Seed Programs International

GEA cooperative farmers at harvest.

GEA cooperative farmers at harvest.

Hi folks,

Today’s report comes from GrowEastAfrica in Ethiopia via Yohannes Chonde, GrowEastAfrica Co-Founder. One of our deeper partnerships, we try to understand what’s working for them, what’s not working, and how we can support their cooperative's growth and goals. This means not only learning how vegetables fit into their work, but also learning about how the other parts of their program fit into their broader aims.

If you’re not familiar with GrowEastAfrica, they’re a cooperative near Moyale in Ethiopia that prioritizes women’s access to resources like land, training, and tools. Many of the women are IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) from tribes and regions that have been historically targeted for displacement.

Vegetables: Cabbage, Peppers, and Tomatoes

If you have been following GrowEastAfrica (GEA) through our reports, you’ll know the tremendous work that has gone into preparing and learning about their fields. Thanks to their planning and preparation, including negotiating cooperation with the surrounding community, their plots are irrigated and doing great. The cabbage doesn’t have any disease or pest issues, and the soil is perfect for the crop. The peppers are also growing well, though some of the plants appear weak.

four packet columnThe SPI seed catalog holds a cornucopia of new items and deals for you to consider!

New Vegetables & Varieties

Amaranth and coriander (cilantro) are both fast-growing greens commonly eaten in tropical areas, and both are new to our catalog in 2019.

Our newest hybrid tomato is resistant to many common diseases, and we now carry an heirloom swiss chard which packs dense, fast-growing nutrition into a compact plant.

Two-for-One (Hundred)

These items are being offered at half the cost of our usual partner contribution fee. When you pay for 100 packets, you’ll receive 200 (all packets come in bundles of 100 packets).

Broccoli B - We’ve got a lot in stock of this open-pollinated Italian variety which grows nice side shoots even after harvesting the central head.

Honeydew Melon A - This open-pollinated seed is older than most in our inventory, yet still germination tests at 92%. Organized growers near urban centers may like to sell these melons to hotel kitchens.

Watermelon B - Another older seed lot, holding strong at 94% germination. This is a hybrid watermelon with a dark green rind, round shape, and good disease resistance.

Use our order form to complete your program’s seed selection today—and contact us anytime with questions.

Download the SPI Seed Catalog →

Download the SPI Order Form →

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Jaha speaking with a gathering of women.

Jaha speaking with a gathering of women.

Hi folks,

We recently heard from Safe Hands for Girls, our partner working in The Gambia. Safe Hands for Girls accomplishes important work in The Gambia, Sierra Leone, and Atlanta USA, fighting female genital mutilation / cutting (FGM/C) and child marriage. Founded in 2013 by Jaha Dukureh, a Gambian woman, Safe Hands for Girls advocates for women and girls through a combination of education, community discussion, and local and national legislative advocacy.

Jaha and Safe Hands for Girls often visit communities with a high percentage of women and girls affected by FGM/C to hold community discussions that include everyone affected by FGM/C: girls and women who have been cut, women who cut, village leaders, and community clerics. Jaha and Safe Hands for Girls are effective precisely because they foster these relationships. Changing cultural traditions is difficult, and they are slowly facilitating healthy change through their work.

Because the short- and long-term effects of FGM/C are severe — shock, hemorrhaging, infection, and anemia are a few of the effects — nutrition is a critical for both girls recovering from recently being cut and women whose immune systems have been compromised from being cut. SPI partnered with Safe Hands for Girls in 2018 as a way to complement the work they were already doing by establishing community vegetable gardens for women. Not only do gardens provide important nutrition, but they can provide a livelihood alternative for cutters who depend on income from the practice. Economic freedom also helps women throughout the community claim more power over their own lives.

MATTER 1SPI partner MATTER believes that everyone should have access to a full and healthy life, and gardens are a part of their plan. We’ve been impressed with their partnership work in Senegal, and they recently shared about their partnership work in Zimbabwe.

In Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, MATTER is working to ensure that the local community has access to quality healthcare, including nutrition. In addition to the equipment and supplies they’ve brought to the area, they are supporting a maternity hospital garden in a community with poor soil quality and little access to good seed. Good nutrition is especially important for new mothers, who are restoring their bodies after childbirth.

"It is very difficult to get good seeds in our area. Having dependable seeds allows for increased harvests and greater impact." — Silent Kasake, Victoria Falls Hospital Garden Manager

Because good seed is not available locally, MATTER is deploying SPI seeds to grow nutritious vegetables in a maternity hospital garden that supplies meals to new mothers. So far, the garden has supplied almost 2,000 meals over five months!

MATTER 2 worm pitIn addition to addressing seed quality, MATTER has worked to ensure that other barriers, like poor soil quality, won’t stop farmers from a bountiful harvest. Chris Newhouse, MATTER’s Agricultural Program Director, shares:

“At the Victoria Falls hospital garden, the soil is poor, so we’ve developed a system utilizing worm pits and food waste to create soil for the beds. About one-third of the garden is devoted to the worm farm, which provides a rich soil for seed starting and growing in an area where fertilizers are hard to come by.”

Speaking to the importance of our partnership, Chris laid out MATTER’s goal for the coming years.

MATTER 3“SPI’s work is a fantastic addition to our projects. Our partners frequently tell us that getting quality seeds is difficult if not impossible. Providing dependable garden seeds really helps make these projects successful. In the future I’ll be looking for ways to get more seeds to our partners in the developing world. MATTER is aiming to install 30 more nutritional gardens next to maternity hospitals in Zimbabwe over the next 3 years—our partnership with SPI will be an essential element of this project.”

We’re grateful to Chris, MATTER, and the farmers who are providing important nutrition to these new mothers in Zimbabwe. We’re always looking for feedback about our partnerships and want to learn more about our partner’s goals because we want to support your success! Thank you!

— The SPI Team

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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.