Updates

Seed Programs International

Clearing space for a garden at the dar talibaClearing space for a garden at the dar taliba

Hi Folks,

SPI has a long history of partnering with Peace Corps volunteers. Peace Corps Morocco volunteers serve in remote, mostly rural areas, focusing on empowering youth and local communities. Seeds are used to teach students about agriculture and environmental issues, assist in starting local garden projects, and encourage the community to grow some of their own food. Seed distribution and planting is a multifaceted activity. In fact, most volunteers used the seed program as an opportunity to teach about the environment, botany, agriculture, and keep people linked to their land with an understanding of botanical life.

A large portion of this activity occurs in youth centers and boarding schools. Making these establishments not only a place of learning for the children, but also a hub for the local community. One Peace Corps Volunteer shares a story on this topic:

Planting at the dar talibaPlanting at the dar taliba

“My garden project took place at the dar taliba (girls boarding school) in my community, a dormitory for girls from the surrounding rural communities who study at my site's middle and high schools during the week. The building has a large outdoor courtyard area, most of which was largely untended — and provided a great space for a garden! A group of girls from the dar taliba worked with me between their classes on each step of the garden, from pulling weeds and removing rocks to breaking up the soil to planting. It quickly became a project for the whole dar taliba community; the women who run the building and the cooks often joined us as well. The cooks hope to use the vegetables from the garden in the meals they prepare for the girls during the week.

Because the girls at the dar taliba come from smaller, rural communities, many of their families have gardens at home. They were both excited to plant vegetables they grow at home and curious to learn about varieties they had never seen before. Our time in the garden so far has also provided a wonderful opportunity for conversation and cultural exchange, as we've discussed everything from Ramadan to gardening in the United States while breaking up the soil and planting seeds. I'm really grateful we had access to these seeds.” — Abby Senuty, Peace Corps Morocco Volunteer

Planting Earth Day seedlingsPlanting Earth Day seedlings

Ready to grow!Environmental awareness and stewardship plays a large part in Peace Corps Morocco’s message. This past Earth Day, many of the schools and youth centers focused on planting.

“During Earth Day, there were presentations on the environment and then after the kids made bird feeders and these little planter bottles where we gave the kids seeds for their planters! We still have some seeds left over and are planning to do similar planters at our preschool.” — Maggie Blackburn, Peace Corps Morocco Volunteer

“I have used some of the seeds sent to me for an activity during Earth Day. Because there is no open space for a garden at the local Dar Chebab, we chose to plant the seeds in cardboard boxes to practice reusing and recycling local materials. The students will take turns watering the plants, and we eventually hope to find a spot to transplant them in the future.” — Ilana Shapiro, Peace Corps Morocco Volunteer

Starting seedlings for the garden in Tighomar, MoroccoWe hope to have more reports to share from Peace Corps Morocco as they continue growing inspiration and wonder in children with just a little seed and knowledge. It is through support like yours that SPI can continue partnerships like these all over the globe. Thank you for your trust and support of SPI and our partners.

With gratitude,

The SPI Team


01 MDRTThis June, SPI got to participate in something new and different for us — we were invited to host a seed packing event during the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) Annual Meeting in beautiful, sunny Miami Beach, Florida. MDRT is the premier global association of financial services and life insurance professionals. Their network includes over 72,000 members from more than 500 companies in 70 nations and territories. MDRT’s charitable arm, MDRT Foundation, focuses on engaging, networking, and giving back through member and industry professional support with the intention of building stronger families and communities worldwide.

We are very excited to have partnered with MDRT Foundation and their enthusiastic members. They reached their goal to pack 20,000 seed packets in two hours. That’s enough seed for people facing hunger and crisis to grow more than 50 tons of fresh vegetables! 

The event was kicked off by Michele Stauff, the Executive Director of MDRT Foundation. Volunteers filled each packet with one of 10 different varieties of seed: butternut squash, watermelon, carrots, collard greens, peppers, cucumbers, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, tomato, and onion.

02 MDRT

Packed seed was then transferred to our brand new US-based partners, Food for the Poor. Food for the Poor provides food, housing, emergency relief and much more to those in desperate need, and now our seeds will be going to help their efforts in school and orphanage garden projects in Honduras. Seed was also provided to our long-term Haitian partners, Ayiti KonseVet (AKV), who you may remember from our work with the Haiti Partnership Network or our new Seeds for School Gardens Worldwide program.

Seed Programs International is expanding its Seed Packing events to colleges, companies, conferences, and other groups with similar missions. It’s an excellent opportunity to bring people together and work alongside each other while joining the fight to end hunger. It’s easy and fun! Seed Programs International provides all the supplies and helps you get organized. To learn more about how you can host a Seed Packing event email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Learn more about Million Dollar Round Table Foundation →

Learn more about Food for the Poor →

We are sad to share that John Batcha, SPI’s Founder, passed away on Sunday, June 23, 2019.

John founded SPI in 1998 to meet a need he saw in the world. Combining his agricultural expertise with a passion for changing the world, John created a program at SPI that has provided families and communities with life-sustaining vegetable seed for the past 20 years. In this time, more than 1 million gardens have been planted over 200 sites throughout 75 countries worldwide. John’s legacy is one of heart, hope, and connection — an inspiring example of how we can do good work in the world that changes lives. He will be missed, and we are proud to continue his work.

 


“I learned from John that there are two ways to change the world: boldly and thoughtfully sharing resources and expertise globally is one way; quietly making life better for everyone around you through human kindness and connection is another way. 

When I spoke with John, both of these paths were evident. His expertise, caring, and creativity as a leader were always present. But even more so, he made me feel like his time with me was his most important moment that day. And I think John's secret is that he made everybody feel that way. Whatever he was dealing with, he would take the extra moment to extend positivity to all around him. This was an amazing achievement. 

I have felt so privileged and honored to carry forward the work John established at Seed Programs International. I'll miss him a lot.” — Peter Marks, SPI CEO / President

Give a gift in memory of John Batcha

 

Students at Valley Bridge Primary School, Nairobi

Students at Valley Bridge Primary School, Nairobi

Hi folks,

First, thank you to all of our early supporters! We’re really excited about this project. Not only do school gardens grow vegetables, they keep kids in school, provide lifelong agronomic skills, and become community hubs for nutrition and training. We know this from years of work with partners who host or coordinate school gardens. Over the years, our partners in Haiti, Honduras, Liberia, and Kenya (among others) have proven how vital school gardens can be for children and communities.

Today’s update is more personal than usual. In 2016, SPI Program Manager Naima Dido spent some time visiting several partners in her home country, Kenya. During her visit, Naima made a point to look up Valley Bridge Primary School, the school she attended as a child in Nairobi. This stop wasn’t only nostalgic — Naima spoke with the headmaster about establishing a school garden and partnering with SPI.

Contact Us

Seed Programs International

PO Box 9163
Asheville, NC 28815
828-707-1640

 

Seed Programs Canada (Affiliate)

Registered Charity No. 839858107RR0001
Lombardy, ON
613-406-6100

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Seed Programs International (SPI)

Seed Programs InternationalSeed Programs International (SPI) is a non-profit, tax exempt, non-governmental humanitarian organization.

We work thorough other humanitarian organizations, church groups, service clubs and individual donors, to provide quality seed to impoverished communities in developing countries enabling them to grow some of their own food. In addition to seed, SPI provides critical seed expertise and experience operating seed based self help programs.”

SPI is operated by individuals with over 50 years seed industry experience plus over 20 years experience in vegetable research and production. We also have 15 years experience operating programs that have successfully shipped seed to over 70 countries on five continents. SPI has shipped enough seed to plant over 1,000,000 vegetable gardens, providing more than 20 kinds of vegetables that are rich in vitamins and minerals often missing in people’s diets.