Since 2018, Truelove Seeds has offered apprenticeships for aspiring seed keepers, seed producers, and natural farmers. Our apprentices have a particular focus on their ancestral plants and learn through working alongside Truelove staff as we run our seed farm. In 2022, we are adding structured learning during our Friday apprenticeship sessions as well as the opportunity to fulfill the PASA Pre-Apprenticeship at our farm.
Truelove Seeds farmer and office human, fulfilling your orders, labeling and filling seed packets, and contributing to organization and management of our seed inventory & collection. Seed keeper/librarian in training, herbalist, photographer, artist, and writer. Philly born and raised, 1st generation Ecuadorian-USian and 6th generation Philadelphian-Irish. Instagram: @cryptogam_.
Maebh apprenticed in 2019 and joined staff in 2020.
Grimaldi Baez is an interdisciplinary artist, sazón brujo, and aspiring herbalist. He is inspired by the community Truelove brings together.
- Cundeamor (Smooth Bitter Melon)
- Ají Dulce
- Yanten (Broadleaf Plantain)
- Anisé Hyssop
- Recao (Culantro)
- Tulsi - seeds / dried herb
Althea Baird is a farmer, bartender, herbal medicine maker, and mom. She is learning to farm in ways that support human bodies (nervous system, digestive system, endocrine system, etc.) to connect with plant, ecosystem, and planetary frequencies and rhythms. Please contact me if you have knowledge about these things, science and magic alike! For example, botany and plant-human hormone interactions, gardening as therapy, plant-sky connections in mythology, moon viewing gardens, plant spirit medicine, etc. althea.baird[at]gmail[dot]com. Instagram: @mill.hollow.
- Crambi Maratimis aka Selchi Sea Kale
- Elmer's Blue Fingerling Potato
- Passionflower - seeds / dried herb
- Hannah Freeman Bean
Althea apprenticed for two years from 2018-2019, then worked as staff in 2020.
Chris Bolden-Newsome, originally from the Mississippi Delta, is the oldest son of farmers and justice workers Demalda Bolden Newsome and Rufus Newsome Sr., and a fourth generation free farmer since emancipation in 1865. In 2010, Chris joined Ty Holmberg in creating the Sankofa Community Farm at Bartram's Garden where Chris co-directs a three-acre crop field, orchard, and 60-bed community garden. Sankofa Farm is a spiritually rooted, African Diaspora urban-centered farm and youth development program. Following Natural Agriculture practices, Chris focuses on cultivating healthy soil for life-giving crops while learning and teaching Pan-African practices in farming and foodways. In 2012, Chris married seed farmer Owen Smith Taylor with whom he co-founded the cultural preservation and rematriation focused seed company Truelove Seeds.
Kai Delgado Pfeifer
Kai Delgado Pfeifer was born and raised in Jersey City, NJ. Their ancestors' roots spread to the Philippines, China, Ireland, and Lithuania. Kai's dream is to create healing and liberation between the earth and our communities, especially the children who will inherit the land. This year they are stewarding medicinal ancestral foods and herbs from the Philippines. In the future, they hope to build a seed collection of medicinal plants from their ancestral lineages as a path towards personal and collective healing with the land.
Tika Jagad is an educator, aspiring land steward, and home cook from NJ. She is inspired by community care and collectivity.
Zoe is finding it hard to put into words how important seeds are to her. Over the past few years, they have become some of her closest family members and biggest teachers. She spends so much time growing Polish and German heirlooms that she didn't know who Gumby was until 2018. Even though her time in Philly has come to a close, she knows her seedkeeping work and relationship to Truelove will be lifelong. Instagram: @zoejeka.
Zoe apprenticed from 2018-2019. In 2020, Zoe began growing for the Truelove Seeds catalogue (see Zoe Jeka & Wren Lansky).
Rachel "Rocky" Jessie
Rocky is a Philadelphia native who is passionate about ecology, regenerative agriculture and sustainable systems. This is her first year as a seed keeping apprentice and she's excited to learn more about soil and the varied conditions needed for seeds to grow successfully.
- Coming soon!
Christian Brooks Keeve
Chris is a geographer who likes to write about the things people may or may not do with seeds and the things that seeds may or may not do on their own. Instagram: @c.keeve.
Sarah Kim is an artist, critic, and arts organizer raised in Los Angeles and based in West Philadelphia for the last six years.
- 38N Kkaennip (Korean Perilla)
- Greater Burdock
- Tithonia (Mexican Sunflower)
- Transylvanian Giant Sunflower
- Lemon Balm
- Quillquiña (Bolivian Coriander)
Sarah apprenticed in 2020 and joined staff in 2021.
Tania María Ríos Marrero
Tania María Ríos Marrero is an herbal medicine maker, sporadic writer, aspiring farmer and librarian-in-training. This year she is growing ajíes dulces with her partner for the Truelove Seeds catalog. She is grateful to be learning and deepening her relationship to Puerto Rican foodways and medicine traditions through this seed keeping project. She is an apprentice at Truelove and is humbled by the community and the knowledge that is shared there. Instagram: @nochecita_.
Amirah Mitchell has been working in agriculture and the food movement for over a dozen years, initially as a teen farm intern, team leader and board member at The Food Project in Boston, MA. She has since worked on urban farms in Massachusetts, Georgia and Pennsylvania, and delivers various agroecology workshops, including agroforestry, soil ecology, urban gardening, seed-keeping and more. Amirah is a practicing seed keeper of over two years, focusing on food crops of the African diaspora. Currently she is studying horticulture at Temple University and is spending her third season working at Truelove Seeds. Instagram: @sistahseeds.
- Green Striped Cushaw Squash
- Besobela (Ethiopian Basil)
- Hill Country Red Okra
- Bambara Groundnuts Mix
- Sea Island Red Pea
- Cypriot Amaranth
- Risser Sickle Pea
- Green Glaze Collards
Amirah apprenticed from 2018-2019, became staff in 2020, and left in winter 2022 to work on her own seed company, Sistah Seeds.
ZM/Zainab Muhammad is a Newark, NJ native, student of the land and second year seedkeeping apprentice at Truelove seeds. They are building new relationships with crops and seeds of the African diaspora, and nurturing their relationship with familiar Black southern ancestral plants.
- Watermelon - Georgia Rattlesnake / Osh Kirgizia / Polish
- Holstein Southern Pea
- Spilanthes - Lemon Drop / Bullseye
- Tulsi - Kapoor / Vana
Zainab apprenticed in 2020 and joined staff in 2021.
Luz Maria Orozco
Luz Maria Orozco (they/them) is currently based out of so-called Baltimore City. My journey with plant medicine begins with my ancestral lineage from the so-called Andean region of Colombia. Community care & mutual aid is the driving force of my herbalism practice.
Jesper is originally from Vermont and is currently studying environmental justice at Swarthmore College. They are a student/artist/musician/jack-of-all-trades who is relatively new to the food justice movement, but loves working in the dirt and learning about sustainable farming practices.
Kofi Sankofa grew up in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. He joined the military service in 2009 and deployed to Afghanistan. He has been farming for the past 5 years at various farms in California and Pennsylvania. Kofi has completed the 2 year DVA apprenticeship program with PASA under the mentorship of New Morning Farm and Tooth of the Lion Farm and Apothecary. Kofi has aspirations of starting his own project and farm business growing herbs, making teas, tinctures and smoke blends to help support fellow soldiers working through problems with stress, anxiety, depression and insomnia. Instagram: @san247365.
Sam volunteered with us in 2021 and this year is learning and growing with us as an apprentice. He's looking forward to meeting knew seeds and, more specifically, "meeting the whole plant" as he recalls the Truelove team saying often on the farm. He and his teammates, Gabe and Monica, can be found working at SeedEd Farm in northern Virginia where they're sharing space to learn and grow amongst themselves and within their community. Instagram: @seededfarm.
Owen is a seed nerd who loves growing Southern Italian and Irish heirlooms and supporting the community food sovereignty movement through seed keeping. Instagram: @seedkeeping.
- Mikado Tomato
- Delaway Cabbage
- San Marzano Tomato
- Peperone Friariello (Italian Frying Pepper)
- Cocoxochitl Chingonxs: A Dahlia Diva Mix (Seeds)
- Passionflower - seeds / dried herb
- Risser Sickle Pea
Photo credit: Sahar Coston-Hardy.
Sara is the webmaster (webkeeper!) and graphic designer behind Truelove Seeds. She also provides administrative and technical support. In 2020, she started her very first vegetable garden and got to know some Southern Italian varieties that she now loves. Being more tech-savvy than farm-savvy, Sara is thrilled that she is able to contribute to the important work that the Truelove seedkeepers do, and she loves joining the team in the field when she can. Instagram: @sarastaylor.
Hannah Thompson currently manages the FNC Community Farm at 8th and Poplar in Philadelphia, has worked for a few other farms in Philadelphia and Massachusetts, and has been an important part of Team Truelove for three years earning the title of Fastest Knife Weeder and Most Valuable Carpooler, with the bestest truck on the farm.
I am wholesome.