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Five people testing seeds before distribution.
By
Natalie Jacobsen
Photo Credit
Quaker Services Australia

In much of the U.S., few things exemplify the holiday season like food: heaping plates of turkey and mashed potatoes, mugs full of cocoa and cider, gingerbread houses with sticky gum drop windows, candy canes on trees, pie crust bursting with berries, or a glass of milk with cookies by the fire.

However, around the world, millions of families don’t have the privilege of a full plate on any given day, or even a plate at all. Food insecurity and malnutrition threaten the livelihood of over one billion people. An estimated 60% of those are women and girls. Some of those statistics even apply here in the U.S., where not all families will have the privilege of a Hallmark-esque holiday this year.

The good news is that world hunger can be fought – and resolved – with your help. Global Impact is doing our part and we want you to join in, too! Earlier this year, Global Impact’s workplace giving campaign team was looking for volunteering opportunities that followed social-distancing guidelines to ensure staff would remain safe during the pandemic. They found the answer with Seed Programs International and the Global Gardener Program. 

Seed Programs International aims to create a sustainable, empowering future to all who are hungry and in need of sufficient resources to have a nutritious, prosperous chance at life. With more than 50 years of combined experience in seed research and agriculture production by both executives and team members, this charity’s mission is to “develop innovative programs around the world.” The organization has worked closely with foreign aid programs and federal agencies to support developing and underserved communities in 70 countries, putting them at the forefront of the battle to end hunger worldwide.

Whether you’re an employer looking for an opportunity for your employees to work together and give back, or an individual or family looking to take action for someone in need, Seed Programs International has an initiative designed to tackle food insecurity worldwide – their seed-packing kits, which is one of their Global Gardeners programs. 

The way it works is simple: 

  1. Place your order for kits of 100 or 200 seed packets. .
  2. You’ll receive a DIY-style seed-packing kit to complete. Kits include bags of seeds, empty seed packets, and instructions. 
  3. After packing the seed in your kit, you or your team will donate the seed to a community where the seeds can make a difference. If you don’t already have a community in mind, SPI can match you with a recipient partner.

Global Impact employees were eager to help other global gardeners and allies of Seed Programs International by packing and organizing the boxes of seeds, then donating them to identified national and international charities, Native American reservations, low-income neighborhoods and community centers, and developing countries that were in need of plant-ready kits for the coming season. 

Two boys sit at a dining table packing seeds.
Photo credit: Cassie Call


Seed Programs International delivered Global Gardener seed-packing kits right to Global Impact employees’ homes. Upon delivery, employees eagerly opened their kits to find zip-locked baggies of labelled seeds (Global Impact chose carrots, lettuce, and cabbage), dozens of seed packets and instructions. Participants, working alone or wrangling their kids, gathered around a sterile surface and carefully measured out the appropriate amounts of seeds for each packet before sealing them and stowing them in the designated mailing box. 

All in all, completing the kit took no more than an hour, clean-up included, but the satisfaction of having helped countless communities here in the U.S. and around the world stayed with employees long after the boxes were sealed and shipped. Take a look at the many faces of Global Impact employees taking part in the Global Gardener program – and the amazing results at the end! 

Tens of thousands of seeds were packed, providing an important resource for families and communities who are in need of innovative gardening solutions. And with the variety of seeds available, a successful harvest is more likely – increasing the diversity of the vegetables decreases the risk of blights and diseases that can wipe out an entirely uniformed crop. Crop diversity helps guarantee reliable food sources for communities and viable income sources for farmers.

Growing different types of vegetables also broadens the source of nutrients, which diversifies both a person’s diet and how the land is cultivated. It also presents more opportunities for economic growth. This “growing up” approach for communities can have a domino effect: Planting what is needed now addresses short-term needs and allows communities to plant for long-term success by cycling harvests through different growing seasons.

More on the Global Gardener program

Seed Programs International introduced the Global Gardener seed packing events in June 2019 as a new initiative to bring teams and families alike together to fight world hunger through gardening. This hands-on, seed-packing program is a fun way to inspire and empower participants to take on one of the world’s most important causes. 

The program first launched in Miami, Florida, at the Million Dollar Round Table Foundation annual gathering. It was such a hit that they expanded this pilot program to offer the same opportunity to other groups.

A Global Gardener seed packing kit including seeds, packets and more is laid out and ready to pack.
Photo credit: Samantha Ouellette


The seed packets include brief instructions – offered in multiple languages – to foster the highest rate of success, no matter how green the recipient’s thumb may, or may not, be. These garden kits are perfect for any gardener around the world, whether just starting out or seasoned veterans, and often prove essential to farmers who may be in need of quality seeds and more variety for the next harvest season. 

Prepared seed packs being organized to go out to different organizations at the Global Impact headquarters.
Photo credit: Katie Leyton

How you can get involved

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the need for sustainable gardening options and a consistent, trustworthy source of food is essential for families who are even more isolated than ever from food sources due to travel restrictions or production shutdown. Seed Programs International is stepping up to fill those gaps and meet their needs on both small and large scales. They charity is looking for Global Gardeners to do their part. 

Here are some specific ways that you can get involved:

  • Pack. Order and pack a Seed Programs International Global Gardener seed packing kit, then donate the packed seeds to one of Seed Programs International’s recipient partners. This is a great option for workplace giving campaigns and is a safe way for employee to get involved together to do good, even from a distance.
  • Support. If you have the means, donate a gift to the organization to support their efforts.
  • Workplace giving. If you’re an employer and want to order seed packets for your team to assemble, reach out here.
  • Learn. If you want to learn more about their success, check out their stories here.

For more information on workplace giving and how Seed Programs International helped boost Global Impact’s 2020 campaign, check out our Inside Workplace Giving series:

Seed Programs International offers a number of unique ways that you can get creative and give back during this time of greater need. Don’t hesitate to bring your friends, family, communities and employees along for the ride. For more information on how to partner with Seed Programs International through your workplace giving campaign, contact us!

Natalie Jacobsen

Natalie Jacobsen

Natalie Jacobsen is the senior manager of marketing and communications at the Combined Federal Campaign of the National Capital Area. She works in tandem with a superstar team of passionate marketing professionals to develop inspiring messages and materials encouraging federal employees to donate to charities. An avid advocate, traveler, plant mom, writer and photographer, she has found her dream role at Global Impact, where her interests and ambitions collide in the best possible combination. When she isn’t fervently scratching her head over her keyboard to find the right words, she’s jet-setting to push her own boundaries, learning new perspectives, ideas, and cultures – and finding moments in between to capture on notepad and film.

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