Seeds for Food

Recently, with all the hype about Haiti and offering financial aid, I’ve been feeling a little callous, but that’s a topic for another day. Today, I’m encouraged by Dr. Willem van Cotthem. Now, THIS is a project I can support. Being a firm believer in “survival of the fittest” and “teach a man to survive and he will”, Seeds for Food is an aid program right up my alley. Dr. Cotthem is not asking for money. Dr. Cotthem is asking for seeds. Vegetable seeds. Fruit seeds.

An excerpt from Dr. Cotthem’s website:

Let us ban hunger and poverty from the world

In 2005 I was invited by UNICEF ALGERIA to work as an advisor for the project “Family and school gardens in the Saharawi refugee camps in South-East Algeria”Our preliminary study proved that we can teach families and schools in these Saharan refugee camps (most refugees being nomads and fishermen), that have lived in these camps for more than 30 years), how to build small gardens and to grow food themselves.

 We trained these refugees to grow fruits and vegetables with a minimum of water and fertilizers, using a special water-stocking soil conditioner. 

In this part of the Sahara (the area around the city of Tindouf) there are two seasons:(1) The autumn-winter season (September – January) in which assorted vegetables such as lettuce, beetroots, carrots, onions and parsley can be grown

 (2) The spring-summer season (February – August) (too hot for vegetables), in which can be grown various tropical fruits such as melons, watermelons, pumpkins, peppers, avocados, papayas and eggplants.

 With the abundance of space in these camps, the planning and layout of family and school gardens is not a major obstacle. By using the water stocking soil conditioner, a small amount of irrigation water suffices in enabling continuous plant growth.

 Unfortunately, there is lack of supply of the seeds to grow the fruits and vegetable plants. It is a matter of survival for these people to have at their disposal healthy and nutritious food. Having the ability to grow their own crops, enables them to  endure the hottest period of the year, with food in short supply and little else growing in the desert.

This has got to be one of the easiest, most cost effective ways to promote survival in third world countries. With the amount of seeds produced in my garden, there will be plenty left over at the end of the season to ship overseas. I almost wish it was harvest time already, just so I can contribute NOW.

If you wish to contribute, please note that although you can send commercial seeds, heirloom seeds are what are preferred. The fresh seeds that are taken from the food you eat, which you have personally grown and reseeded for yourself, are the ones that work best for Seeds for Food. Seeds from the grocery store, unless from organic fruits and vegetables are not as viable as an heirloom seed.  (Which means, the seeds from a mass produced green pepper will not produce a sustainable crop, making the effort worthless)

Some seeds requested are peppers, carrots, lettuce, melons, pumpkins and more….most of which I will be able to contribute, as I grow these in my own kitchen garden. For further information, check out Seeds for Food.


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