Sowing seeds of cultural heritage at the Seed to Bloom Botanical and Community Garden

By Crystal Duckett, Communications and Media Specialist
Posted May 20 2024
two people in gold shirts talk at a table with jars of seeds

Above: Clare Thorn (right) explains African heritage crops to a visitor at the CSU Seed to Bloom Botanical and Community Garden.

Recent visitors to Central State University’s Seed to Bloom Botanical and Community Garden were welcomed by two dedicated student workers, Corey Higgs and Mariah Simmons, and Clare Thorn, Extension associate for Agriculture and Natural Resources, who shared their knowledge and passion for agriculture, African heritage, and seed-viability testing. 

Together, they embarked on a journey of germinating seeds from the previous year’s African heritage seed harvest. The seeds were Mrihani basil, waterleaf, fish hot pepper, whippoorwill Southern pea, and iron and clay Southern Pea, each holding a piece of African heritage within it. 

As Thorn and her student workers carefully planted the seeds, the beautiful garden off Ohio 42 was filled with anticipation and hope. Each seed was a symbol of rich African heritage, waiting to sprout and continue its legacy after making to North America centuries ago. The seeds disappeared into the soil, marking the beginning of a new life cycle. 

The event was not just about germinating seeds, but also about nurturing connections and fostering a sense of community. Two visitors inspired by the experience expressed their eagerness to attend the next Garden event, African Heritage Crop Transplanting, slated for 6-7:30 p.m. June 6 at the garden.

The seedlings, which would have successfully germinated by June, will be transplanted and directly sowed in raised beds in the garden. The June event will mark another milestone in the seeds’ journey, a testament to Thorn and the students’ commitment and the power of community centered on a place of nurturing new life. 

As the students left the class with Thorn that day, they carried with them not just the knowledge of seed germination but also a deeper connection with their African heritage. 

For more information on the African Heritage Crop Project and to register for the African Heritage Crop Transplanting program on June 6, contact Clare Thorn at or 937-376-6627.