Seed Programs International

Fate harvesting corn in a Grow East Africa field.

Fate harvesting corn in a Grow East Africa field.

Hi folks,

We're happy to open this project on a bright note by featuring the continued work of Grow East Africa, our local partner in Ethiopia. One purpose of this project is to increase long-term resilience to climate change, social crisis, and political crisis for communities most vulnerable to upheaval. Grow East Africa is doing just that!

Grow East Africa is an Ethiopian-American led organization working with about 1,000 families at a crossroads for Kenyan - Ethiopian IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons). Co-Founder Yohannes Chonde understands the families' journey, the experience of displacement, and what they need to be successful because may of the families come from his ancestral home, Burji District.

We recently heard from Wato Seif, a Grow East Africa Officer, who shared what it was like to be displaced:

“Not many years have passed since we became internally displaced, leaving our homes and properties, and escaping with just the shirts on our backs and the few belongings we were able to carry. Upon arrival, we found ourselves in the midst of a different culture, a foreign language, and hardships from lack of shelter and ownership of land necessary for an agrarian society.”

Tecpan Women's Group has seeds!

Tecpan Women's Group has seeds!

Hi folks,

This month, our update comes from Tecpan, Guatemala, where a group of Mayan women have recently begun gardening again with SPI’s support. These farmers aren’t newcomers—in addition to their traditional knowledge, most have vegetable-growing experience from a program that was supported by Wendy de Berger, the First Lady of Guatemala from 2004 - 2008.

When the government changed, support for this program was ended and the Tecpan farmer’s gardens went fallow without access to good seed. However, their group didn’t disband. Led by Paula López, women continued to meet regularly to preserve their Mayan culture and find ways to support each other. Gardens are one way to facilitate the preservation and transmission of traditional knowledge and also provide nutrition and income to communities. This is such an important activity for people whose communities and cultures have been disrupted by generations of political violence aimed at destroying their identity.

With your support, we were able to provide Paula with good seed. The group immediately gathered to determine how best to share radish, cucumber, eggplant, cabbage, and carrot seeds amongst the 55 women. Over several meetings, Paula distributed the seed and reviewed basic planting instructions. These are strong, self-organized women, and they only needed access to a few resources to re-establish their gardening program.

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Sowing seeds in a tire garden, FONDAMA

Hi folks,

Your generous support, and the support of GlobalGiving, has done so much to mitigate the effects of Hurricane Matthew and subsequent setbacks by putting vegetable seeds, tools, and fertilizer in the hands of farmers who had lost everything. Now, our partners are considering what a post-recovery program should look like.

In the last report, we shared that we’re bringing this project to a close so we can collaborate on a broader project. Our partners have established, and continue to develop, resilient networks that can move their farmers toward collective self-sufficiency. Sharing the skills and resources already on the ground has gone a long way toward ensuring that farmers will be prepared for the next challenge.

The new project is still being designed based on feedback from our partners. As the physical infrastructure continues to be rebuilt, we’re finding ways to work with our partners and their farmers where they are. Most of all, the new project should be adaptable so it can respond to new challenges as they arise.

We all know Haiti has more than its share of challenges, but it also has incredible community innovators. Partners like FONDAMA exemplify this. You might remember their tire gardens from our last report — they trained communities to adapt the materials at hand, tires, and protect their vegetables from floods and wind. The photos in this report show one of the community trainings.


Fate during an interview about the project.

Hi folks,

In our last update, we shared that we’re closing this project so we can continue to broaden and deepen our partnerships. We’ve been privileged to work with Yohannes (Grow East Africa) and Daniel (Seed Savers Network Kenya) as they’ve coordinated agile strategies for strengthening the resilience of their communities. And we know it won’t stop with their communities because they are sharing these strategies with new communities even as we write.

We’ll keep our closing short, and instead share a letter we received from one Grow East Africa farmer whose life has changed because of your support and the support of GlobalGiving:

“Thank you so much for all you have done for our community. Just a few years ago we were a community that was worried about what we would eat tomorrow and what the future looks like. Our young people were leaving for the city. Like many of us, they too dreamed of finding a better place to live.

Today, we're still here. Things are looking better thanks to our son Yohannes, who returned to create a path to self-sufficiency for us. Today, not only are we growing our own food, but we're making plans for the future of our people and our community. We are creating markets for ourselves, we're inspiring and empowering each other, and we're saving money and contributing to our own development. Because of the support from Seed Programs International and Yohannes, we now have access to water where there was none.

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.