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Southern Seed Legacy (SSL) was founded in 1996 under the directorship of Dr. Robert E. Rhoades and Dr. Virginia D. Nazarea. Since then SSL has been fortunate in receiving tremendous support from the USDA and member contributions. Many individuals have given time and energy to make SSL successful (see Today's team)
Dr. Robert Rhoades and Dr. Virgina Nazarea
Rhoades was born on a farm in Oklahoma in the 1940s and never quite got the red dirt out from under his fingernails. After a long career in international agriculture, he returned to the US as Professor of Anthropology and Head of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Georgia. He is the founding Executive Director of the Agrarian Connections, a non-profit educational and research organization working toward the preservation of rural landscapes and lifeways. The organization is presently restoring a 312 acre degraded cotton farm in the Georgia Piedmont , including the historical farm structures representing four time periods from pre-European down to the present.
Dr. Virginia Nazarea, Co-Director of SSL and the director of the Ethnoecology/Biodiversity Laboratory of Department of Anthropology at UGA. She is a native of the Philippines. She has an international reputation in plant genetic resources and is the author of 4 acclaimed books on the topic.
Jim Veteto is currently a PhD student here at The University of Georgia in Ecological and Environmental Anthropology. He has an M.A. from Appalachian State University in Appalachian Studies/Sustainable Development, where he did research into traditional southern Appalachian crop biodiversity. His thesis was entitled, “The History and Survival of Traditional Heirloom Vegetable Varieties and Strategies for the Conservation of Crop Biodiversity in the Southern Appalachian Mountains of Western North Carolina.” He earned his B.A. at UGA in Anthropology/English/Environmental Ethics, where he was inspired by the work of the Southern Seed Legacy to begin heirloom gardening and farming, and he has been an organic gardener/farmer for the past ten years. He spent three years as the Head Gardener at The Arthur Morgan School and one year as the Head Gardener at Mountain Gardens, both in Celo, North Carolina; and was a graduate assistant and farm manager at the Appalachian State University Sustainable Development Teaching and Research Farm in Valle Crucis, North Carolina for two years. His academic interests include Ecological/Environmental Anthropology, Agricultural Anthropology, Ethnoecology, Plant Genetic Resources, Agroecology, Sustainable Development, Origins of Agriculture, Plant Domestication, Crop Biogeography, Southern Appalachia, China, Southeastern United States. He is currently doing research on Chinese immigrant homegardens in the United States.
Susannah spent the last year working on an organic fruit farm and homestead in northern California. It was there that she developed her passion for fruit trees and homesteading, a love that she carries to her work with the Southern Seed Legacy, the Southern Heritage Orchard Project and the Agrarian Connections Farm. Recently, she just helped research, plan and plant a hundred tree heritage apple orchard at the Agrarian Connections farm. Currently, she works in the Ethnoecology/Biodiversity Laboratory at the University of Georgia. She will be starting the Anthropology Ph.D. program at UGA in August of 2006, where she will study the relationship between agricultural diversity and cultural knowledge systems.
Having came to age in the sprawling suburbs of Atlanta, Tad Brown sought refuge among the mountains. The tutelage of many teachers brought him to study wild plants and animals, survival, trapping, and your basic hiway scuffle. Due to the conditions of our times, the life of farming acquired appeal. He has lived on two homesteads, and worked on three farms. With a degree in History from UGA, Tad joins the workforce of Agrarian Connections to apply his knowledge of nature and history on the farm’s acreage.
Shiloh is a PhD student in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Georgia . He received a double BA from Radford University in Spanish and Anthropology in 1999. Shortly thereafter he continued to pursue his interests in anthropology at the University of Maryland at College Park where he received a Master's of Applied Anthropology focusing on Human Biology and Human/Plant interactions.
Having grown up on an organic farm in the rural mountains of Virginia he has a special interest in agriculture. When he was fifteen years old he volunteered on an experimental farm in South Africa along side the AmaXhosa people. This early experience abroad was fundamental to Shiloh 's pursuit of the study of human diversity. He has also spent over three years in Latin America studying and working. Before entering the program at The University of Georgia he worked on the USAID funded SANREM (Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resource Management) project in the Highlands of Ecuador as the Project Coordinator and On-site Research Manager. His research looks at urban agriculture as a mechanism for community building in the states and for increasing food security in the global arena. Other interests include human migration, visual anthropology and the use of appropriate technology.
Danila was born in Peru but grew up on a ranch in Oregon. She presently studies horticulture a the University of Georgia and helps run the Agrarian Connections Farm. her dog's name is Heidi and her horse is Jack.
Milan provides technical support, mainly web design and maintenance, to the project..