“Hope seeds” and “Seeds for Life” (Willem)

Having launched in August 2007 a new initiative in Belgium, called “Seeds for Life”

(see <http://www.zadenvoorleven.wordpress.com>

with introductory texts in Dutch, French, German, Spanish, Italian and English),
I feel very happy about the action “HOPE SEEDS”, described in the former posting “Seeds bring hope“, which is quite similar to ours. Please read first that important message on this blog below.The small difference is that we (in Belgium) are only collecting “leftover” seeds, sent by people eating exotic fruit (melon, watermelon, papaya, mango, avocado, passionfruit, etc) or sent by gardeners, who normally buy new vegetable seeds every year, throwing their leftover seeds on the compost heap.

We are neither producing seeds, nor sell seeds. We are not asking for a financial contribution to our development initiative.
We are only collecting seeds sent for free by goodwill people, loving the idea that we are bringing these seeds directly to the people who need them, like the Sahrawis refugees in S.W. Algeria or the poor farmers in the drylands of Tamil Nadu (S. India).
Indeed, the seeds we are bringing to those rural people “represent a way out of poverty, but we are not aiming at creating “entrepreneurship for some of the poorest residents on the globe“.Like Hope Seeds, we are trying to provide food security for these people by showing them how they can grow and harvest their own crops year after year (“Don’t bring food to these people, teach them how to grow it“).
Our main objective is to offer first to a number of farmers some basic tools (the seeds) to create food security for their families and then to show how they can produce sufficient quantities of seeds for distribution among all their fellow-farmers, aiming at sustainable development and self-sufficiency without any commercial interest. This method is nowadays applied by the UNICEF ALGERIA project for construction of family gardens and school gardens in the refugee camps of the Sahrawis in S.W. Algeria.Moreover, I agree fully that there is no solution to be found in “sending leftover food supplies to these countries“. This can only solve immediate needs during a very short time. The economic value of such short-term food supplies can even lead to forms of corruption, as it was shown in some cases in the past.

It is a wellknown fact that “Millions of hungry people don’t have access to seeds there“, just like most of the poorest people in the drylands can’t afford to buy the necessary materials to improve the conditions of their soil (nutrient content, organic content, water retention capacity, etc.) and to mitigate the effects of drought or to combat desertification. Seemingly, they are doomed to stay poor, although some good practices to improve their standards of life are quite well known !

One of the basic steps towards a better future will always be to offer free seeds, only for a couple of years, to these poor farmers, until they have learned how to produce these seeds themselves. Knowing that huge quantities of viable seeds are simply ending up in the garbage bins or on the compost heaps of the developed world, I find it a real sin not to produce that effort to collect those seeds somewhere (maybe one central stockage room in each developed country) and to send them to the development projects all over the world.

Summarizing, it is my dream to create an association or organization for such an international network of goodwill people. Let waste seeds become diamonds of life for the poor ! Is it only a dream or will I find sufficient support ? My appeal is herewith launched.

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

One thought on ““Hope seeds” and “Seeds for Life” (Willem)”

  1. Hi. I was just wondering which kind of seed do you advise to offer and how and where to send them. I’m leaving in a farm
    thank you,

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