Iriel Edwards (she/her) is a seed farmer and owner of Dancing Radicle Farm in Alexandria, Louisiana. Her passions for seeding justice in our food system and dismantling private property feed her excitement for cooperative ownership as it relates to assets like equipment and land. In this episode, Iriel speaks with her peer Lilli Voorhies of Bumble Prairie Farm, and the two explore what it means to set up what Iriel calls “safe collaboration” between separate farm businesses. Throughout their conversation, they probe the themes of cooperative decision-making, sharing values and holding differences, and important discussions for scaling seed processing operations. If you are a seed producer, you’ll gain insights into considerations for scaling a seed operation as well as an insider’s look into Louisiana’s growing seed supply chain. If you’re not a seed producer but you’re farming with others, you’ll find encouragement from Iriel and Lilli to have more discussions about your needs and goals for the collaboration because, as Iriel quotes, “Sharing values with your customers is different from sharing values with your farming partner,” which is why talking things through, particularly areas of potential tension or conflict, is key to resilience.

Farm Commons is grateful to have collaborated with Iriel as a member of the 2023 Collaborative Learning Fellowship.

A full transcript of the episode will be available soon.

About Iriel's Fellowship Experience

"The most meaningful and memorable takeaway from the Collaborative Learning Fellowship has been the ability to identify lessons within my experience. This program gave me a system to process my risk management experiences more tangibly. Moving forward in collaborating with others, I have used some of the guiding questions within this fellowship to carry out discussions with growers in my community. Listening to each other's stories, conflict, or discussions of pain is the first step in collaborative building." [Photo right: Iriel with a Jasmine rice plant from 2021 that had 163 tillers, grown under the system of rice intensification]