Relative freedoms in more-than-human practice: the case of seed saving (14745)
This paper contributes to recent literature on more-than-human relations and vital materialism by closely attending the dynamics of seed-people encounters, with particular focus on seed saving as passionate, everyday practice. Contemporary seed saving is increasingly constrained by a corporate seed regime involving commodification, privatisation, and technologisation; and yet, seed saving persists – even resurges. Drawing upon ethnographic and survey work undertaken in Canada, this paper explores the meanings of freedom articulated about and enacted through seed saving. Building upon Haraway’s (2008) concept of ‘degrees of freedom’, the shifting relations of power within seed saving are elaborated through examination of two sets of relations: first, those between seeds and savers; and second, between savers and broader seed systems. These sets of relations disclose some of the ways in which freedom is distributed and seed saving shifts, even transforms, its participants and agrifood systems. Final consideration goes to what these insights might offer to thinking through questions of more-than-human freedoms and agencies.