Seed Programs International

Gardening is a community effort.Gardening is a community effort.

We thank you so much again for your support of this microproject to produce gardens for widows and elders in the area of Chajul, Guatemala. If you are not familiar with this part of the world, you can learn more about its history and get initial hints as to why there are so many widows, starting at this page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chajul.

Currently it has been 90 days since completing funding of the project and we are asked to file a report, but the hands-on portion of the project work is truly just getting started. It’s a simple fact that agricultural cycles sometimes don’t line up with project funding cycles. In this case, major work on the maize crop completes during February and now, finally, is one of the annual seasons when vegetable planting can occur.

There have been two interesting developments since we initiated the project. First, our partners in Chajul, the organization ASO-Ixil, determined that many of the widows simply don’t have adequate land at home for gardening, or if they do, the soil has never been improved and the work to do so would be excessive. A creative solution was found: they identified four farmers who will host gardens for nearby widows on their land, 5 widows each. This will provide a land base for those who do not have it.

Second, ASO-Ixil agronomist Henry Caba researched fertilizers that would help improve the soil in gardens in Chajul. This soil appears dark and fertile, and is rich with some nutrients, but like many volcanic soils worldwide, it is deficient in certain micro- and macronutrients plants need to thrive. Having identified a Guatemalan vendor of an appropriate organic fertilizer, Mr. Caba succeeded in bringing her to the community for a workshop. The region/district (El Quiché) was never before served by this company. A special price was negotiated for ASO-Ixil.

The workshop participants were the ASO-Ixil Board, local farmer leaders, and those people that assisted with the first garden project.   They also invited some local university agriculture students who will be providing labor to help the widows.

At this point there are 50 widow households identified and more on a waiting list to receive this gardening support. All are excited for this project to develop. While we are only required to post this one “final report” on this smaller project, we will be sure to post another once harvests begin, so you can see the fruits of your gift emerging from the soil.  

Graphic from ASO-Ixil Facebook Page

Graphic from ASO-Ixil Facebook Page


Kitchen garden

Kitchen garden

Empowering women and growing gardens

Empowering women is essential to ending poverty and advancing gender equality. Due to war, natural disasters and gender inequality, women often have no way to escape poverty and malnutrition for themselves or their children.

When a woman learns a new skill, her whole world opens up. At Seed Programs International we are proud of our partnerships that allow us to advance the economic empowerment of women. With your help, vegetable seeds provided by SPI will grow vegetable gardens for women and children in great need of nutrition and income. Seed Programs International has helped grow over a million gardens since 1998. With your help we can provide support such as seeds, tools, and horticultural knowledge so women can grow food and provide for their families.

Ebola orphans - VOA#1 community

Ebola orphans - VOA#1 community

Thank you so much for your gifts. This is our second report:

The shipment of 50,000 packets of seeds made possible by your support left East Rochester, New York to hopefully be picked up and moving from JFK today. 

The seed selection includes cabbage, collard, cucumber, eggplant, okra, hot pepper and bell pepper. This represents a variety of foods that can be readily grown by households and fit well into the local diet, and are sellable at market to bring needed extra income. Our partners in Liberia have strong agricultural training and will select and distribute seeds accordingly.

Karam Foundation Distributing Potatoes
Karam Foundation Distributing Potatoes

Right now, it's not vegetable planting season in Syria, it's winter - the fourth winter of the humanitarian crisis brought on by war is settled in on the population, which includes 6 million people displaced from their homes. As shown in the photo here, our partner the Karam Foundation is helping out now by distributing potatoes and cooking oil to families who lack food. This photo is from rural Idleb, Syria. But: what happens when food aid runs out, as just occurred briefly when the UN World Food Program ran out of money for Syria?

The beauty of seeds is that they help people grow their own food, decreasing dependence on aid, and even allowing the saving of some seeds to plant the next season's crop.

Idleb, shown in the photo, is in fact one of four regions that will be serviced with this first seed delivery, come spring.

Our first shipment of vegetable seeds - 41,000 packets - departed JFK airport this week, headed to Turkey where they will be staged for distribution to in-country refugee households in Syria as Spring planting season approaches. Vegetables include cabbage, melon, okra, lettuce, eggplant, hot and sweet peppers, and several other vegetable seed types.

41,000 seed packets sounds like a lot at first, but the number shrinks a whole lot in light of the 6,000,000 displaced. That's why your donation to this ongoing GlobalGiving project is needed. We're aiming to multiply this one pallet of vegetable seed manyfold, and help more people who have suffered alone long enough. Please spread the word using the links at https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/seeds-for-syria/share/.

Potatoes to get through Winter

Potatoes to get through Winter

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.