chair of the biennial Organic Seed Growers Conference.