Seed Programs International

Students with Zimconserve in Zimbabwe

Earlier this year, SPI lost our founder, John Batcha, who passed away on June 23rd. In reflecting on his legacy and writings, John’s passion for improving the lives of children was a theme that he manifested through his work with SPI. We carry on his legacy by directly helping children now, and also by investing in the next generation who will lead their own communities to greater health, economic growth, and resilience to crisis.

“Poverty is as vicious and deadly as terrorism.” — The Times of India

We’ve created a world where 3 billion people live on less than $2.50 a day. Wars destroy homes and fields and displace families. In these human-made circumstances, kids suffer the most: poor nutrition is the leading cause of death for children under age 5. Children who grow up without sufficient nutrition live shorter lives and face ongoing health problems that affect their brain development and physical well-being.

John launched SPI to focus exclusively on vegetable seed. He knew that diets in the developing world are dominated by carbohydrates and that the nutrients in vegetables are essential for child development both in utero and during childhood.

MDRT Members Packing Seed to Fight HungerThis August, SPI got to travel around the world to host a seed packing event with our friends over at the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) during their first annual Global Conference in Sydney, Australia. MDRT’s charitable arm, MDRT Foundation, focuses on engaging, networking, and giving back through member and industry professional support to build stronger families and communities worldwide.

“It was inspiring to see one hundred of our members volunteer together to pack 20,000 seeds, knowing that so many lives would be changed. A big thank you to SPI for all the work they do to help feed and empower individuals and families from all over the world.” - Ted Rusinoff, MDRT Foundation President

Members packed carrots, swiss chard, lettuce, yellow onion, and butternut squash, reaching their 20,000 seed packet goal in two hours. That’s enough seed for people facing hunger and crisis to grow more than 50 tons of fresh vegetables!

The donated seed packets went to our new Australian partners: Quaker Service Australia, and Global Mission Partners. Seed from our packing event is going to South Sudan, Zimbabwe, Vanuatu, and other countries.

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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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

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.