Beth Roach

Wednesday, July 01, 2020
02:00pm EDT

Location CHQ Assembly Video Platform

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"Growing Hope"

Beth Roach is a co-founder of Alliance of Native Seedkeepers, an organization that was formed to keep ancestral seeds alive and to rebuild culture and food security in native communities. Beth has an extensive background in grants management, conservation, financial management, and organizing. She is also a storyteller for her tribe, Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia. Beth’s work with Alliance of Native Seedkeepers aligns with her rural and agricultural roots and enables her to contribute to the resilience that is desperately needed in her region, particularly with regard to native communities’ cultural and food security. Her current objectives with Alliance of Native Seedkeepers are to establish community gardens and education programs focused on native seed, foster seed stewards throughout the region, build a business of selling regionally-specific native seed, design and implement cooking demonstrations with native foods, and build soil and climate impact metrics.

Beth grew up immersed in brackish James River waters surrounding rural Surry County. During her childhood, there was a decade-long fishing ban due to Kepone, a toxic chemical containment. This experience showed Beth how negligent human choices can devastate local environments. Fascinated by the intersection of community, environment, and public memory, Beth earned her degree in History from James Madison University. She spent 7 years leading public programs that shared stories of communities and environments statewide for Virginia State Parks. As grants manager for the James River Association, Beth raised over $4 million for the James River, which has resiliently rebounded since her childhood.

Beth also serves as the development associate of the Sierra Club's Virginia Chapter, as well as program lead for the Women’s Earth Alliance/Sierra Club’s US Grassroots Accelerator. Beth is an experienced fundraiser, community organizer, environmental justice advocate, and storyteller on energy and environmental issues. Since 2010, Beth has served on the Nottoway Tribal Council and managed environmental initiatives such as canoe trips and river cleanups. As a civil servant, Beth has chaired the Governor Northam’s Virginia Council on Environmental Justice since 2018. 

Soon Beth and her partner will move their seed initiative to the swamps of northeastern North Carolina, where they will create a seed farm and sanctuary that will also serve as a learning center.