Soulful Seeds is a social and environmental non-profit dedicated to reducing food insecurity by developing and managing urban gardens. Our gardens provide growth for plants and people through regenerative gardening practices and a communal connection to food.
Soulful Seeds was founded by Earstin Whitten and his wife Dee Schafer Whitten in 2017 when they located a neglected parcel of land on the Saint Mary’s Hospital Campus. They approached hospital administrators and began restoring the health of the garden the next month. By 2018, Earstin and Dee had recruited a board of directors, developed produce distribution networks to serve two of the highest need census tracts in the county, and built a network of community volunteers to help maintain the garden.
In late 2018, Dee and Earstin attended a county commission meeting where they learned of a large plot of land that the county wanted to use to support the residents of the Our Place Campus. The land came with a lot of bureaucratic red tape as it was owned by the state of Nevada, leased by Washoe County, and under the city codes of Sparks. It took two years to work through the layers of government before Soulful Seeds was able to secure a sublease to manage the land (i.e., the sublease was signed in late 2021).
Today, Soulful Seeds is supported by seven actively engaged board members, one staff person, and 262 unduplicated volunteers.