Updates

Seed Programs International

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…”

Learning at Duke Lemur Center in Madagascar
Learning at Duke Lemur Center in Madagascar

Our work is about local and long-term investment. Our Board Chair, Brian Love, recently said it this way:  “SPI’s vision is that farmers will access vegetable seed sustainably through local networks so that they can determine their future. These local networks include seed saving as well as local supply chains that access seed at a broader scale. Once communities have broken the cycle where no seed is available, SPI refocuses its attention on communities where this remains an issue.”

An investment takes root when people gain knowledge alongside materials. In 2019, with your support, 14,000 people attended a training session provided by an SPI partner about their gardens and harvests. In Ethiopia, women co-op leaders visited a commercial vegetable farm to learn new techniques as part of our partner program with GrowEastAfrica. In Guatemala, families learned how to incorporate their abundant vegetable harvests into familiar dishes to realize the nutritional benefits of their garden — all part of our partnership with Habitat for Humanity. People all over the world are planting seeds for long-term change.

To solve the next generation’s existential challenges, humans everywhere need strength and stability, especially those most impacted by hunger, poverty, and crisis. Now more than ever, it’s time to share what we have, to grow resilience and prosperity in the next generation around the globe.  In 2020, you can provide kids with the knowledge and materials they need to become leaders for generational change through SPI’s seed programs for school gardens.

“This garden has been a great resource for the students, supplying vegetables [that we didn’t have before]. We even involve them in farming. They enjoy working in the garden, and we have seen their mental health improve as they increase their socialization. They are passionate about planting more and more vegetable varieties in the future.” Ms. Otieno, School Diet Manager, Kenya

Will you consider a generous end of year gift of any amount? By donating to SPI, you are making an investment that works. Ms. Otieno is only one of many partners whose students are excited to grow their own food and build a more nutritious and prosperous future.

Please donate today.

Peter Marks
SPI President / CEO

Students Learning with Rotary Club of Manila 101

For the last seven years, the West North Carolina Rotary Clubs of District 7670 and Seed Programs International have provided thousands of seed packets through the Rotarian Against Hunger (RAH) seed grant. The RAH seed grant provides fellow Rotarians worldwide with access to vegetable seeds for nutrition, education, and income development projects. As part of their programs, Rotarians often establish strong working relationships with nonprofits, community groups, and local governmental groups as a way to ensure sufficient support and engage all sectors of the community.

In 2018, enough seed was distributed through Rotarians Against Hunger to grow almost 1000 gardens in Ghana, Honduras, India, Guatemala, and South Africa. These projects included:

  • In India, the Rotary of Bangalore mobilized to establish gardens for families displaced by monsoon flooding in Kerala region;
  • In Honduras, new crops were planted to expand the community’s traditional diet of beans and corn, countering malnutrition;
  • In Guatemala, Rotary teamed up with Habitat for Humanity to alleviate malnutrition and poverty by establishing gardens and offering skills training and nutritional education.

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.