History of McIntosh SEED

McIntosh County is a beautiful and ecologically diverse rural community, located on Georgia's Southeastern Coast. It is also one of the poorest counties in the state of Georgia. After having one of the largest seafood industries on the south Atlantic coast in the 60s, the community witnessed a steady decline of its once booming economy due to rising operating costs and foreign shrimp imports. This devastated the county and caused many McIntosh residents to lose their jobs, businesses, property, and homes. Without any major employment industries, a group of concerned citizens came together to collectively discuss their needs and brainstorm how to bring about change to their community.


In 1997, a group of approximately 150 citizens gathered at a local African American church - Elm Grove Community Church - to discuss long-standing poverty, environmental degradation, oppressive political power dynamics, and common concerns of community members. The meeting was an unprecedented gathering between black and white community members in the 250-year history of McIntosh County. And while the group unified to discuss the challenges and their exclusion from political and economic decision making in the county, community members also recognized that their rich culture and history were opportunities for McIntosh County to flourish. It is through that hopeful energy that what is now McIntosh SEED was formed.

The organization was created to build trusting relationships between McIntosh County's low-income communities and local government officials to improve community members' involvement in decision-making processes and to increase their access to resources. Over the years, McIntosh SEED has expanded our commitment to creating and sustaining healthy and diverse rural communities through community and economic development, community organizing, land preservation, and direct services to communities and organizations across the Southeast, including the Alabama Black Belt and the Mississippi Delta. By working across the Southeast region, through support and technical assistance, McIntosh SEED has a broader impact on the social change movement by helping organizations expand and enhance their programs to improve their ability to move people out of poverty and improve their livelihoods.

Mission & Approach

Mission:

McIntosh SEED works to create and sustain healthy and diverse rural communities through community and economic development, community organizing, conservation, and direct services across the Southeast

Approach:

We believe that our work has the most impact when it is driven by the social, economic, environmental, and cultural interests of the community. Specifically, we take the following initial steps:
  1. Create space where the community can share their wisdom, knowledge and experiences
  2. Connect these experiences through common themes to build trusted relationships between individuals & organizations
  3. Develop practical tools that will help their communities, organizations, and/or networks develop shared analyses, goals, and strategic work plans
Through this process, we are able to organize equitable multi-sector relationships and partnerships that enhances the knowledge, skills, and collective power needed for improving communities and creating lasting impact.

Additionally, we work to preserve and uplift the natural resources, labor force, and youth of rural communities to improve their local economies, the environment, and social conditions. This place-based systems approach to community development creates and retains wealth in rural communities.

This systems approach guides our own programmatic focus areas. These include: a) Local Food Systems, b) Youth Engagement and Enrichment, c) Heritage and Cultural Tourism, and d) Land Preservation. To learn more, click here.



Board of Directors
Robert E. Hudley - President
Jimmie Eunice - Vice-Chair
Doris Nelson - Secretary
Rev. Fred McIver - Treasurer
Fran Drayton - Board Member
Roberta McIver - Board Member
Joyce Lotson - Board Member
Rev. Edgar Timmons - Board Member
Staff
John Littles - Executive Director
Cheryl Peterson - Assistant Managing Director
Shelia Thomas - Administrative Assistant
Asia Armstyrong - Intern
John Littles, Jr. - Intern

New Office Location and Address
Hwy 17 1135 Northway Suite A, Darien, GA

Partners
USDA-NRCS-Outreach/Kellogg Foundation/Marguerite Casey Foundation/Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation/Southern Partner Fund Foundation/The Conservation Fund/Resourceful Communities/Ben Hill County/Georgia Appleseed/Deep South Community Agricultural Network/


^ Top


McIntosh SEED • P. O. Box 2355 • Darien, GA • Phone: 912-437-7821 • Fax: 912-437-4271 • Email