Beyond Seeds: How SPI Can Help

Seed Programs International

Seed Programs International strives to be your go-to source for affordable, top-quality vegetable seed, but we can do a whole lot more. SPI’s additional services include seed assessment, training coordination, and/or local seed sourcing support.

EggplantSeed assessment is the process of determining whether vegetable seed shortage is in fact an issue in your service region. See for in-depth information on this science and practice. You may know that vegetable gardens are sparse and could help, but you may not know why. There can be one of three types of reasons:

  1. Seed Availability: Vegetable seed of reasonable quality is simply not available in the region at all, either chronically or due to crisis. SPI was built to help provide seed in this scenario.
  2. Seed Access: Vegetable seed is available but people cannot afford to buy it or to transport themselves to the locations where seed is sold.
  3. Seed Knowledge and Utilization: Vegetable seed is available and accessible, but people do not know why they should be motivated to buy it. Perhaps there are cultural misunderstandings about basic human nutrition, or gender inequality prevents full use of household resources. Or, perhaps people simply do not know how to cook, preserve, sell, and/or grow vegetable crops.

Which scenario is most true for you, or is there a need for all three? What should be prioritized? If you are not sure, SPI may be contracted to help answer this question and design a program that is the right fit for your region’s needs.

Training Coordination is SPI’s approach to delivering knowledge – we are not designed, nor do we think it is effective and efficient, to send trainers thousands of miles by air to deliver practical content. We believe that local leaders are best-positioned to deliver basic information on vegetable growing and utilization strategies.

Worldwide, Seed Programs International has seen partners successfully employ local agronomists and community-based extension agents to foster vegetable growing. We love to make referrals from old partners to new so that knowledge gained from working with our seeds is passed along.

If your program has a unique training need or idea, let us know! We can work together to develop and fund a train-the-trainer program specific to your region and needs.

Local Sourcing is increasingly important to relief and development work, both for its efficiency and for its support of local economies. Supply chains for the broad range of vegetable seed are narrow, leading to high prices and dubious quality in many of the more remote areas of the world, but (depending on your seed budget) effective local sourcing may still be quite possible.

SPI believes that importing vegetable seed can be a smart first programmatic step in many situations. Making seed available that you know is top quality, along with any needed support in its use, can help get people “hooked” on gardening and establish a critical mass of growers and customers for familiar – or even unfamiliar – vegetables. Once people are hooked, we share your interest in looking for an exit strategy. Sometimes, seed saving can help. Other times, connecting with local supplies is the solution.

Seed Programs International can use our deep connections within the global vegetable seed trade to your benefit. We’ll track down equivalent-quality vegetable seed in your country or region, negotiate variety selection and pricing, and help you determine how to integrate this source into local supply chains.

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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.