seed keeping at the intersection of historical literacy and science education



Jacqueline Pilati is an urban farmer, teacher, and seed keeper. She is a Professional Development Instructor at the New York Botanical Garden and Adjunct Instructor at Bank Street College of Education where she leads teacher institutes and courses in garden-based learning and experiential science investigations. She has taught in general and special education settings throughout NYC and Sonora, Mexico. During her tenure in the nonprofit space, she developed and led childhood, youth, and adult programming around urban ecology and agriculture, scientific inquiry, food justice. In 2018, she founded Reclaim Seed NYC, an urban seed initiative rooted in education and community. The project stewards a community-sustained seed library, while educating and organizing for seed justice and food sovereignty. Reclaim Seed NYC reconnects people to plants and places through historical literacy, food, and seed. You can follow her work on Instagram @concrete_and_compost and @reclaimseednyc

Research interests include: participatory plant breeding, foodways of the African diaspora, Taíno and Sicilian foodways, informal science education, repairing relationships to land for BIPOC community, community action research, seed justice and food sovereignty, historical literacy, citizen science projects



Science Education. Professional Learning for Educators. Seed keeping.



Dissect flower structures to better understand pollination and fertilization, close observations of seed parts, how to save seed from wet- and dry-fruited crops, cleaning seeds for storing and sharing


Explore seed saving for food sovereignty, as celebration of cultural and collective identity, and necessary in a changing climate. Participate in a local network of growers coming together to preserve our heirloom seeds and their stories while regionally adapting open-pollinated varieties for a changing climate by starting a community seed initiative.


Customized professional development opportunities for classroom teachers and informal educators around school gardening, curriculum development, social justice, ecology, seedkeeping, and ethnobotany.


Topics include historical foodways of New York City and Long Island, ethnobotany, engaging young people in outdoor learning spaces, history of seed consolidation and control, celebrating the rich histories of BIPOC in our food system

Interested in bringing these experiences to your school, community garden, college campus? Please be in touch.


Upcoming Events
Reclaim Seed NYC: Urban Seed Stewardship Training
Wed, Apr 29
Apr 29, 6:00 PM – Oct 15, 8:30 PM
GreenThumb, 100 Gold St, New York, NY 10038, USA
a seed to seed training for NYC growers
Ethnobotany for Educators: Plants & People
Mon, Apr 13
New York Botanical Garden
Apr 13, 9:00 AM – Apr 18, 5:00 PM
New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Blvd, The Bronx, NY 10458, USA
For centuries, people across the world have used plants for purposes that aid in human survival. Become “Ethnobotany Explorers” and deepen understandings about ways plants factor into cultural history, scientific discovery, and technological innovation.
Seed Justice, Culture, and Community track at Greenthumb GrowTogether
Sat, Apr 04
CUNY Graduate Center
Apr 04, 9:00 AM – Apr 05, 2:15 PM
CUNY Graduate Center, 365 5th Ave, New York, NY 10016, USA
Reclaim Seed NYC & Truelove Seeds @seedkeeping are partnering with Greenthumb for a first ever Seed Justice, Culture, and Community Track at the annual Grow Together Conference! Two days of seed stories, swapping, panels, and workshops! Check @greenthumbgrows for details.
School Gardening 101 @ NYBG
Sun, Mar 29
New York Botanical Garden
Mar 29, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Blvd, The Bronx, NY 10458, USA
This course is for classroom teachers and any educator interested in learning how to build and program an educational garden for student learning.
Seedkeeping Workshop @ Beds & Breakfast Winter Seminar
Sat, Feb 29
32 Prince St
Feb 29, 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM
32 Prince St, 32 Prince St, Newark, NJ 07103, USA
Indulge in a specialty breakfast before jumping into a day of gardening seminars to wash away the winter blues. Topics include gardening, nutrition, birds in the city, fermentation, native plants, herbalism, seed saving, and more. This popular event fills up quickly, so be sure to register early!
Seed Ethics Participatory Intensive @ 2020 Organic Seed Growers Conference
Wed, Feb 12
CH2M HILL Alumni Center
Feb 12, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
CH2M HILL Alumni Center, CH2M HILL Alumni Center, 725 SW 26th St, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
A daylong pre-conference intensive that will inspire, challenge, and practice allyship among all present. This is being offered free of charge.
2019 Young Farmers Conference
Thu, Dec 05
Stone Barns Center for Food & Agricultur
Dec 05, 2019, 1:45 PM – 3:15 PM
Stone Barns Center for Food & Agricultur, 630 Bedford Rd, Tarrytown, NY 10591, USA
The Role of Seeds in Regenerative Farming
Seed Ethics Panel @ MOFAD
Thu, Nov 28
Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD) Lab
Nov 28, 2019, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD) Lab, 62 Bayard St, Brooklyn, NY 11222, USA
Panel discussion about seed ethics
Seed & Story Swap @ Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group
Thu, Nov 07
New Jersey City University
Nov 07, 2019, 2:00 PM – 5:30 PM
New Jersey City University, 2039 John F. Kennedy Blvd, Jersey City, NJ 07305, USA
Join us for a seed and story swap at the 2019 NESAWG Conference. Bring open-pollinated seeds to share.
Seed Saving Workshop at BQLT Celebration of Gardens
Sat, Nov 02
Brooklyn Job Corps
Nov 02, 2019, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Brooklyn Job Corps, 585 Dekalb Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11205, USA
A Hands-on Seed Saving Workshop
Seed Saving Towards a Just Food System
Fri, Nov 01
Montclair State University
Nov 01, 2019, 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Montclair State University, 1 Normal Ave, Montclair, NJ 07043, USA
Hands-on Seed Saving Workshop & Conversation about Seed and Food Sovereignty Movements
Seedkeeping Workshop @ King Manor
Sat, Oct 12
King Manor Museum
Oct 12, 2019, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM EDT
King Manor Museum, 150-03 Jamaica Ave, Jamaica, NY 11432, USA
Join us for a hands-on seedkeeping workshop at the King Manor Museum's Fall Festival

©2019 by Jacqueline Pilati