Following an initiative last March by the Traditional Native American 
Farmers' Association and others, Santa Fe County, NM has passed a 
landmark "Declaration of Seed Sovereignty," addressing GMO 
contamination in context of the specific threats it poses to 
indigenous agricultures.  More information is available at 

Whereas, our ability to grow food is the culmination of countless 
generations of sowing and harvesting seeds and those seeds are the 
continuation of an unbroken line from our ancestors to us and to our 
children and grandchildren.

Whereas, our ancestors developed a relationship with plants that 
allowed their cultivation for food and medicine and this has been a 
central element of our culture and our survival for millennia in 
regions throughout the world.

Whereas, the concurrent development of cultures of Eurasia, Africa, 
and the Americas resulted in a plethora of food and crop types 
including grains such as maize and wheat; legumes such as beans and 
lentils; fruits such as squash and chile; vegetables such as spinach 
and those of the cabbage family; and roots such as potatoes and turnips.

Whereas these foods and crops, though developed independently of each 
other, came together in New Mexico with the meeting of Spanish, 
Mexican, and Native American cultures to create a unique and diverse 
indigenous agricultural system and land-based culture.

Whereas, just as our families are attached to our homes, our seeds 
learn to thrive in their place of cultivation by developing a 
relationship with the soil, water, agricultural practices, 
ceremonies, and prayers; thereby giving seeds a sacred place in our 
families and communities.

Whereas, the way in which seeds become attached to a place makes them 
native seeds, also known as landraces, also makes them an important 
element of the generational memory of our communities.

Whereas the continued nurturing of native seeds or landraces has 
provided the basis for the community coming together for communal 
work such as cleaning acequias and preparing fields as well as in 
ceremony, prayers, and blessings; thereby binding our communities, 
traditions, and cultures together.

Whereas the practices embodied in working the land and water and 
caring for seeds provides the basis for our respectful connection to 
the Earth and with each other.

Whereas, our practices in caring for native seeds (landraces) and 
growing crops provide for much of our traditional diet and results in 
our ability to feed ourselves with healthy food that is culturally 
and spiritually significant.

Whereas, clean air, soil, water and landscapes have been essential 
elements in the development and nurturing of seeds as well as the 
harvesting of wild plants; and that these elements of air, land, and 
water have been contaminated to certain degrees.

Whereas corporate seed industries have created a technology that 
takes the genetic material from a foreign species and inserts it into 
a landrace and is known as Genetically Engineered (GE) or transgenic crops.

Whereas seed corporations patent the seeds, genetics, and/or the 
processes used in the manipulation of landraces, and have gone so far 
as to patent other wild plants or the properties contained in the plants.

Whereas GE crops have escaped into the environment with maize in 
Oaxaca, Mexico and canola in Canada and crossed into native seeds and 
wild plants.

Whereas organic farmers have been sued by seed corporations when 
these patented genetic strains have been identified in the farmers' 
crops, even though the farmers were unable to see or stop pollen from 
genetically engineered crops from blowing over the landscape and into 
their fields, thus contaminating the farmers' crops.

Whereas the effect of this technology on the environment or human 
health when consumed is not fully understood.

Whereas the seed industry refuses to label GE seeds and food products 
containing GE ingredients.

Whereas the pervasiveness of GE crops in our area cannot then be 
fully known due to the lack of labeling and therefore carries the 
potential for genetic pollution on our landraces.

Whereas countries such as Japan, England, and countries in Africa 
have refused genetically modified foods and prohibit the introduction 
of GE crops on their lands because of their unknown health effects.

Whereas indigenous cultures around the world are the originators, 
developers, and owners of the original genetic material used in the 
genetic modification of crops by corporations today.

Whereas this declaration must be a living, adaptable document that 
can be amended as needed in response to rapidly changing GE 
technology that brings about other potential assaults to seeds and our culture.

Now therefore be it resolved, that the Board of County Commissioners 
of Santa Fe County supports the following:

* The traditional farmers of Indo-Hispano and Native American 
ancestry of current-day northern New Mexico collectively and 
intentionally seek to continue the seed-saving traditions of our 
ancestors and maintain the landraces that are indigenous to the 
region of northern New Mexico.

* Seek to engage youth in the continuation of the traditions of 
growing traditional foods, sharing scarce water resources, sharing 
seeds, and celebrating our harvests.

* Reject the validity of corporations' ownership claims to crops and 
wild plants that belong to our cultural history and identity.

* Object to the seed industry's refusal to label seeds or products 
containing GE technology and ingredients and demand all genetically 
modified seeds and foods containing GE ingredients in the State of 
New Mexico to be labeled as such.

* Object to the cultivation of GE seeds in general but especially 
within range of our traditional agricultural systems that can lead to 
the contamination of our seeds, wild plants, traditional foods, and 
cultural property.

* We will work with each other, local, tribal, and state governments 
to create zones that will be free of genetically modified organisms 
(GMOs) and GE technology.

* We will also work together to address other environmental abuses 
that contaminate our air, soil and water quality that certainly 
affects our health, the health of our seeds and agriculture, and the 
health of future generations.

* We will work together with the traditional farmers representing 
various acequia, Pueblo, tribal and surrounding communities to 
create, support, and collaborate toward projects and programs focused 
on revitalization of food traditions, agriculture, and seed saving and sharing.

Passed, approved and adopted this 30th day of January, 2007
Board of County Commissioners

Virginia Vigil, Chair
Valerie Espinoza, Santa Fe County Clerk
Stephen C. Ross, Santa Fe County Attorney