Updates

Seed Programs International

Rouse helps organize an Ixil community of women.

Rouse helps organize an Ixil community of women.

When we discuss SPI programs, we talk a lot about livelihoods. So, what is a livelihood? A livelihood encompasses the capabilities, assets, and strategies that people use to make a living. And a productive livelihood is an important part of our social, emotional, and economic well-being.

At their core, SPI programs provide access to resources so people can grow food and establish a productive livelihood. We join with women's gardening efforts in the most impoverished countries worldwide by providing top-quality vegetable seeds and locally-driven support through programs that provide them with a path to empowerment, income, and nutrition.

One such partnership is our new women’s empowerment initiative in Chajul, Guatemala. Tucked away in the highlands of western Guatemala, the small but vibrant Ixil community of Chajul was devastated by a 36-year civil war. Many indigenous Guatemalan women who survived the horrific violence are living with the trauma of losing family members, friends, and neighbors — just one legacy of the country’s civil war.

Students Learning to Garden

Students Learning to Garden

Hello Haiti supporters!

We've had a busy few months following up on our initial shipments to Haiti, negotiating new requests for seed and support, and networking with Haitian partners on the ground in preparation for the SPI Haitian Partnership Network stakeholder meeting. Although the greatest need is still for providing high quality seeds to replace the gardens and seed resources that were destroyed by Hurricane Matthew, we're also working with partners to take steps steps toward rebuilding the community systems that were disrupted by Matthew.

Since our last update, we've shipped 4,700 packets of seed to four partners. Something I really like about our partnerships is knowing that seeds usually reach more farmers and families than those who are supported by our immediate partner. For instance, two partners recently reported that their shipments were subsequently shared with other organizations — seven organizations from one partner and five local schools from another. Having partners on the ground and invested in the community allows our seed to reach people we could not have reached on our own. This is only one of the reasons we love our partners!

Training Workshop

Training Workshop

One of the first questions we ask when considering a new partnership is, "Can we facilitate this partner's growth toward self-sufficiency and resilience?" Each partner is unique — each community has access to different resources and expertise, and we rely upon local leaders with boots on the ground to help make key decisions in our programs. Our programs aim to first invest in local relationships that will help ensure our partner's resilience long after we are no longer directly supporting a program in the region.

When we begin looking at seed selection together, we first determine whether quality seed is already accessible though the partner's existing relationships. Our partners often already know which vegetables work best and whether good seed is available locally. Access to good seed is one of the primary drivers for long-term agricultural sustainability, and FIPAH's research teams (CIALs) are actively working to establish self-sustaining local seed production. Since quality seed is available locally, our role in this partnership has shifted to support FIPAH and the CIALs by working together to purchase appropriate vegetable seeds and offer seed saving workshops through the field schools (ECAs).

In a recent report, FIPAH reported the purchase and distribution of seed to Yorito, Vallecillo, Otoro, Lempira Sur, and Intibucá Sur — regions where seed production is being taught. The number of SPI-equivalent packets includes:

  • 12,000 Pepper
  • 31,000 Tomato
  • 4,800 Cabbage
  • 3,000 Radish
  • 1,200 Squash
  • 4,150 Cilantro
  • 2,000 Onion
  • 1,100 Cucumber
  • 484 Beet
  • 15,00 Soy
  • 694 Mustard Greens
  • 173 Watermelon
  • 10 Celery
  • 10 Parsley

We're looking forward to hearing what happened with the seeds and we'll tell you about that in the next report. Until then, thank you for your continued support and for helping to strengthen these communities toward resilience!

Workshop Participant

Workshop Participant

Doing the Work!

Doing the Work!
 

Planting in Liberia

Planting in Liberia

Seed is not a hand-out, and vegetables don’t appear by magic. The journey from seed to harvest — soil preparation, sowing, weeding, picking, and transportation — requires a significant investment from farmers. That’s a lot of time, sweat, and energy.

Just as seed is not a hand-out, the support SPI provides to our partners is not a hand-out; it’s an investment. With your help, we invest in leaders on the ground who put their communities first, cultivate mutually beneficial relationships, and put resources in the hands of those who need them most (often the same people that can do the most with them). In other words, they do the hard work of building resiliency.

Contact Us

Seed Programs International

PO Box 9163
Asheville, NC 28815
+1-828-337-8632

 

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.