Updates

Seed Programs International

01 MDRTThis June, SPI got to participate in something new and different for us — we were invited to host a seed packing event during the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) Annual Meeting in beautiful, sunny Miami Beach, Florida. MDRT is the premier global association of financial services and life insurance professionals. Their network includes over 72,000 members from more than 500 companies in 70 nations and territories. MDRT’s charitable arm, MDRT Foundation, focuses on engaging, networking, and giving back through member and industry professional support with the intention of building stronger families and communities worldwide.

We are very excited to have partnered with MDRT Foundation and their enthusiastic members. They reached their goal to pack 20,000 seed packets in two hours. That’s enough seed for people facing hunger and crisis to grow more than 50 tons of fresh vegetables! 

The event was kicked off by Michele Stauff, the Executive Director of MDRT Foundation. Volunteers filled each packet with one of 10 different varieties of seed: butternut squash, watermelon, carrots, collard greens, peppers, cucumbers, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, tomato, and onion.

02 MDRT

Packed seed was then transferred to our brand new US-based partners, Food for the Poor. Food for the Poor provides food, housing, emergency relief and much more to those in desperate need, and now our seeds will be going to help their efforts in school and orphanage garden projects in Honduras. Seed was also provided to our long-term Haitian partners, Ayiti KonseVet (AKV), who you may remember from our work with the Haiti Partnership Network or our new Seeds for School Gardens Worldwide program.

Seed Programs International is expanding its Seed Packing events to colleges, companies, conferences, and other groups with similar missions. It’s an excellent opportunity to bring people together and work alongside each other while joining the fight to end hunger. It’s easy and fun! Seed Programs International provides all the supplies and helps you get organized. To learn more about how you can host a Seed Packing event email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Learn more about Million Dollar Round Table Foundation →

Learn more about Food for the Poor →

Clearing space for a garden at the dar taliba

Clearing space for a garden at the dar taliba

Hi Folks,

We are happy to report that this update comes from our Peace Corps partners in Morocco. Peace Corps Morocco volunteers serve in remote, mostly rural areas, focusing on empowering youth and local communities. Seeds are used to teach students about agriculture and environmental issues, assist in starting local garden projects, and encourage the community to grow some of their own food. Seed distribution and planting is a multifaceted activity. In fact, most volunteers used the seed program as an opportunity to teach about the environment, botany, agriculture, and keep people linked to their land with an understanding of botanical life.

A large portion of this activity occurs in youth centers and boarding schools. Making these establishments not only a place of learning for the children, but also a hub for the local community. One Peace Corps Volunteer shares a story on this topic:

My garden project took place at the dar taliba (girls boarding school) in my community, a dormitory for girls from the surrounding rural communities who study at my site's middle and high schools during the week. The building has a large outdoor courtyard area, most of which was largely untended — and provided a great space for a garden! A group of girls from the dar taliba worked with me between their classes on each step of the garden, from pulling weeds and removing rocks to breaking up the soil to planting. It quickly became a project for the whole dar taliba community; the women who run the building and the cooks often joined us as well. The cooks hope to use the vegetables from the garden in the meals they prepare for the girls during the week.

Transplanting seedlings at Burji

Transplanting seedlings at Burji

Hi folks,

Since our last report, Yohannes and GrowEastAfrica have been laying out the next steps to meet their communities’ greatest needs. Water access understandably continues to be a top priority. Water is scarce in Ethiopia, and water access is critical for everyone — not just farmers. Community leaders are working with GrowEastAfrica toward an exit strategy, toward a time when each community will be self-sustaining and able to weather new challenges.

“What is our long term? To stay with a given community for 3-5 years, then move to another community. We’ve been in Burji working with these IDP families for three years. Southern Ethiopia is a drought-sensitive area. Water is always a challenge, even now. On the land we have, we are lucky because there is a well. As we try to expand, that is the main limiting factor.” — Yohannes Chonde, GEA Co-founder

In addition to your support, we’ve received a generous grant from GlobalGiving to help address drought and famine in East Africa. As part of that grant, we’re taking Yohannes’ lead in how to best use those funds for water access. He’s outlined several possibilities, including digging new wells and piping water to different areas within each community. Currently, rainwater is being caught from roofs and stored, which works when there is rain to catch. However, relying on the weather can hinder crop expansion when the rainy season ends. While wells are a longer-term solution, they are cash-intensive. GrowEastAfrica is trying to balance access for multiple communities with affordability in an area where digging a well can be quite expensive.

Arriving for the commercial farm demonstration

Arriving for the commercial farm demonstration

Hi folks,

Today’s project update comes from GrowEastAfrica, an SPI partner who works with IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) families in Soyama, Ethiopia. If their name sounds familiar, that’s because we’ve been working with them since 2016 back when they were DBCO, and we’ve shared some of their story before.

“GrowEastAfrica’s agricultural projects work with vulnerable farmers, many of whom are women, by training them in improved practical agricultural methods, helping them access quality agricultural inputs and technology, and linking them to viable markets. Such efforts help farmers grow more food for themselves or to sell. In doing so, farmers are able to prevent hunger, preserve land for future use, and obtain long lasting food security.” — Yohannes Chonde

GrowEastAfrica’s co-founder, Yohannes Chonde, has adapted their programs over the years to meet the most urgent needs of the families they serve. They not only provide a short-term solution for folks who are fleeing their homes and establishing new lives, but they are moving toward long-term solutions that enroll and integrate local communities in ways that benefit both groups.

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.