Seeds for a Future

Non profit organization
(+502) 5592-4230

Malnutrition and food insecurity create a vicious cycle of poverty from which it is very difficult to break out. To help combat these twin ills, Seeds for a Future's primary focus is helping rural families ensure their access to enough nutritious food, so that children and adults can be strong and healthy.

Women, Men, Girls, Boys, Elderly
Education, Family, Health, Agriculture
Suchitepéquez (Chocolá)

Organizational contacts & locations

Contacts
Suzanne de Berge
President
(+1) 602 399-7614
Thomas Hartig
Communications Officer
(+502) 5592-4230
Armando Astorga
Project Manager
(+502) 5966-9232
Locations
Chocolá, 
Suchitepéquez, 
10022

Mission, vision & values

Mission

Provide rural families in Guatemala with training and technical assistance in nutrition and food security, domestic production of plant and animal foods, diversification of income crops, and improved agricultural techniques.

Vision

Create an integrated rural community development model that can be applied successfully, paying due attention to local environmental, cultural and community factors, in other impoverished rural communities. Based on providing training to families in nutrition, food security, crop diversity, environmental preservation and micro-enterprises, our model also encourages the development of “local” leadership, to promote the integration of values ​​and information throughout the community.

Values
We value community development, technical skills, understanding, integration of local culture, dignity, respect, the rights of marginalized groups, and access to learning.

Products, services, and programs

Services

Coffee is the # 1 crop in Guatemala but with a single annual harvest and fluctuations in market prices, coffee families often suffer. To increase and stabilize family income, we advise farmers on:

  • Crop diversification by adding cocoa, fruit and timber trees and other locally popular food plants.
  • Improved agricultural methods, including soil health, pruning techniques, and organic fertilization and pest control.
  • Develop micro-businesses based on locally popular agricultural products.

The main purpose of the Agricultural Extension Service is to bring knowledge of our scientifically proven “Casa-Granja” method to other organizations in rural areas of Guatemala. A key to the success of our program is our accompaniment strategy, which recognizes the potential of rural families to find answers to the problems they may encounter and to improve their own lives and their future. This is accomplished through regular training visits by our field staff. The Agricultural Extension Service lasts seven months, the first visit is eight days and the remaining six visits (once a month) are four days each. These are follow-up sessions.

Programs

House-Farm Concept

The practical goal of the "Farm-House" or Backyard Farm concept is to share skills and techniques to ensure access to sufficient nutritious food. We advise families on:

  • Understand nutritional needs, especially for children, and use the foods they have grown in family recipes.
  • Maintain hygienic conditions and procedures in kitchens and food preparation with low technology methods.
  • Management of household and garden waste in compost and reused materials.

The basic Casa-Granja strategies include 12 months of intensive support for rural families through weekly visits and regular workshops on how to:

  • Organize your patio space to maximize the production of foods of high nutritional value.
  • Successfully raise nutritious vegetables and fruits, as well as small animals for protein.
  • Use composting, permaculture, and organic gardening techniques for safer food.
  • Understand nutritional needs and how to enrich traditional foods.
  • Keep kitchen and food preparation areas clean and safe from pathogens.

Organizational detail

Founded: 
2007
Number of employees: 
0-10
Funding: 
Private donations, Fundraising
Primary issue(s) / need(s) addressed

According to a recent UNICEF report on Guatemala, “Four in ten children (43.4%) under five are chronically malnourished, a condition that causes them to drop out of school, lowers their productivity, makes them susceptible to illness and even loss of intellectual quotient, which are irreversible effects that last a lifetime. Chronic malnutrition affects eight in ten (80%) indigenous children.

Our first steps were to LISTEN and LEARN. After a year of several community meetings and small “get to know you” projects, we could see the need for an integrated approach.

Impact, adaptations & objectives

Impact to date

Over 1800 families are already improving their nutrition and health, and new families join the program every month. With an average family size of 7.7, this means at least 13,860 people have directly benefited from better nutrition and overall health during and after participating in the Casa Granja program.

Impact measuring

We measure our impact every 6 month with an adjusted Household Dietary Diversity Score and the Household Food Insecurity Access Scale from USAID.

Organizational adaptations: 
Key offerings, Location
Organizational adaptation details

Key offerings

Our trained local team has helped over 1800 families build better lives, and now we are teaching other non-profit groups how to use Seeds for a Future methods with families in their own areas.

Rural Extension is an effective instrument to promote the economic and social development of rural families, it is a permanent education and training process, characterized by the reciprocal, horizontal and constant relationship and communication between technicians, producers and their organizations . Its purpose is to contribute to competitiveness, sustainability and social equity.

Location

Chocolá is where we started training rural families and our office and the Learning Center are there, but now we have participating families in Santo Tomás, Samayac, San Pablo Jocopilas, San Felipe and many other villages. Each has at least one demonstration center, often in the home of an experienced family.

Short term objectives

Growth

Growing the number of promoters within our local community of rural families.

Quality

Improve the quality of Food Security and Food Diversity among our current participating families.

Impact

Ensure the impact of fighting malnutrition among pregnant women and children under 5.

Long term objectives

Growth

Expanding our Casa Granja nutrition program to more rural communities in Guatemala.

Quality

Adapt the quality of the Casa Granja program to new rural areas with different biodiversity attributes.

Impact

Increase the overall impact of fighting malnutrition and rural families served.