Seed Programs International

Students with Zimconserve in Zimbabwe

Earlier this year, SPI lost our founder, John Batcha, who passed away on June 23rd. In reflecting on his legacy and writings, John’s passion for improving the lives of children was a theme that he manifested through his work with SPI. We carry on his legacy by directly helping children now, and also by investing in the next generation who will lead their own communities to greater health, economic growth, and resilience to crisis.

“Poverty is as vicious and deadly as terrorism.” — The Times of India

We’ve created a world where 3 billion people live on less than $2.50 a day. Wars destroy homes and fields and displace families. In these human-made circumstances, kids suffer the most: poor nutrition is the leading cause of death for children under age 5. Children who grow up without sufficient nutrition live shorter lives and face ongoing health problems that affect their brain development and physical well-being.

John launched SPI to focus exclusively on vegetable seed. He knew that diets in the developing world are dominated by carbohydrates and that the nutrients in vegetables are essential for child development both in utero and during childhood.

Seeds are a source of wealth in a small package. We deliver seeds to those who are best positioned to make a difference for kids: women, local leaders, teachers, and farmers. We foster relationships with caring community organizations, large and small, who help ensure that the seeds get in the right hands. We seek partners who will enrich the community through training for the garden, the kitchen, and the market.

Seeds are a resource that is not just consumed and gone; they are a resource that people can use expansively to help themselves. One carton of seed that you can carry in your arms will grow five tons of fresh food that can be eaten, preserved, or sold for cash that meets other needs.

“Now, we can afford tuition fees, for the kids and some other needs.” — Alice

Alice, a widow in Seke community, tells us that sales from her vegetable harvest have helped keep her children in school in addition to providing important nutrition at home. Our partner Zimconserve, who distributes SPI seeds to both homes and school-based programs, works with Alice and many farmers like Alice. We know that garden harvests are filling kids’ stomachs with nutrition, and these gardeners are drawing a direct line from SPI seeds to education educational access.

Seeds and gardens can save lives and transform families today, but what happens in the long term?

Again, youth are the answer. In 2019 and continuing into the next decade, SPI is ramping up our work with school gardens and youth agriculture programs. In the face of a changing climate, constant global strife, and evolving technology and commerce, the gap between those who have and those who don’t is only growing. The initial solution is not found in tech gimmicks, but rather in the most basic resources: land, water, work, and good seeds. Our partners tell us that too many youth abandon the countryside in search of the glamour of the cities. Due to the dearth of access to resources, working the land is considered hard and unrewarding.

Programs for children that build garden skills and knowledge, deliver powerful resources, and enhance kids’ motivation to engage in a rural livelihood set up the next generation for increased interest and success in this field. If our partners in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean can grow a new movement of youth who believe in the power of land-based, creative, entrepreneurial solutions, then there is a strong future. This is where we’re placing our bets, and our seed, in years to come.


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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.