Seed Programs International

Our partner Pop Atz’iaq has taken the lead on the processes of mobilizing our women’s groups, field work, documentation, and addressing the many challenges faced by women in San Cristobal and the near by villages, and our original women’s group in Chajul.

Pop Atz’iaq's strength lies in their ability to help women recognize their skills, experience, and capacities. SPI’s partnership with Pop Atz’iaq makes it possible for participating women to receive training and access to resources for gardening, handicraft production, and business training for women who have the desire to start or improve their businesses. Business training includes human development and women’s empowerment themes, business management, marketing, finances, accounting, sales, customer service and social responsibility to their culture and communities.

The many years of civil war and marginalization have left their marks on the communities of indigenous Mayans of this region. The rebuilding of these communities and its members will take many generations.

The team at Pop Atz’iaq is well aware of the many problems in their communities.  They understand the deep roots of their history, and their survival experience as a people.  They accept, together with the people of their communities, the ongoing responsibility of rebuilding, and the amount of work it entails. The leadership of Pop Atz’iaq welcomes partnerships like ours, which create solutions to crucial problems. First among these, and most importantly, is access to healthy nutritious food!

To initiate the start of our work as partners, Pop Atz’iaq and SPI representative Rouse Ramirez are working to identify women who will serve as the project’s trainees for our "train the trainer" garden trainings. It is our goal to utilize local resource persons to provide education on locally-available resources. Through the use of local experts, the sense of community is heightened.

This program generates multiple benefits.  Women are provided with the expertise and tools they need to put nutritious food on the table for their families, while simultaneously supported in creating a space for themselves as decision-makers capable of contributing to their families and communities.

The impact of access to good seeds and other SPI-funded resources is straightforward. Women learn to grow crops rich in micronutrients and also gain a chance to sell any surplus for income generation.

We also know from experience that access to basic tools and resources like seeds and training can be key in helping communities find sustainable livelihoods that contribute to both individual and community well-being. Alongside agricultural inputs, SPI is providing funding and support to Pop Atz’iaq to strengthen the gardening skills of program participants, and providing opportunities for entrepreneurial skills training for those interested.

Community participation that includes all generations and respects local cultural values is necessary and encouraged.  For the members of Pop Atz’iaq, the realization that others in the group genuinely care about their welfare and future is life-changing – especially for those who’ve been neglected by the local systems for so long.

Pop Atz’iaq has created a program that integrates livelihoods and education to create a self-sustaining system where the participants contribute to the organization they benefit from.


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Seed Programs International

PO Box 9163
Asheville, NC 28815


Seed Programs Canada (Affiliate)

Registered Charity No. 839858107RR0001
Lombardy, ON

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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.