The Native Seed Pod celebrates the diversity and beauty of Native seeds, soils, and Indigenous foods. The Native Seed Pod is a fertile place to explore thinking about Indigenous sciences and the physical and poetic seeds needed to renew the health of the Earth at this critical time in history. We are fortunate to be in community with a rich basket of Native Knowledge-Holders, farmers, elders, teachers, and advocates, who articulate the cutting-edge of biocultural diversity protection, food sovereignty and beyond.


This 8-episode pilot season focuses on native seeds—literally and metaphorically. We examine the significance of wild and cultivated seeds in history, biology and culture, and show the importance of protecting and restoring native heirloom seeds and First foods for biocultural diversity and well-being.  Seeds are explored poetically as “bundles of creation” (Linda Hogan) and as embodiments of Indigenous stories and ways of knowing and regenerating life. We also celebrate the cultural arts of native seeds through planting songs, origin stories, harvest dances, and embodied practices integrating science, landscape, climate and poetry.


Through wild and cultivated story and pollinated conversation, we hope this podcast will serve as an antidote to the monoculture. Please join our polyculture! 

We broadcast every New Moon throughout the growing cycle in North America, from Spring (May) to Winter (January). The Native Seed Pod is produced by The Cultural Conservancy with generous support from the Tamalpais Trust Fund of RSF Social Finance.

The Cultural Conservancy (TCC) is a Native-led indigenous rights nonprofit organization based in San Francisco. Founded in 1985, we work with California tribes, Native Americans around the US and Canada, Pacific Islanders and indigenous communities in Central and South America on a wide variety of community-based projects; from sacred site protection to the revitalization of endangered languages, arts and song traditions. Central to our work is acknowledgement of the sacred relationship of native peoples to their land and waters, and of the importance of their physical, mental and spiritual health.



Host/Writer/Director: Melissa K. Nelson (Anishinaabe/Métis)
Producer: Sara Moncada (Yaqui)
Co-producer: Mateo Hinojosa
Audio Engineer: Colin Farish
Audio Assistants: Luke Reppe, Maya Harjo
Graphic Design: Diane Rigoli, Rigoli Creative
Research & Creative: Maya Harjo, Meleah Mannix
Photography: Melissa K. Nelson, Mateo Hinojosa



Melissa K. Nelson, Ph.D. is an ecologist, writer, media-maker and indigenous scholar-activist. She is the President/CEO of The Cultural Conservancy, which she has directed since 1993 and is Associate Professor of American Indian Studies at San Francisco State University. For over two decades Melissa has worked in the Native American food movement and since 2006 in international indigenous food sovereignty. Melissa is a Switzer Environmental Fellow and has received awards for films, community engagement, environmental stewardship, and experiential education. Melissa was the co-producer of the award-winning documentary film, The Salt Song Trail: Bringing Creation Back Together and has co-produced three other documentary short films. She has co-produced three audio recordings, Songscapes of Native America, Profiles of Native American Food Revitalization, and Red Earth Rising (with Canyon Records). Her first edited anthology Original Instructions – Indigenous Teachings For A Sustainable Future (2008), was produced in collaboration with Bioneers, where she has served as a long-term board member, co-founding and producing the Indigenous Forum (2008 – 2014) and Indigeneity Program. Her next edited anthology is Traditional Ecological Knowledge: Learning from Indigenous Practices for Environmental Sustainability (Cambridge University Press), to be released in July 2018.  She currently serves on the board of the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center and the Segorea Te Land Trust. She is Anishinaabe/Cree/Métis, and a proud member of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Tribe.



Sara Moncada is a Native educator, dancer, filmmaker, author and cultural arts advocate. She is VP of Programs at The Cultural Conservancy, is co-founder of Wise Women Circles a women-owned inspirational media company, and is director/artist/educator with Sewam American Indian Dance. She was previously the Managing Director for the not-for-profit Institute for Staffing Excellence and Innovations and On Nursing Excellence, organizations devoted to the effectiveness, recognition and well-being of nurses worldwide. She was previously the Managing Director for the not-for-profit On Nursing Excellence and has been on the early team of multiple start-up technology companies with a spectrum of responsibilities including launching successful products and media programs into market. Sara speaks internationally on Native American arts and culture, is producer of the internationally successful film NURSES If Florence Could See Us Now and co-author of the new book The Dance of Caring.