Seed Programs International

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


Cucumber harvest in Siguatepeque, Germania.

Cucumber harvest in Siguatepeque, Germania.

Hi folks,

Today’s update comes from CEPUDO (Capacitación, Educación, Producción, Unificación, Desarrollo y Organización) and Food for the Poor in Honduras. CEPUDO serves some of the poorest communities in Honduras with programs that touch everyone from infants to elders. Their program areas include: agriculture, educational centers and schools, community development, water projects, health, training and recreation centers, and more. Specific programs like CEPUDITO and CEPUDO Teens and focus on developing a sense of social responsibility in youth and school age children so they can become change agents in their homes, schools, and communities.

CEPUDO’s agricultural programs are supported by their local staff agronomist and Food for the Poor. Food for the Poor networks CEPUDO with local seed vendors in addition to providing access to SPI seeds. Combining local seed sources with SPI seed offers a nutritionally diverse program that can be adapted to the different regional climates of Honduras.

A family garden plot in Rwanda.

A family garden plot in Rwanda.

Hi folks,

Today’s update comes from Bob Kacvinsky, an agronomist and longtime SPI partner. It’s a rare treat for us to receive such a detailed report of seed distribution and training. We often say that our resources are not a handout. Gardening is hard work, and Bob’s report is a good illustration of the planning that goes into a good program. Bob’s lifelong work shows how a collaboration between local leaders and our partners can provide a community with a level of expertise that will sustain them for generations to come. Rather than summarizing Bob’s work, we’ll share a series of excerpts from his report:

In late March-early April of 2019, a group from Bethel Lutheran Church, Madison, WI traveled to Kigali Rwanda on a mission trip through PICO/Faith in Action International. The host for the trip was Pastor John Rutsindintwarane, Faith in Action coordinator in Rwanda, whose mission is to create networks for community development and improvements. PICO has been rebranded as Faith in Action International.

Rwanda is a small country in east central Africa about the size of Maryland. It is a mountainous geography with steep hills and an average elevation of 5500 feet, resulting in a temporal climate with lows in the 60’s and highs typically in the 80’s to low 90’s even though it is just south of the equator. The capital is Kigali (+1.5 million) and served as our home base.

Harvesting Greens with Hope Opens Doors

Harvesting Greens with Hope Opens Doors

Hi folks,

Today’s update comes from Kathy Barrera, the Program Director with Hope Opens Doors in Nigeria. Hope Opens Doors works with Mothers Welfare Group, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing care for some of the most vulnerable women and children in rural Northern Nigeria. Many of the people they serve have been displaced by violence, which has forced them to leave behind livelihoods and the means for providing for themselves and their families. This same violence also destroys crops, which disrupts the supply chain and makes it harder for everyone to access food. In a situation like this, vegetable seeds are a valuable resource.

Kathy Barrera wrote us recently to share their plans for the SPI vegetable seed they received earlier this year. She says:

“We have planted some seeds to get started. At the five sites, we planted green beans in Kuta and one farm at the school and also some family plots. In Sanban they planted Laraba spinach, amaranth, and local greens as well. We grow Chaya [a kind of leafy green] and mornings for soups. At our house, we planted a lot of mustard and turnip greens, plus beans, and amaranth beside the beans. If the rains start letting up, we will plant the tomatoes, okra, and pumpkins…”

Contact Us

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.