Over the years, Seed Programs International has provided seeds for many Peace Corps volunteers, in countries like South Africa, Bolivia, Peru, Swaziland, and others. Peace Corps staff tell us that no matter what the purpose for their service – business development, education, etc. — once they get in the field, 80% of volunteers observe nutritional needs and get engaged with some kind of food production work. This holiday season, we had a special request at SPI – to help Stephen Filipiak, a talented agriculture volunteer with the Peace Corps in The Gambia, West Africa.
Stephen, an experienced organic farmer in Hawaii, was already deeply engaged with local villagers in innovative practices — such as improving soil with carbonized rice husks and biodynamic preparations, but mostly using these efforts to grow more and better grain crops like maize, millet, and rice. He recognized a lack of fresh vegetables in local diets and contacted SPI about vegetable seeds.
Having read a trial of Okra varieties grown in the tropics, part of Stephen’s request was for a specific okra type, ‘Burmese,’ introduced and carried by Virginia-based Southern Exposure Seed Exchange (SESE), a supporter of SPI since 2012. SESE graciously donated 10 pounds of ‘Burmese’ okra for sharing in Gambia — a blessing indeed since this is not a variety we could have accessed any other way. If you’re a gardener in the US and not familiar with Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, do check them out, and thank them for supporting our work.
Beyond the donation from SESE, we are sending additional seed and need to cover the significant shipping cost to The Gambia. If you can help, please chip in with a tax-deductible donation and let’s send these seeds on their way to West Africa!
See https://alohagambia.wordpress.com/ to learn more about Stephen and see many great pictures of what is being achieved in the village where he’ll be posted for 2 years.
All seeds are non-GMO.
Please donate today to help this effort. This thermometer will be updated daily to reflect gifts received in each 24 hour period.
Note: The first funds raised will help gardeners in The Gambia as described here. However, we are also engaged with Peace Corps volunteers (PCVs) in Zambia and Ecuador and steadily receive ongoing inquiries. So, funds raised above and beyond the needs of the Gambia shipment will be designated for other current and future shipments to PCVs. Thank you so much!
You can give online at GiveDirect, our secure donation processing partner. Please enter “Peace Corps Seeds” in the comments field to support this project. All gifts to SPI are tax-deductible.
We welcome checks mailed to: SPI, PO Box 9163, Asheville, NC 28815.
Thank you for supporting nutrition and livelihood for thousands of people worldwide. SPI seed recipients face hunger and poverty and lack access to the resources they need to lift themselves into better times. Most live on less than $2 per day.